A Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer is one of a series of cars produced by Ferrari in Italy between 1973 and 1984. They used a mid-mounted flat-12 (180° V12, not actually a true boxer) engine, replacing the FR layout Daytona, and were succeeded in the Ferrari stable by the Testarossa. It was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti.
Production of the BB was a major step for Enzo Ferrari. He felt that a mid-engined road car would be too difficult for his buyers to handle, and it took many years for his engineers to convince him to adopt the layout. This attitude began to change as the marque lost its racing dominance in the late 1950s to mid-engined competitors. The mid-engined 4-, 6-, and 8-cylinder Dino racing cars were the result, and Ferrari later allowed for the production Dino road cars to use the layout as well. The company also moved its V12 engines to the rear with its P and LM racing cars, but the Daytona was launched with its engine in front. It was not until 1971 that a mid-engined 12-cylinder road car would appear.
No BB was ever originally sold in North America, as Enzo did not believe it to be worth the cost of federalizing. However, third parties made conversions, and quite a few of them are now in the United States.
365 GT4 BB
The first "Boxer" was the 365 GT4 BB shown at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. Designed to rival the Lamborghini Miura, it was finally released for sale in 1973 at the Paris Motor Show. 387 were built, with 88 in right-hand drive (of which 58 for the UK market), making it the rarest of all Berlinetta Boxers. The Pininfarina-designed body followed the P6 show car with popup headlights.
Though it shared its numerical designation with the Daytona, the Boxer was radically different. It was a mid-engined car like the Dino, and the now flat-12 engine was mounted longitudinally rather than transversely (as it was mounted in the Dino; the Daytona was a conventional front-engine, logitudinal design). Horse Power @ 344 was also slightly lower than the Daytona.
The engine shared its internal dimensions with the V12 from the Daytona, but was spread out to 180° as on Ferrari's 1970 Formula One car and was mounted above a five-speed manual transmission. One major difference in this engine was its use of timing belts rather than chains.
The 365 GT4/BB was updated as the BB 512 in 1976, resurrecting the name of the earlier Ferrari 512 racer. The engine was larger at 4942cc, had an increased compression ratio of 9.2:1,Horse Power was slightly up to 360 and a new dual plate clutch to handle the added power, torque and ease the pedal effort. Dry sump lubrication was used to prevent oil starvation in hard cornering due to revised rear suspension, wider wheels and wider rear tires. External differentiators included a new front spoiler, wider rear tires, added NACA side air vents ducting air to the brakes, four tail pipes and four tail lights (instead of six).
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.
1,007 BB 512i models were produced.
Specifications and performance
Measurements are notoriously variable, inaccurate, and definitionally vague even from Ferrari-issued sources of the same period. For example, the workshop manual documents maximum speed (typically speed at redline) whereas the owner's manual documents «attainable» speed which appears to be speed at maximum HP per RPM not exceeding redline; for the 512 and 512i, this is likely not the maximum speed. Also, the workshop manual does not consistently distinguish measurements between the carbureted (512) and injected (512i) engines except with respect to the fuel delivery system, even though it is common knowledge that differences exist.