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Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer - Unforgettable

Ferrari creates classics, sometimes without knowing

Ezekiel Wheeler
Mar 24, 2016

Is it possible for Ferrari to create vehicles worth forgetting? Think about it. When the dream cars are all gobbled up and the wrecked ones all restored beyond reasonable taste and budgets, what's left? The nameplates that helped the brand survive during its most difficult moments. The Dino was a sub-brand spin-off with half the amount of cylinders expected from prancing horses at the time. The 308 was madness in the form of '80s excess, and the more contemporary 360 and 430 have been overshadowed by the 458 Italia, dubbing them "so 2000 and late." Sure they make the right noises, but they are easily overlooked today by their more curvaceous and powerful counterparts.

So I'll ask the question again: Does Ferrari create vehicles worth forgetting? I present the 512 Berlinetta Boxer (or BB as it was affectionately known). When it was launched in the late '70s, Ferrari pumped up the displacement of its flat-12 to create 360 hp and added a bit more bodywork to the already dated-looking 356 GT4 BB.

The wide, menacing stance with protruding fender arches gave more of a LeMans racer feel as opposed to a refined GT look. Considering Lamborghini was garnering all of the attention thanks to its Countach, Ferrari needed to do something. Anything! The 512 BB was that thing. While it slipped into distant memory for most in the past 20 to 30 years, it's come back with a vengeance. This "live wide" craze we now find the aftermarket and modern companies following seems to have influenced collectors.

Ferrari 512 berlinetta boxer rear three quarter Photo 2/2   |   Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer Rear Three Quarter

The designers at Pininfarina integrated a NACA duct in the rocker panels that aided cooling the exhaust. The front end received an integrated chin spoiler and out back, the three-light setup was ditched in favor of a more contemporary, at the time, two-light setup. Overall, the wedge sexiness (brought on by those devils at Lamborghini) was maintained, and a solid-black, mid-body belt was the fashion of the era. This line served as a visual breakup of the body, giving a lower look while incorporating the natural cut lines of the clamshell hood and rear engine cover.

While design changes were modest on the updated 512, just under 1,000 units were created. Not a single one was made for sale in the United States, primarily because Enzo Ferrari wanted nothing to do with the regulations in the United States at the time, so third party sellers were the American ticket to owning one.

Today, these V-12 wedges easily cross the block in the low- to mid-six-figure range, some even skirting the half-million-dollar hammer price. Less than half a decade ago, prices for 512 bb examples hovered between $50-80,000.

So, does Ferrari create vehicles worth forgetting? If that's the case, you'd better snap up as many F1 tribute 360 Maranello Spiders and F430 Scuderias as you can. Before you know it, they'll be earning more.

By Ezekiel Wheeler
271 Articles

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