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Lot 173: Ferrari 212 Export Berlinetta

The Scotsdale Auction, Bonhams (16 January 2014)

Few serial numbering systems in the realm of collector cars are better-known or more scrutinized than Ferrari's practice of using odd numbers for road going chassis while assigning even numbers to racing and competition cars. Examining the evolution of early Ferrari models and the serial numbers assigned to their chassis, one can arguably trace the earliest use of the famed numbering system to Maranello's second-ever model, the 166 Spyder Corsa of late 1947. Bodied with cycle-wing fenders more becoming of a pre-war racing car, the 166 Spyder Corsa employed a bored version of the Gioacchino Colombo-designed short block V-12 used in the 125 S, and began with chassis numbers 002C and 004C. Seven more examples were built continuing the even-numbered fashion, which by some accounts was implemented solely in the belief that even numbers were luckier. By the end of the 166 Spyder Corsa run, the C suffix had been changed to I, in preparation for the Inter designation, one of three new variants of the 166 that would receive standard closed-fender sports car coachwork. Initially called the 166 Sport, the performance variant of the 166 soon morphed into the competition-prepared 166 MM, which became a new darling of privateer racers and successful factory entries. The 166 MM is perhaps just as notable for formally introducing the even-numbering system for racing sports cars, starting with chassis no. 0002M, while odd-numbered road cars evolved from 007S with the first 166 Inter, the 166's less powerfully tuned street version. Even numbered racing chassis continued into the larger versions of Ferrari's developing V-12 sports car, segueing from the 195 Sport to the 212 series, where the Sport nomenclature was finally changed to Export. The Export name reflected Ferrari's long planned courtship of the overseas market, with specific intent to sell cars to American racing privateers, while the Inter designation remained to designate ordinary road cars. Carrozzeria Touring While early Ferrari Berlinettas were constructed by a variety of coachbuilders over the years, perhaps most strongly associated with Pinin Farina, it was Carrozzeria Touring of Milan that penned and built the first and most successful racing Berlinettas. Often noted for its unique lightweight Superleggera construction technique, which involved loosely fitting aluminum skins over a tube-frame chassis, Touring had an intertwined relationship with Ferrari dating back further than most enthusiasts might realize. Touring founder Felice Bianchi Anderloni was originally a factory driver for Isotta-Fraschini and Peugeot during the 1920s, and he frequently crossed paths with Enzo Ferrari during his racing days, though the two Italians never directly competed against one another in the same class. Years later during the 1930s, Touring evolved into one of Alfa Romeo's principal coachbuilders, and given Enzo Ferrari's assumption of Alfa Romeo racing material under his newly formed Scuderia, there is little doubt that the two executives operated within the same social and business circles. The evolving relationship bore its first notable fruit when two privateers, Alberto Ascari and the Marchese Lotario Rangoni Machiavelli di Modena, made preparations for the 1940 Mille Miglia, approaching Enzo Ferrari to construct two racing cars for them. At the time, Ferrari was constrained by a legal non-compete agreement he had made after leaving Alfa Romeo in 1938, so he built the cars under the mantle of his new airplane parts manufacturing company, Auto-Avio Costruzioni. When searching for a coachbuilder, Touring was a natural choice given the two men's shared history, and Anderloni and his designers penned a sensational two-seater that was known simply as the 815 Spyder for its engine specifications. That neither car finished the race is of little importance, as the occasion marked the very first appearance of a Touring-bodied Ferrari-built car (and interestingly enough, the international racing debut of future champion Alberto Ascari). As Ferrari initiated road car production with the 166, the first-ever Ferrari Berlinetta appeared at the 1948 Mille Miglia on chassis no. 003S, wearing coachwork by Allemano. A chance meeting between Serafino Allemano and Enzo Ferrari may have led to the Torinese company designing this car and a similar spyder, both of which featured a relatively staid approach to postwar design. At the Turin Motor Show in late 1948, however, it was Touring that presented two new Ferraris 166 examples, an open car and a closed 4-seat berlinetta that clearly raised the Allemano design to a new plateau. The closed car, chassis no. 005S, was the first Ferrari berlinetta built by Touring, and by the arrival of chassis no. 0026M the design had evolved into the Le Mans Berlinetta fastback that would characterize the coachbuilder's closed-body design through the next several Ferrari models, ending with the 212 Export. The Motorcar Offered By the time the 166's engine was bored to 212 specifications, just five examples of the 166 MM Touring Berlinetta had been constructed, and this car is the first of just four more such bodies that were then mounted on the even-numbered, competition 212 platform. The seventh overall 212 Export constructed, chassis no. 0088 E received Touring body no. 3473, engine internal no. 16/E and gearbox no. 20/E. The completed frame was finished on January 26, 1951, with rear axle assembly on February 14, supervised by famed mechanics Walter Seghedoni and foreman Amos Franchini. As demonstrated by original factory chassis sheets, the two mechanics supervised completion of the racing bred engine two days later, where it received the three Weber carburetor setup, revised competition cam-timing and valve arrangement, and was tuned for sports racing use. On February 23, a certificate of origin was issued and a day later the car was test driven at the factory. Distributed to Rome-based dealer Mambretti Sonzogni, this rare Touring Berlinetta was sold new on April 20, 1951, to Augusto Caraceni, a tailor and racing car driver who was the heir to the Caraceni company, one of Italy's most famous men's clothiers. Founded in 1913 by Domenico Caraceni, the father of modern Italian tailoring, Caraceni was