16-17 August 2013

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Lot 143

1984 Ferrari 512 BBi by Pininfarina

  • Chassis no. ZFFJA09B000051335

Sold for $170,500

340 bhp, 4,942 cc alloy flat-12, Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, five-speed manual transaxle, front and rear independent suspension with unequal length A-arms, twin rear coil springs, anti-roll bar, and hydraulic dampers, and four wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 98.4 in.

  • One of only 141 produced for the final year
  • Freshly serviced
  • Just 18,000 kilometers from new

Despite adopting a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system for their flagship cars in 1981, it was still illegal to import a flat-12 Ferrari into America. It was, however, now easier to federalize the emissions privately and import one grey market, which irritated the company to no end. Ferrari’s amusing solution was a factory program in 1983, which sold a still-illegal 512 BBi to an American customer, who had to take delivery in Europe. From there, the company could assist with brokers and registered importers. In retrospect, it was obvious why Ferrari wouldn’t want to invest in federalizing the 512 BBi, as its successor, the Testarossa, would be on sale in the U.S. in 1985.

Originally imported into California, this 512 BBi, chassis number 51335, is a very late production car. A recent engine-out service replaced the vital timing chain tensioner, as well as the exhaust. In addition to those items, indicated by wear or mileage, a suite of prophylactic measures were also addressed, including a refurbishment of the A/C system and all-new belts, hoses, seals, and gaskets. The result is a car very different from the average 512 BBi that typically sits in a garage. The original Rosso Corsa exterior has been carefully maintained and is over a desirable Rosso and Nero interior that shows little more than break-in wear. Original books and tools are present, completing the impression of a car that is much younger than its almost 30 years. With extensive preventive maintenance completed, the driver’s seat beckons for someone to hop in, slot the gated shifter into gear, and let loose a song that comes only from Ferrari’s flat-12 as it nears 7,000 rpm.

As stunning as it is to hear a 512 BBi run, the pleasure is in driving. As in all the great drivers’ cars, it seems to shrink around the driver. Fender-filling wheels on three-piece alloy wheels work with the sophisticated suspension to keep 340 horsepower on the ground, and of course, it only weighs 3,300 pounds. Zero to 60 in 5.6 seconds is thrilling, but the agility and sense of control from a properly balanced mid-engine configuration is astonishing.

There was a time when pundits thought that post-1973 Ferraris would never be collectible, as they lacked the vision and excitement of earlier cars. But there’s a saying among collectors: the cars one has on posters as a teenager are the cars they seek out as adults. No bedroom wall or high school locker in the late 1970s and early 1980s was complete without Ferrari’s flagship. It must simply be that those once pessimistic about the model’s future had never had the opportunity to drive one of the flat-12s of the 512 and Testarossa era. They are simply, as one writer put it, “more car.”


Please note that due to California emissions, this car should be offered to a dealer or out-of-state resident.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more