Ferrari 512 BB
The Ferrari 512 BB was first unveiled in 1976, after the positive reviews of its predecessor, the 365 Berlinetta Boxer Ferrari launched in the year 1973. The 512 BB was launched with numerous improvements that included a longer body, a spacious rear track and a lowly front air dam. Since the 512 BB substituted the iconic Ferrari Daytona, many Ferrari enthusiasts the world over feel that the event marked the end of an era dominated by V-12 engine sports cars. Though the 512BB has features impressive enough to become a collectible car in its own right, it still could not surpass Daytona’s popularity in spite of breaking more records and having a sustained influence on Ferrari’s design cues for the next 2 decades following 1970s.
The 512 BB was endowed with a new 4390cc flat-12 cylindered engine, with 360bhp of pure muscle power at its disposal. One oddity in this engine was that 2 of its pistons shared the same crank-pin which didn’t qualify it to be called a proper ‘boxer’ engine in the truest sense but a mere crossover from an old ‘V12. The longitudinal positioning of the engine guaranteed lower cabin noise levels than its contemporaries like the Miura and the Lamborghini Countach.
The rear brakes are endowed with N.A.C.A ducting and a slightly elongated back section. The 512 BB’s open-ended gear shifting is fabulous apart from the brakes that need a good thrust but are otherwise flawless. Power delivery is also straitened and flawless, without any hiccups. There may be some transitory slow-speed fuzziness, especially if drivers try to pile on the accelerator too soon, but once the throttles clear their throats, the car starts sprinting like anything and even by today’s high speed standards, qualifies to be a really quick car.
In spite of being no taller than four feet, the Boxer can be boarded quite comfortably. The seat is comfier than it looks and everything else falls neatly within grip of both the hands and feet, in spite of the fact that Ferrari interiors have modernized to greater levels of traveler comfort over a span of 30-odd years. In spite of the aggrandizement in the current models, the orange black instruments, and the switches and sliders with their customary flat ‘paddle’ knobs, all work quite well apart from some mediocrity visible on the trim panel.
The designers of the 512 BB adopted quite a few designing cues from yesteryear frontrunners like Pininfarina, the 512 Modulo and the Berlinetta P6 of 1968. Some of the prominent design cues borrowed into the 512 BB include lined body corners and the flying prop rear window treatment that were well documented in models like Pininfarina. The air ingestion panel was another similar design cue to have been already used on the Dino and several other Ferraris' like the most recent versions of the 308 GTBs. The massing and proportion as well as the venetian blinds visible on the Pininfarina were also excruciatingly similar to the 512 BB. Other notable design inspirations from yesteryear Ferrari models in the 512 BB include, the flat “reflection” lines separating the upper and lower portions of the car’s framework with a set of contrasting colors which is reminiscent of the design cues visible on the Modulo. The other more obvious designing pattern adopted from the Ferrari Modulo includes the craftily sparkled rear fender knobs.