preferred by Enzo Ferrari and other significant luminaries, including Fiat boss Gianni Agnelli, tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and Hollywood actors like Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant. During September 1951, Mr. Caraceni entered the sleek Export at the fifth annual Stella Alpina Hillclimb, and decorated with #254 the car finished 5th overall and 2nd in class. The performance was photographically captured in the September 1951 issue of Auto Italiana magazine. On February 15, 1952, Mr. Caraceni purchased a Vignale-bodied 212/225 Export that he later used in the Mille Miglia, and he shortly thereafter sold this car to its second owner of record, Count Antonio Naselli of Trevinano-Viterbo. Less than a month later, the dashing Count entered the Export at the XII Giro di Sicilia, now wearing #357, while on August 28, the car was once again entered at the Stella-Alpina Hillclimb, though it is not clear how well it finished. In the spring of 1954, Count Naselli acquired a 340 America, and 0088 E was sold on May 17 to Dino Vaselli of Rome. Mr. Vaselli retained the Ferrari only briefly before re-selling it to Giampaolo Terigi of Lucca on September 8. A year later, Mr. Terigi then sold the car to its fifth owner, Roberto Federici of Rome, who in turn sold it to Mrs. Rosetta Maiavacca of Genova four months later. In January 1957, the 212 was acquired by Genovese resident Luigi Danuzzo, who sold the car eighteen months later to its final Italian owner, Enrico Ghezzi of Milan. This well-documented chain of ownership is comprehensively listed in original Automobile Club d'Italia registrations that appreciably enhance the car's excellent documentation. In the early 1960s, this beautiful Touring Berlinetta was imported to the United States through Italian dealer Michele Vernola, and by 1963 the car had been acquired by Lowell Musick of Long Beach, California, an employee at the Douglas Aircraft factory. When the V-12 motor eventually required some minor work to keep it running, Mr. Musick accordingly entrusted the Export to Charles Betz of Orange, California, a renowned Ferrari enthusiast and owner of many of the marque's most important early models. Mr. Betz worked on the car for some time at his home, where it was soon spotted by the consignor, Mr. Betz's business partner, who was also well versed in early Ferraris. Eventually purchasing the 212 from Mr. Musick in 1969, the consignor initially used it very little; the Export sat for a protracted period in a controlled state of storage, still retaining its original matching-numbers drivetrain and complete original Touring Berlinetta coachwork. The car remained so original, in fact, that when the owner of a similar 166 MM Touring Berlinetta (chassis no. 0026M) sought to restore his car, a representative of his restorer, the Pebble Beach awarded Paul Russell and Company, traveled to the consignor's garage to examine and study 0088 E at length as it represented the benchmark for the model. In 2008 a complete restoration was begun, and the Export was fastidiously disassembled and prepared. 0088 E was complete and intact after its many years in Southern California, and was an ideal base for a restoration. Steve Beckman's Metalworks in Costa Mesa was retained to prepare the body and finish it in the vintage color of Amaranto, a shade in which the car was repainted when it was roughly one year old. The late Bob Wallace performed all of the machine work, balancing and blueprinting the original matching-numbers Colombo V-12, and similarly rebuilding the gearbox and differential. The opportunity was taken to install a limited-slip differential that now provides for a negligible loss of torque during hard cornering, allowing the car to perform with improved modernity and safety during touring and racing applications. Multiple components were sent to specialists for refurbishment, with the original wheels going to Cork Adams, the brightwork to South Bay Chrome, and the original instruments to MoMa. When all the individual components had been re-conditioned and returned, Pete Engel installed a correct new interior with naturale lastico upholstery and Mr. Betz oversaw the car's reassembly, as well as final detailing of the chrome and paint. All components were refinished to the original type of plating and finish. The colors of paint used were also consistent with the original, including the silver grey on the engine, gearbox and differential. The fastidious restoration cost approximately $600,000 as reflected by an extensive file of invoices. The sale of 0088 E represents an unparalleled opportunity in the marketplace today. Very rarely do early competition Ferraris as genuine and authentic as this car come to market. Still retaining its original Touring Berlinetta coachwork, matching numbers engine and drivetrain, 0088 E truly fits in among the upper crust of the collector car world. Impeccably prepared with outstanding attention to detail and authenticity, 0088 E is accompanied by tools, owner's manuals, copies of the original factory build records, and Ferrari historian Marcel Massini's history report. This incredibly rare Berlinetta has been absent from the circles of Ferrari enthusiasts and the collector car market for many decades. Now emerging from its cloistered storage and impeccable nut-and-bolt restoration for the first time in forty-five years, 0088 E yearns to be shown at the most discerning Concours events, such as the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the Cavallino Classic or Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, where it will surely be appreciated for its all-original coachwork and drivetrain, as well as the historically significant Touring Berlinetta design. Furthermore, 0088 E is highly eligible for the absolute top driving and racing events worldwide, such as the Mille Miglia, Monaco Historic Grand Prix and Le Mans Classic. A highly desirable part of early Ferrari history, 0088 E beckons serious collectors and Maranello purists to indulge in a fine automotive collectible of inestimable importance.

Lot Details
Auction The Scotsdale Auction
Bonhams, Arizona
Lot Number173
Outcome SOLD
Hammer Price£1722117
Hammer Price (inc premium)£1894329
Condition rating1
Registration number
Chassis number0088 E
Engine number0088 E
Engine capacity (cc)2562
Engine - cylinders
Number of doors2