4,413 kilometres from new 1977 Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer Coachwork by Pininfarina Registration no. VBD 203R Chassis no. 20977
Having reasserted itself at the top of the supercar hierarchy with the first 'Berlinetta Boxer' - the 365GTB/4 BB - Ferrari went one better with its successor, the 512BB. For the new Boxer, 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 dry-sump lubrication adopted. The result of all these changes was a useful increase in torque which, coupled with revised gear ratios, made the 512 more tractable. Changes to Pininfarina's inspired coachwork were, not surprisingly, few: an air-dam spoiler beneath the nose, brake-cooling NACA ducts ahead of the rear wheel arches, four rear lights instead of six and revised air intake boxes, while slightly fatter rear tyres meant that the width of the 512's rear grew by just over 25mm. The running gear likewise came in for only minor revision, gaining stiffer springs/anti-roll bars and altered damping rates, while the already excellent all-round ventilated disc brakes remained unchanged. Inside, the 512 remained virtually the same as before but for the welcome adoption of multi-way adjustable seats in place of the fixed originals. Road & Track magazine had achieved a speed of 175mph (280km/h) in the preceding 365GT/4 BB, and although lack of road space prevented the discovery of their test 512's capability, Ferrari's claimed maximum of 188mph was felt entirely realistic. The fact that this was down 4mph on the Lamborghini Countach's 'fastest ever' maximum was considered unimportant. 'That's because, taken on balance, the Ferrari 512 Boxer wins a more important award, as the best all-round sports and GT car we've tested. If we had to pin the reasons down to one it would have to be that the Ferrari doesn't forget the driver. The Boxer has it all, the speed, the handling, the lovely shape, the well done cockpit and, most important of all, a reputation for reliability.' One of only 929 512BBs produced, '20977' was delivered new to France, residing subsequently in Switzerland before coming to the UK in 1996 with a total of 4,083 kilometres recorded. Since its arrival the car has been kept in professional storage at Storacar and has not been used apart from routine road tests and MoT trips, the odometer total rising to 4,413 kilometres. Earlier this year the Boxer underwent a major mechanical overhaul including a full engine rebuild, service, vehicle detailing and MoT test (invoice on file) prior to registration with the DVLA. Finished in red with black leather interior, the car is described as in generally excellent condition and offered with sundry invoices, MoT to March 2011, Swansea V5C and copies of the old Swiss and original French registration documents. Possessing an engine directly related to Ferrari's contemporary Formula 1 unit, as well as being both lighter and faster than the legendary Daytona, the 512BB was one of the most capable and exciting supercars of its era and is still capable of providing all the thrills that an enthusiastic owner-drive could wish for.