This Vintage Ferrari 512 BBi Has Been Restored To Perfection At A Cost You Can’t Afford
This 1984 Ferrari 512 BBi (Berlinetta Boxer) was for sale on eBay for $349,000 USD. It has been comprehensively restored and improved better than when it left the factory all those years ago. Its modern-day successor is the Ferrari 812 Superfast, yet one has to say the 512 BBi is the more beautiful, but obviously the least advanced. Since the 1990s Ferrari’s design language hasn’t been able to mix up the elegance with the head-turning brutality, the 812 Superfast is a case in point. But that’s an argument for another day. The usual asking price for a 1984 spec 512 BBi is around $250,000 USD, so why is this particular example so much more expensive?
We’ll give a brief outline on why, and include a more detailed overview direct from the eBay listing. The owner says the 512 BBi was a nuts and bolts restoration. That is to say, every nut and bolt, every engine component, every seat fitting and fixture was actually removed, stripped back, restored and refinished better than the original factory condition.
The was interior was retrimmed, many of the old interior plastic fixtures and fittings were replaced with either carbon fiber or milled aluminum parts. The Flat 12, 340 bhp engine was also stripped down and restored and made to be more reliable. The brakes were upgraded to current supercar standards. Upgrades were also made to the steering, suspension, and springs.
The upgrades and quality of the restorative work is why the car was listed on eBay for £349,000. The listing has ended which means the 512 BBi has found a happy new owner with deep pockets and plenty of spare change.
Ferrari 512 BBi, Original eBay Description:
IMPROVEMENTS TO THE FERRARI MAKING IT COMFORTABLE AND RELIABLE.
COOLING SYSTEM: Older Ferraris were infamous for overheating when driven, particularly when driven on hot summer days. No one wants the stress of an overheating Ferrari, particularly when stuck in traffic on a hot summer’s day. The cooling system was dramatically improved. In addition to the usual restoration work, a custom one-off radiator was fabricated in lightweight aluminum by Ron David with a highly efficient design. New and improved large SPAL fans were professionally incorporated into the design and provide far greater air flow than the original fans.
The original radiator, which itself is in good condition, along with the original fans, are all included with the sale of this Ferrari.
To prove just how good the cooling system is, I drove the Ferrari mid-day in downtown Chicago traffic on what would turn out to be not just the hottest day of the year, but the hottest day in Chicago for the last 7 years! The heat index was over 100 degrees. It was so hot outside I felt like passing out if standing outside for more than a few minutes. Yet here we were in the Boxer driving to lunch. The windows were up, the AC was blowing remarkably cold and the temperature gauge never moved past the mid-point on the dial. I doubt any other Ferrari Boxer could have kept its occupants and engine so cool!
A new air compressor for the Italian air horns and new trumpets were fitted.
AIR CONDITIONING SYSTEM & HEATING
As noted above, the air-conditioning was truly put to the test when I drove the car on the hottest day Chicago and the AC blew cold like a modern car. This was the day I flew into Chicago to purchase the car. After doing the deal the owner asked if I wanted to go to lunch and I said sure. He then handed me the keys to the Boxer and I told him, “there is no way I’m getting in the Ferrari. It will over heat and we’ll die from heat stroke.” He said, trust me. I could have bought a fully loaded Toyota Prius for what I spent on this car’s air conditioning and cooling. Every part is new and improved, compressor, condenser, HVAC, etc. I said, “if the car blows up I want my money back” and he agreed. He was true to his word. The car drove like a dream. The AC blew cold. We were both comfortable and the car ran cool.
The heating system was restored with new parts including new heater boxes.
Included with the sale is the original HVAC Heater AC Box Evaporator Unit, an additional AC Compressor and the two snail air blowers.
COCKPIT & INTERIOR
Boxer’s are infamous for uncomfortably hot interiors. Not just because of the huge windshield, but because the radiators are up front and the hot coolant pipes run beneath the passengers to the rear engine.
In this car sound deadening and modern heat insulation materials were used in the cockpit to shield the occupants from heat generated by the radiators, engine and coolant plumbing. In addition, the coolant pipes and pathways were insulated as well. The result is a cockpit that has the solidity of sound deadening associated with a modern GT while the interior is kept remarkably cool.
Performance drivers know you can only go as fast as you can stop. Collectors know the faster and more reliably you can stop the safe you and your investment are.
