1970 Ferrari 512 SSOLD

RM Auction: Ferrari - Legenda e Passione - Sunday, May 20, 2007

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Estimate: 2,000,000€-2,400,000€

2,640,000 € Sold

Specifications: 550bhp 4,496cc double overhead camshaft light alloy V-12, five-speed manual transmission, four-wheel hydraulic vented disc brakes, double wishbone independent front suspension and single upper arm and lower wishbone independent rear suspension.

The 512 S – Sports Car Prototype

Ferrari ’ s 512 S represented yet another attempt by a manufacturer to take advantage of the homologation rules laid out by the C.S.I. (Commission Sportive International). It was a practice the C.S.I. was trying hard to avoid; manufacturers would build prototype racers, produce them in the required quantities and fit them with lights, horns, and spare tires - all the trappings of a road car. On paper, the 512 S was a car for the average Joe, but in reality, it was the fastest car Ferrari had ever built, capable of moving in excess of 370 km/h.

With the new rules in place, Enzo Ferrari knew that it would be impossible for a ‘ Sports Prototype ’ of only three litres to compete against a five litre ‘ Sports Car. ’ In 1969, with the C.S.I. ’ s Group 6 rule change, a reduction from a minimum of 50 to 25 production units, and a major infusion of cash from Fiat, Ferrari quickly set about creating the 25 vehicles necessary to meet the Group 6 criteria.

The 512 S was first introduced to the public at a press conference in November 1969. The chassis was similar to the one used on the P4 — a semi-monocoque design. The engine was a direct development of the 612 Can Am series unit, now fitted with twin overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder and Lucas fuel injection. Initially it could produce 550bhp at 8,500rpm. A year after initial production began, changes were made to improve reliability, lessen the weight and increase the overall horsepower — the engine could now produce 620bhp at 9,000rpm.

All of the completed chassis were originally built in berlinetta configuration, but almost immediately, the 512 S began to undergo modification. The most noticeable change was the removal of the center section of the bodywork or roof panel – and on April 1, an addendum was accepted by the FIA and written into the homologation papers noting the availability of a spyder version.

Chassis 1006 In Competition

The 512 ’ s competition debut took place when five identical 512 S berlinettas lined up for the Daytona 24 Hour race on January 31, 1970. Mario Andretti succeeded in qualifying in first place, but the Porsche 917s were to stay in the lead throughout the whole of the actual race. Only one 512 was to survive twice around the clock – the official 512 S, driven alternately by Andretti, Arturo Merzario and Jacky Ickx, scoring a third place finish for Ferrari. For the 512 ’ s first outing, any type of podium finish against the mighty Porsche 917s was in itself a victory.

Two weeks after Daytona, Ferrari delivered chassis 1006 to Luigi Chinetti for use by his North American Race Team. Chassis 1006 and three other 512s were entered in the 1970 12 Hours of Sebring. Three of these 512s, including chassis 1006, were now in ‘ spyder ’ configuration. This enabled their weight to be reduced by about 40kg and significantly improved headroom. One factory team car, driven by Nino Vaccarella and Ignazio Giunti, retained its berlinetta configuration.

Chinetti had arranged for NART drivers Sam Posey and Ronnie Bucknum to race chassis 1006. In practice the two drove well, managing to qualify in 6th spot, ahead of the 512 S Ferrari works car of Giunti, Vaccarella and Andretti (the eventual overall winners). Posey and Bucknum were able to maintain their position for the early part of the race and by the fourth hour had moved into 5th place. Sadly, their race ended when the gearbox gave out early in the fifth hour. Despite this, the two managed to cover nearly 100 laps and were officially classified 42nd overall.

Chinetti next arranged for Pedro Rodriguez and the now repaired chassis 1006 to contest several Can-Am races. The first of these occurred on August 23, 1970 when Rodriguez drove chassis 1006 at the Mid-Ohio Can-Am race, where he finished 11th overall, and then on August 30th he finished a very respectable 7th overall at Elkhart Lake.

Chinetti now had two 512 S at his disposal. In late December 1970, Chinetti sent his lead driver, Sam Posey, along with chassis 1006 to Argentina for the upcoming 1000 km race at Buenos Aires. Three other 512s were also on hand, one of them in the improved new ‘ M ’ configuration. This included numerous improvements such as revised suspension and new front and rear body panels. Even with this new configuration it could only match the practice time of Posey in chassis 1006.

Chassis 1006 was actually faster than the others were on the turns and flat out. Only in braking did the new 512 M show the benefits of the new modifications. All four 512s finished, one after another, occupying 5th, 6th, 7th and 8th. The new 512 M was clearly the slowest of the four 512s entered, but while chassis 1006 was slightly quicker, it still only managed to score a 8th overall, just behind the lone 512 M which finished 7th.

After Buenos Aires, chassis 1006 was sent to the 24 Hours of Daytona along with chassis 1020. Four other 512s also competed in this classic endurance event. Three of the 512s were now in ‘ M ’ configuration. Clearly the fastest and best prepared was the 512 M of Roger Penske and Kirk White, chassis 1040.

During the race, only chassis 1040 and the car on offer here, chassis 1006, presented any opposition to the Porsche 917s. For much of the race it appeared that chassis 1040 would take the checkered flag. An unfortunate accident late in the race forced 1040 back to third spot, while chassis 1006 soldiered on to an unforgettable and career highlight second overall.

