Race Retro Classic Car Sale 2018

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1981 Ferrari 512BB

Lot No.: 560

Registration: MDT 325W
Chassis Number: 36869
Engine Number: 00878
Number of cylinders: 12
CC: 4909
Year of Manufacture: 1981
RHD/LHD: Left Hand Drive
Sold for (£): 213,750
  • One of the last carburettor cars prior to fuel injection
  • Immediately post registration, was fitted with 9 and 11inch Campagnolo 512LM race magnesium wheels by Ferrari dealer
  • Koenig front bumper, mirrors, rear wheel arches, and exhaust fitted at the same time by the same Ferrari dealer
  • Fully documented rebuild/restoration in 1991 with colour change to Giallo Fly. Described as "In Concours condition"
  • Engine recently removed for recommissioning and detailing by UK marque guru - video clips available
  • Wonderful book-style bound folder telling the car's life story
  • Next annual inspection and service free of charge at Italia Autosport courtesy of our vendor

Having reasserted itself at the top of the 'supercar' hierarchy with the first 'Boxer' - the 365GT/4 BB - Ferrari went one better with its successor, the 512BB introduced in October 1976 at the Paris Auto Show. For the new car, Ferrari abandoned its long-standing practice of denoting a model by the capacity of an individual cylinder and adopted the Dino-type nomenclature where '512' indicates 5 litres/12 cylinders. The increase in engine size from the original Boxer's 4.4-litres was made, not so much with increased power in mind, but to enable the 512BB to meet increasingly stringent emissions targets without loss of performance. Displacement was increased by enlarging both bore and stroke, while in addition the compression ratio was raised and lubrication changed from wet to dry sump. Quoted power remained the same (but may have been more truthful) at 360bhp, and torque was improved to 332 lbs/ft at 5000rpm which, coupled with revised gear ratios, made the 512 more tractable. Styling changes were subtle, with a small chin spoiler added to the nose, NACA ducts added in front of the rear wheels, the rear arches made slightly bigger to accommodate larger rear wheels, and finally, four tail lights replaced the six on the 365.

This splendid Boxer (#36869) is a 512BB carburettor car and was finished in Argento (Silver) with a Black interior on the 4th May 1981 before being delivered to Autoexpo (the official Ferrari importer for Southern Germany on 7th May 1981. Its first owner was Franz Norkus who registered the Ferrari in his name on 29th May 1981.

During 1981 Pirelli had introduced their new 'super-tyre', the low profile P7, and these were now fashionable and much in demand, however, they were only available in certain sizes and whilst Ferrari offered their 308 with P7s on 16-inch rims, they were not available for the Boxer. One or two official Ferrari dealers were keen to oblige their customers and carry out the necessary body modifications to enable the wider wheels wearing P7s to fit. One such was Lais Power, a Stuggart/Essingen dealer who in 1980 became one of the first approved Ferrari dealers in Southern Germany. Early in 1982, Herr Norkus decided that he would like a set of P7s on #36869 and Lais Power were instructed to carry out the work. The tyres were mounted on 9x15 and 11x15 Campagnolos (as fitted to the 512BBLM) and Koenig provided the necessary wheel arch extensions. The look was completed by a Koenig front bumper/ air dam assembly, door mirrors, and for good measure, a high-performance exhaust (worth about 30bhp) was fitted at the same time. To comply with German law, such modifications must be notified to the appropriate authorities and are subsequently documented in the Fahrzeugbrief (vehicle log book) a copy of which is also contained in the history file.

A further three owners enjoyed the car whilst in Germany, the last, Frau Ingrid Kanning, for some 10 + years (1986 – 1997). During 1991, she decided to commission a full restoration (presumably to facilitate a colour change as the car was evidently in good condition) and it emerged resplendent in 'Giallo Fly' Yellow.  The work was carried out by Bernd Witt and was thorough and painstaking judging by the collection of photographs which are contained in a lovely bound file which details the car's complete history from new with photographs at every stage and lots of anecdotal information. A sort of Eamon Andrews “This is your Life” for #36869.

Our vendor purchased the car in 1998, where it has formed part of his private collection for the last 19 years. He has entrusted the storage and regular maintenance during this period to Italia Autosport one of the most trusted, reliable, and successful Ferrari independents in Europe. Naturally, it has been meticulously maintained and more recently was thoroughly recommissioned including an engine removal for inspection and detailing – please refer to the history file for details of the many thousands invested. The current indicated mileage is 26000mls/42,000kms.

In addition to its amazing history file, #36869 is accompanied by its Service Records, the Handbook in its original wallet, and two sets of keys.

In summary, it's important to appreciate that the modifications to this car were performance enhancing and in good taste, and bear no relation to the excesses a few years later of one or two of the larger tuning/modifying companies, particularly in Germany. The roadholding of the 512 benefitted from wider rubber and it's likely that should Ferrari have developed the car to encompass the wider wheels (as they did with the LM), then it would have looked just like the stunning car offered here. Described by our vendor as "in Concours condition", we welcome any inspection of this remarkable Ferrari.

NB. Our vendor has generously suggested that, considering the long relationship that he has enjoyed with Italia Autosport and their in-depth knowledge of this special car that it would be an advantage for the next custodian of #36869 to enjoy the next annual inspection and service free of charge with Italia Autosport.