The prior owner was unimpressed by the Boxer’s brake system’s feel and stopping…or lack thereof. Brake technology has improved much since the 1970s when the Boxer was first designed. The Boxer featured heavy rotors and heavy yet small brake calipers.
To improve the safety and performance of the Ferrari, the owner had six piston aluminum brake calipers fitted to the front and four piston aluminum brake calipers fitted to the rear. The heavy factory discs were replaced by slotted brake discs bolted to lightweight aluminum hats.
A new mastery cylinder and new brake booster were fitted.
Not only is there a dramatic reduction in unsprung weight that improves ride, handing and braking, but this 512 Boxer’s stopping ability is truly incredible and better than many modern Ferraris.
Included in the sale is the original brake booster, brake calipers and brake rotors.
STEERING AND SUSPENSION
A brand new steering rack was fitted and all the suspension components were replaced or restored.
The suspension arms were cadmium plated and of course fitted with new hardware and bushings.
The shocks were upgraded with threaded units that now facilitate corner balancing and setting the ride height of the Ferrari. Koni was contracted to specially construct four adjustable shocks with adjustable coil springs.
Boxer’s tend to look like they are sitting to high or jacked. The threaded Konis now permit the setting of the Ferrari’s ride height to be at an aesthetically pleasing level, further improving the stunning beauty of this Ferrari.
The lowering of the vehicle also lowers the center of gravity, further improving handling.
The shocks are adjustable for stiffness as well so they can be set for comfort or for more aggressive driving to suite the owner’s preferences.
The Boxer was stripped to its bare frame and refinished to be better than new. Carbon fiber and aluminum dramatically improved the Ferrari. Anyone reviewing the restoration photos will see the amazing improvements to this car and realize there is no comparison between this and other Boxers.
Moreover, there is no comparison between an unrestored Boxer, no matter how nice, and a Boxer that has had a full, no expense spared, better than new, nut and bolt restoration. For what it costs to do this kind of restoration you could buy an unrestored Boxer….but then what you have is an unrestored Boxer.
Take a look at these before and after photos. See what a Boxer looks like, taken apart and in original condition, before and after it is rebuilt to a better than new standard. Simply put, if you can afford it, there is no way you would want any Boxer other than this one.
INNER FENDER LINERS, FRONT AND REAR.
Inner Fender Liners on Ferrari Boxers are made of cheap fiberglass, but not here. The fiberglass liners were replaced with spectacularly gorgeous carbon fiber liners. These really stand out and look amazing because the Boxer’s clam shell design displays the fender liners. While a standard Boxer displays large unattractive cheap fiberglass liners, this Boxer displays gorgeous carbon fiber. It is truly stunning to behold and something Singer-like that would be expected on one of their 964 restomods.
FRONT TRUNK AREA
Incredibly detailed with aluminum and carbon fiber. Panels originally covered in cheap black material have now been recovered in beautiful Alcantara of a quality fitted as an expensive option to Ferrari interiors.
Headlights and headlight motors were rebuilt to better than new.
Windshields that on cars that are decades old typically have clouding, delamination issues and of course the inevitable sand and stone chips. Not here as a brand new windshield was fitted.
I have seen several “fully restored” Boxers at various concours events and none of them having the trim fitment, including windshield trim, to the quality level of this Boxer.
FRONT BONNET LATCH ASSEMBLY
Factory latch mechanism was replaced with higher quality components with spring loading for better function. The new latch mechanism, compared to the old in the Restoration Book, looks simply incredible.
WHEELS AND TIRES
First off, yes, the original wheels in pristine condition with equally pristine Michelin tires mounted are included with the sale of the Ferrari.
But here is the really fun part! During the restoration, very expensive custom five spoke 19” Ferrari wheels were made and fitted with premium Michelin Pilot Superport tires, 245 mm front tires and 305 mm rear tires. For those “purists” who object I would note the original wheels and tires are included, but far more significantly, this is how Enzo Ferrari and its designer Leo Fioravanti wanted the Boxer to look!
I asked Mr. Fioravanti about this when he was in Monterey a few years ago. I showed him photos of my car and he responded by stating he wanted larger wheels and tires but larger tires were not available when the Boxer was produced. In other words, Fioravanti’s vision for the Ferrari Boxer was always with larger wheels and tires. How this car looks is how he envisioned it when he designed it! So to the purists I say, “I spoke to the designer of the car and this is how he originally envisioned the Ferrari Boxer.”
