1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175

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Lot 345
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta
Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175

US$ 525,000 - 550,000
£ 410,000 - 430,000
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale

Chassis no. 0175E
Engine no. 0175
Capitalizing on the success of his V12-engined competition cars, Enzo Ferrari began to develop exclusive road-going models for sale to private customers as a means of financing Scuderia Ferrari’s racing program. One of the first of these, the 212 Inter of 1951/’52, was directly descended from the very first Ferrari that had appeared just four years previously. Enzo Ferrari had begun planning his new car during the war and in 1946 commissioned Gioacchino Colombo to design a small-capacity V12 engine for it. The 1.5-liter Tipo 125 unit took its designation from the capacity of an individual cylinder (125cc) thus instigating a system of nomenclature that would characterize Ferraris for many years to some. Ferrari’s Tipo 125 sports-racer made its competition debut in 1947 and by mid season had been re-designated Tipo 159, its engine having been enlarged to 1.9 liters. Later in the year the first Tipo 166 (2-liter) unit appeared. In race tune up to 150bhp was available (the Inter road car with its single twin-choke Weber carburetor produced 100bhp) which was transmitted via a five-speed gearbox, an unusual feature in those days, even on a competition car.

In typical Ferrari fashion the twin-tube chassis employed transverse leaf and double wishbone front suspension, and a semi-elliptically sprung live rear axle located by torsional stabilizing bars. Houdaille hydraulic shock absorbers were fitted all round. The 166 Inter chassis was produced in two different wheelbase lengths - 2,420mm and 2,500mm - this latter dimension being the one adopted for the succeeding Tipo 195 Inter. As its type numbering reveals, the 195 Inter’s V12 engine displaced 2,341cc, but in most other respects the car remained the same as the 166.

For the final car of the series, the Tipo 212 Inter, built during 1951/52, Colombo’s versatile V12 was enlarged yet again; this time to 2,562cc, by means of another increase in bore size. There was a commensurate increase in maximum power, which now stood at 150bhp in road trim. Three different suffixes were employed after the 212 Inter’s chassis numbers – ‘E’, ‘EL’ and ‘EU’ - the majority of cars being erected on a lengthened 2,600mm frame, though that offered here, ‘0175E’ is on the rarer short chassis.

With between 150 and 170bhp on tap, a top speed of around 120mph and race bred handling, the Tipo 212 was among the quickest road cars of its day in real driving conditions. As one would expect from a car developed directly from Ferrari’s competition models, the 212 series was also superb on the racetrack and the direct ancestor of the famous 250GT. Significant race results achieved by the 212 include wins in the Tour of Sicily, Coppa Inter Europa at Monza, Tourist Trophy, Tour de France and Mexico’s Carrera PanAmericana.

A car possessing such impeccable credentials not unnaturally attracted the attention of Italy’s finest carrozzeria, Ghia, Pinin Farina and Touring among them. Right-hand drive chassis number ‘0175E’, one of only 80 Ferrari 212s made, wears closed berlinetta coachwork by Carrozzeria Vignale, whose chief designer at the time was Giovanni Michelotti. One of the most illustrious of Italian coachbuilders, Carrozzeria Vignale had been founded in 1948 by Alfredo Vignale, whose career had begun pre-war with a successful design on the FIAT Topolino chassis. Enzo Ferrari’s favored coachbuilder during Maranello’s formative years, Carrozzeria Vignale also designed and built cars for Lancia and Maserati among others, and in the 1960s branched out into automobile manufacture in its own right.

This car’s coachwork is similar to that of ‘0111’ and ‘0181’ and was originally finished in a restrained dark green with contrasting pale green metallic roof and trunk. The car’s first owner is unknown but early in its life ‘0175’ was imported into the USA, a Mr Jack Christianson being the first registered owner. During the stewardship of next owner Warren Scott, a Buick V8 engine was installed. Fortunately, the car then passed to one Jack Stewart, who was able to acquire the original V12 engine from its then owner Ed Niles. Preceding owner Ron Pinto then bought the car and had it restored. The engine ‘short block’ was rebuilt by legendary Le Mans GT40 mechanic Steele Therkelson, while the cylinder heads were refurbished at their Orange County facility by Chuck Betz and Fred Peters, who replaced the unreliable ‘hairpin’ valve springs with superior coils. Again with enhanced reliability in mind, the worn out rear axle center was replaced with a period-made American item. John Engelhart, well known for his Chrysler show-car interior design and fabrication, provided a new interior.

On completion the car was entered in the 1992 Mille Miglia Retrospective, finishing the event without problems. Since then ‘0175’ has won two class awards at the Santa Barbara Concours (1992 and 1993) and as recently as 1999 was honored as the Best Sports Car at the prestigious Palos Verdes Concours. Offered with sundry restoration invoices and Massachusetts Certificate of Title, ‘0175’, with its most attractive Vignale styling and famous pedigree, represents an exciting opportunity to acquire an exceptionally rare short-chassis 212 Inter, eminently usable in today’s historic motoring events.
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
1951 Ferrari Tipo 212 Inter Berlinetta  Chassis no. 0175E Engine no. 0175
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