1984 Ferrari 512 BBi

With the arrival of the Lamborghini Miura in 1966, Ferrari suddenly had a problem on its hands. Its lineup consisted of front engined V12 sports cars and while the mid-engined Dino arrived one year later, it packed half the number of cylinders as the V12 Miura. At the end of the Miura's life, a new mid-engined Ferrari appeared, the 365 GT4 BB. The "BB" was short for Berlinetta Boxer, a reference to the new 12 cylinder engine. While not a true horizontally opposed engine, you could almost call it that, as the angle between the cylinder heads was 180 degrees. The 365 GT4 begat the 512 BB and fuel injected 512 BBi, which gave way in 1984 to the well-known Testarossa. The Berlinetta Boxer was never sold new in the United States, but a few found their way here via third party importers. If you squint, you'd have a hard time differing the 512 BB from a 308, but they are vastly different animals indeed. Our feature car was owned for 27 years by Michael Anthony of Van Halen fame.

1984 Ferrari 512 BBi

VIN number: ZFFJA09B000047319. One of the greatest 12 cylinder Ferraris of all time, the 512 BB combines the excellent power of the melodious flat 12 with timeless Pininfarina styling. Perfect in its Rosso Corsa coat with a stunningly redone interior by Prestige Auto Upholstery this up-to-date, serviced and meticulously kept example is 50 state legal and ready to go. Owned by Van Halen rocker Michael Anthony from 1985 until now, this car has seen nothing but the best care. The odometer sports a mere 30,300Km (18,800 miles) and looks younger yet. The Campagnolo center lug wheels are excellent, the glass is clear and the paint is nearly perfect. If you’re looking for a little more flash there’s a one-off set of 18” Boyd Codington wheels which come with the car. Even on the stock rollers you’re not going to shrink into the scenery!

Mechanically the car is better than new, and when it was federalized it was done to the far more stringent California emissions standards, so this car can follow you anywhere--all EPA/DOT releases are included. There are receipts for multiple engine-out services including a full belt and reseal job fewer than 2000Km ago. When it was apart, the intake runners and various other aluminum pieces were sent out and polished for a mild custom look for the usual all-business compartment. The stock exhaust is on the car now, complete with newer catalytic converters, but we have the Tubi exhaust which was on the car a short time and is perfect. The front suspension is rebuilt, the clutch is new and the car drives like it did on delivery day.Inside, power features are everywhere. Power windows, air conditioning, a newer Alpine stereo with component speakers and a front mounted amp are there to make the cruise easier, but the real star is the upholstery.

Fernando at Prestige Auto Upholstery took the interior completely apart (we have a CD full of pictures to show the extent) and replaced every scrap of the old leather and vinyl in favor of glove smooth, intoxicatingly fragrant saddle leather. The seats were redone with black inserts for the Daytona look while the rest of the surfaces are textbook correct. The service cost more than $11,000, and you’ll never have to worry about it gumming up or warping again! All manuals, tools and the jack are included, as well as extra European lights. This car was even featured on Hot Rod TV on Speed Channel! The driving experience can’t be ignored--it’s what makes a Ferrari a Ferrari. From the sound of the engine to the feel of the shifter running through the gates to the visceral acceleration of 12 cylinders pounding away behind you, there’s simply nothing like it. Once one of the finest supercars at any price the 512 BB is now and ever shall be a world-renowned classic.

I've seen only one of these BBs in the wild stateside and they are every bit as impressive in person as they are in pictures, especially when you get an earful of the exhaust note. I was happy to read about the engine servicing, because the engine in the BB has timing belts and not chains. If these fail, it would be a very expensive headache. If I was buying this car, I'd probably sell the Boyd Coddington wheels. While the late hot rodder made some high quality wheels and cars, aftermarket rolling stock would be out of place on such a legendary supercar. The chrome intake runners under the hood add to the dramatic looking engine and mirror the beauty of the Alfa Romeo V6. Today's manufacturers could take a lesson from such engineering sculpture. It doesn't take much to make the heart of a car look beautiful.


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