I later confirmed what Leonardo Fioravanti had told me that day in the book “Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer” by Mel Nichols. He states Ferrari wanted to use the new low profile tires coming out from Pirelli, the P7, but the problem was they did not have large enough wheels and matching tires back then. “There was not a tyre and wheel combination that would leave the Boxer with sufficient ground clearance; its wheel arches were also too high, so that a P7-shod BB would not only be too close to the ground but would have wheels and tyres that looked pathetically small within the vast wheel openings. Ferrari engineers had no choice but to continue with the Michelin XWXS.”
Thus, this Ferrari Boxer now presents itself the way both Enzo Ferrari and Leonardo Fioravanti wanted the Boxer to be from the beginning.
Not only do the Boxer wheels and tires improve the Ferrari’s aggressive stance, but they dramatically, as in night and day, improve the Boxer’s steering, braking, ride and handling. The modern tires not only take bumps far better than tires designed in the 1980s, but combined with the chassis and brake upgrades, these tires give this Boxer handling and braking that is on par with a modern Ferrari.
INTERIOR SEATS, KEITH COLLINS FLOOR MATS, UPGRADED LEATHER, ALCANTARA DASH, ETC.
The interior was restored with better than new materials. New leather of a higher quality was fitted to the interior (door panels, seats, center console, rear window area, door entrance panels, etc.).
The dash was fitted with Alcantara in keeping with Ferrari dash materials found on the 288GTO, F40, F50, etc. Not only does this look better but it eliminates glare from the windshield, which is a major reason Ferrari uses this material, as well as weighing less than leather.
The interior switches and buttons are all in restores and like new condition.
The overhead interior light, previously made of cheap plastic, was replaced with a custom housing made in carbon fiber. It looks exactly like the original part but is made of carbon fiber rather than plastic.
Plush Keith Collins mats sit atop the new plush carpet.
MaCINTOSH STEREO SYSTEM
Ferraris originally did not come with stereos….why would they when you have a V12? I’ve been told by stereo aficionados this system cost thousands of dollars, but to be honest, I’ve never even turned it on.
CARBON FIBER COMPONENTS AND UPGRADES
Various plastic and fiberglass parts have been replaced with high-quality beautiful carbon fiber parts, this includes the rear spoiler that’s fitted atop the flying buttress and the two pods on the engine lid. These upgrades are detailed in the hardcover book detailing the restoration of this Ferrari. These upgrades greatly enhance the look and presentation of this Ferrari and such upgrades today from Ferrari would cost tens of thousands of dollars.
Note how Ferrari sells cars today. You can get the standard car with the matt black finish trim, but if you want carbon fiber you will spend tens of thousands of dollars for these upgrades. In other words, Ferrari recognizes this is a valuable and desirable upgrade and one that costs tens of thousands of dollars.
I have an F12 Window Sticker with ~$50,000 in carbon fiber upgrades and that’s where Ferrari is producing multiples of each piece. Here on this car each carbon fiber piece was made custom, one by one. Very expensive indeed!
PAINT & BODY
The Ferrari has no dents, dings or, as far as I am aware, even a paint chip. As part of the nut and bolt total restoration, a premium quality paint job was applied.
The color is Rosso Scuderia, the official race car color for Ferraris, e.g., the color they paint their F1 and other race cars. The bottom of the Ferrari is painted in what is referred to as Boxer-trim as these cars were famously available with black lower panels to emphasize the car’s upper body sculpture. Here, the finish is a gloss black that has a higher quality appeal than the original matt black finish. This finish also lends itself to easier detailing and show presentation.
The exhaust system is simply a work of art itself and features a beautiful stainless steel polished Tubi Sport Muffler.
ALPINE ALARM SYSTEM AND REMOTE LOCK / UNLOCK
During the restoration a premium Alpine alarm system was fitted that also provides the added convenience of remote locking and unlocking of the doors, which is far nicer than having to insert a key to unlock each door.
DETAILED ENGINE BAY
The engine bay is the most beautifully detailed engine bay of any Boxer and arguably of any Ferrari. It truly reflects the mechanical art of Enzo Ferrari. No Ferrari engine bay has more presence than this Ferrari engine. Some may match it but I know of none that have more crowd gathering pull than this one.