Most impressive though was the fact that 1006 gave the mighty 917 an impressive challenge for the first place victory, as the duel towards the end of the race had become the closest 1-2 finish in the history of the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Seven weeks after 1006 ’ s success at Daytona, Chinetti entered the car along with chassis 1020 in the 12 Hours of Sebring. 1006 was the sole 512 S amongst four ‘ M ’ variants. Once again, while chassis 1006 was extremely fast in practice, the race was relatively disappointing as the rear tire let go, sending 1006 limping back to the pits, and the dry sump tank split, ending the car ’ s run. Officially, Posey and Bucknum finished 37th overall.

Chassis 1006 ’ s final race of the 1971 season was the 24 Hours of Le Mans. No fewer than nine 512s were entered, but once again chassis 1006 was the sole example still in original ‘ S ’ configuration. In practice, the car proved to be the slowest of the Ferraris, but remained utterly reliable and as Le Mans was a test of endurance, Chinetti had strong hopes for a well-placed finish. Driving duties for the race were assigned to former Le Mans winner, Masten Gregory and the up-and-coming NART driver, George Eaton. The race again indicated that Porsche ’ s 917 was nearly unbeatable. Seven of the Ferrari 512s dropped out of the race with chassis 1006 forced to retire in the fifteenth hour due to persistent fuel-injection problems caused by dirty fuel.

Chassis 1006 – The Roster of Keepers

Well cared for, despite being actively campaigned for both the 1970 and 1971 seasons, 1006 found a succession of loving and caring owners shortly after its competitive career ended

Chassis 1006 was sold at the end of the 1971 season to enthusiast and vintage racer Harley Cluxton, who raced the car himself before passing it on to Californian Steve Earle (founder of the Monterey Historics), who later sold it to Chris Cord. It should be noted that a logbook from the Can Am series during this period still exists, although it does not accompany the car.

In the mid 1970s, Cord sold the car to Hamilton M. Kelly of Pasadena, California, who eventually passed the car to well-known Ferrari connoisseur, collector, racer and enthusiast, Otis Chandler of Los Angeles, California. In 1977, Chandler sold chassis 1006 to Stoney Stollenwerck, who in turn sold the car two years later to Steven Griswold of Berkeley, California. Griswold almost immediately turned the car around to Michael Vernon in the United Kingdom. Vernon had been looking for a proper 512 for some years, and upon inspecting chassis 1006 agreed to purchase the car immediately.

In the early 1990s, chassis 1006 was acquired by the internationally known Rosso Bianco museum collection of Peter Kaus. Since then, the Ferrari was sold to the United States, where it has remained in private hands for five years before being sold at RM ’ s Monterey Sports Car Auction to its current owner.

The engine was rebuilt by Chris Dugan of Motion Products West and has virtually no track time on it, remaining fresh for its next owner ’ s use. Prior to the engine rebuild chassis 1006 was intermittently raced, all the while performing competently and successfully on the track for its prior owner.

The vendor reports that the 512 S is in excellent overall condition with a host of additional accessories including the parts necessary to convert the car to either the long or short tail configuration. Notably, we understand the 512 S is capable of being road registered. Eligible for both the Targa Florio and the Le Mans Classic, and accompanied by an invitation to join the Masters series for the Silverstone Classic, this 512 S offers its next owner a world of possibilities in both show and competitive use. A true beast of historic racing, it is one of the only cars of the period that offered a serious competitive threat to the Porsche 917.

Summary

Few 512s remain in existence, as many of these cars were driven beyond their useful life and were either crashed or written off. Chassis 1006 is one of the few 512s that has such a well-known race history and remains in largely original condition. It is one of the single most original and untouched 512s ever completed. In fact, while 25 examples were originally called for, just 22 were actually completed, and a mere 16 survive to this day. While all of the 512s were upgraded and modified to some extent, there remains a total of just four 512s, including this one, still in their ‘ S ’ configuration.

Unfortunately for the unwary collector, many of the 512s that were destroyed and written off have now reappeared. Several have been rebuilt from the remains, or parts of the original remains, of cars destroyed while racing. Chassis 1006 is one of the few 512s that have managed to escape all controversy.

Built for Luigi Chinetti ’ s North American Racing Team and driven by some of the best drivers of the period – Posey, Bucknum, Rodriguez, and Gregory – it is a singular piece of Ferrari racing history. In addition, with its second place finish at Daytona, Chassis 1006 has proven to have tremendous versatility with commendable performances in three unique arenas – endurance events, road races, and even Can-Am - one of the best racing histories of any of Ferrari ’ s 512s.

This particular 512 represents an uncommon opportunity to acquire one of the few and certainly one of the finest examples left. Chassis 1006 is possibly the single best known and certainly one of the most cared for Ferrari 512s left in existence. In short, it is a legendary car from a legendary era in motor racing.

Reference Number 5913

as of 1/12/2007

Overview
Car 1970 Ferrari 512 S
VIN 1006 
Exterior / Interior Color      Red /      Black 
Configuration Right Hand Drive (RHD) 
Transmission Manual Shift 
Options Competition: Full Race setup, Racing Seats, Rollcage
Exterior: Alloy rims 
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