Ferrari 512 BBi Berlinetta Boxer by Scaglietti

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512 BBi Berlinetta Boxer by Scaglietti





The 365 GT4 BB was updated as the BB 512 in 1976, resurrecting the name of the earlier Ferrari 512 racer. The name 512 referred to the car's 5 liter, 12 cylinder engine; a deviation from Ferrari's established practice of naming 12-cylinder road cars (as the 365 BB) after their cylinder displacement. The engine was enlarged to 4942 cc, with an increased compression ratio of 9.2:1. Power was slightly down to 360 hp, while a dual plate clutch handled the added torque and eased the pedal effort. Dry sump lubrication prevented oil starvation in hard cornering. The chassis remained unaltered, but wider rear tires (in place of the 365's equally sized on all four corners) meant the rear track grew 63 mm.

External differentiators included a new chin spoiler upfront, incorporated in the bumper. A NACA duct on the side provided cooling for the exhaust system. At the rear there were now twin tail lights and exhaust pipes each side, instead of triple units as on the 365 GT4 BB.

929 BB 512 models were produced.

The Bosch K-Jetronic CIS fuel injected BB 512i introduced in 1981 was the last of the series. The fuel injected motor produced cleaner emissions and offered a better balance of performance and daily-driver temperament.

External differentiators from the BB 512 besides badging include a change to metric sized wheels and the Michelin TRX metric tire system, small white running lights in the nose, and red rear fog lamps outboard of the exhaust pipes in the rear valance. The fuel-injected model produced either 340bhp at 6,000 rpm – according to figures in the factory owner's manual – or 360bhp at 6,200 rpm, according to the factory service manual. Either figure is impressive, more than enough to give the BBi a top speed in excess of 160 mph (again, the owner's manual) or 188 mph, as shown in the shop manual. The BBi was constructed on a tubular steel frame and clothed in a steel body designed by Pininfarina. That powerful flat-12 was tied to a five-speed manual rear transaxle. Suspension was of traditional race-car style, with unequal-length A-arms with dual coil springs and an anti-roll bar at both front and rear.

Despite this cleaner-running engine, the BBi remained on the long list of European performance cars that were not permitted entry to the United States, Ferrari's most important market. While a few "grey-market" cars found their way into the US under temporary "non-highway use" registrations, others who desperately wanted to import a BBi were forced to contract with an approved American shop that could make the necessary alterations to "federalize" the car. Thus a number of 512 BBs and BBis made their way to the US and eventual legal registration.

1,007 BB 512i models were produced.

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