The march towards a mid-engined, 12 cylinder Ferrari was a slow one, but after Enzo Ferrari came under increased pressure from racing competition in the 1960s, he eventually warmed to the idea with the mid-engined Dino race cars, the street versions of the Dino that entered series production and the rear engined, V12 powered P and LM race cars. With the introduction of the 512BB, or Berlinetta Boxer, at the Turin Motor Show in 1971, Ferrari shot an arrow across the bow of Lamborghini and their Miura, the original mid-engined supercar. The BB would go on sale in 1973 and was powered by a longitudally mounted flat 12 engine that produced 380 horsepower, a heady number for the time.
None of these BBs were ever sold new in the US, as Enzo Ferrari didn't think it was worth the bother to federalize them. Luckily, some of these stunning cars made it over. This particular example, however, wasn't one of them. It is for sale in Luxembourg and painted in a rather uncommon shade a black, a hue which matches its sharp, ready to pounce looks.
It was not an easy task for Ferrari to replace the mythical Daytona in the early 70s. Begun in 1969 the “BB” project focused all of the best knowledge available at the factory to be putted into the design from what was aimed to be the ultimate sports car. The first prototype was shown in 1971, it was an extremely modern car compared to the period production. Many technical solution directly came from the track such as the flat 12 engine as the ones used in F1 or sport prototypes. The first “365 Berlinetta Boxer” were delivered in late 73 and in 1976 the car was renamed 512 BB to rebirth the famous le Mans cars’ name capacity being increased from 4.4 to 5.0 liter.
Finally in 1981 the fuel injected version 512 BBi was introduced and gained very much in terms of building quality, road holding (Michelin TRX tyres) and reliability. It was a stressless car easy to drive in the daily traffic, a big improvement to the previous carburated ones. From the supercars of the 70s and early 80s, the BB was the quickest and best driving one, only 1007 fuel injected versions were built.
This rare 1983 black Boxer is in exceptional original condition having never been repainted and always maintained to the highest level. It was delivered in US but soon came back to Europe in the early 90s as the owner was looking for a mint black BB. It comes with an interesting history file, books and tools and it recently received an important service including a new clutch. The car drives magnificently and is still lovely to drive at high speed on highways.
At $176,000 USD equivalent, this BB is a bit on the high side in terms of value. While they were a top performer at Ferrari in the day, the similar looking 308 that came along later can be had for much less, offers adequate performance and is cheaper to maintain. True, the BB offers more speed, but for most enthusiasts, the 308 would do just fine. This year, a 1983 BBi sold at RM Auctions for $112,750. Given that these cars weren't sold here new, it adds to their obscurity and seems to affect values a bit. Since this car is for sale in Europe, collectors might be willing to pony up more cash, but I'm not sure it would bring the premium being asked here.