Enzo Ferrari had two beliefs about his cars. Both had to be changed by brave men and both changes would take a long time to be accepted by the great man himself. In Ferraris mind racing cars had 12cylinder engines and the ‘Horse went before the cart’. He carried this belief into road cars too adding that his customers would find a rear engined car too difficult to handle.    

   Rear engined race cars were beating Ferrari regularly by the end of the 1950s but Ferrari, the man, resisted the change until 1961. When the first F1 Ferrari with it’s engine in rear took to the tracks in 1961 that engine was a 6 cylinder engine developed from the engine his beloved son ‘Dino’ had designed. This system of V6, V8 and V12 engines spread to the Prototype sports cars and LM racers but for the road cars it took much longer for the switch to the mid-chassis engine position.    

   The top of the range Daytona ran until 1973, and it had the engine in the front. Only when the 365 GT4 BB came onto the scene did Ferrari road sports cars move to the mid-engine layout. First unveiled to the world at the 1971 Turin Motor show the 365 BB didn’t make it to the sales rooms for a further two years. When it did it retained much of the look of that P6 show car, including the very ‘70s ‘pop up’ headlights. Leonardo Fioravanti was the designer behind Ferrari's part of the car but the body shape was drafted at Pinninfarina. 

   The beautiful lines of the bodywork flowed over the wheels, cabin a powerful flat 12 engine. The ‘look’ was something very different from any Ferrari that had gone before, if the new car shared a numeric designation with it’s Daytona predecessor, that was all it shared, (well, That's unless you count cylinder bore and depth).     

Berlinetta Boxer

   The car gets the BB initials from its style and engine, being an enclosed two door body with a 12 cylinder engine having the banks of cylinders horizontally opposed. The concept was similar to the aging Dino in that the engine sat mid-chassis, but the new flat 12 was longitudinally mounted. In real terms it isn’t a boxer as the firing order isn’t set the same as the Porsche 6cyl or VW 4cyl boxer style engines, it is more of a ‘flat’ or ‘180°’ V12. Whatever the niceties of design names might be this engine differed in another way from previous Ferrari designs, it now had timing belts rather than chains or gears!

   Claimed to produce 360 bhp @ 7500rpm, and at a weight of just 3500 lbs, the cars power to weight ratio was an impressive 230 bhp/ton. This translated into speed terms as a standing Km time of just 24 seconds - Fast today, but astonishing in 1973. Other performance figures read as 0 - 60 mph in 6.3 sec and on to 100 mph in a total of 13.0 sec’s, top speed approached 175 mph (Ferrari initially claimed 188mph but no independent tester got near that figure). An interesting fact is that the new 365 Berlinetta Boxer was barely faster than the 365 Daytona it was replacing.

   In all other ways the new car was vastly superior, ride, handling and interior trim were all better and the external looks were fantastic. But all this goodness came at a price. The 365BB had almost no luggage space, other cars of the price had more driver luxuries on the dash and the fuel consumption was a meagre 14 mpg.

   The 365 GT4/BB received a bigger engine from 1976 and was tagged the 512BB. In that form it stayed in production till 1984.

   88 of the 387 GT4 BBs that were built were right-hand drive and 58 of them were imported to Great Britian. None of the original BBs were sold into North America, Il Comendatore did not believe it was worth the cost of ‘federalizing’ it. Private individuals did later make the conversions themselves so there are several living on American soil today.   

   The 88 rhd cars are amongst the rarest of all Ferraris, which brings to light another interesting point. Berlinetta Boxers are amongst the least valued and appreciated of Ferraris cars, a 512BB raising just £50,400 (inclusive of commission) at an auction in 2011. 

   Our car is in the colours of Luigi Chinetti's North American Racing Team as it ran in the 1977 Le Mans 24hrs endurance race. NART started development of their racing 365 GT4 BB as a replacement for the team's elderly Daytonas. They debuted their version of the 365BB at the 1975 24hrs of Daytona and 2months later they were at Sebring for the 12hrs and took an encouraging 6th place. 

   The 1977 le Mans 24hrs garnered the team 16th place driven by Francois Migault and Lucien Guitteny (incidentally, Paul Newman was also on the entry list but never drove the car).    

   NART continued to use the car into 1978 but thereafter Ferrari were developed the 512 BB LM in house. 

                                                                     1/24th scale kit.

                                                                        Built by Rod.


   This model kit, no.0 6407-5, was released in 1979 at Airfix series 6 level. It was built straight from the box by Rod around 1980, meaning it is all painted by brush using Humbrol enamels. The decals have lasted surprisingly well all things considered as no clearcote of any sort is protecting them.

   Fujimi and Revell have released nice road going versions of the GT4 BB.