That most golden of eras
Sure, Group C was a mind-bending kaleidoscope of colour and speed. And yes, GT1 was a formula which quite rightly deserves the renaissance it’s currently enjoying. But there’s really only one winner when it comes to sports-car racing’s most dramatic, dangerous and downright sexy of eras and that’s Group 5 of 1970 and 1971.
Duking it out for glory in the fiercely contested World Sportscar Championship were the likes of Jacky Ickx, Jo Siffert, Brian Redman, ‘Quick Vic’ Elford and the brothers Rodríguez. These charismatic men were not just racing drivers, they were gladiators. Each and every time they buckled into their furious Group 5 prototypes – with socking-great five-litre engines behind, vast fuel tanks either side and tubular chassis ahead – they risked their lives for glory.
The Ferrari 512 S – the Porsche hunter
There are, of course, two cars most closely associated with the halcyon Group 5 years: the Porsche 917 and the Ferrari 512. To say there was no love lost between Maranello and Stuttgart would be an understatement-and-a-half. This was all-out war, waged between the most advanced automotive weapons in the world.
Ferrari’s bespectacled chief engineer Mauro Forghieri pulled off something of a miracle with the 512 S. When Porsche introduced its 917 in 1969 and, with it, its serious intentions to dominate Group 5, all that stood between Enzo Ferrari and the retention of his company’s pride on the world stage was a hefty injection of funding and 25 cars to present to the FIA and satisfy the minimum production requirements to race.
A sacrifice was needed and a sacrifice was made – Il Commendatore committed to sell half of his precious company to Fiat, thus awarding Forghieri with the cash to get to work on the new prototype and a challenging five-month timeframe with which to finish it.
“A sacrifice was needed and a sacrifice was made – Il Commendatore committed to sell half of his precious company to Fiat.”
Naturally, he and his crack team of engineers rose to the challenge. Ahead of the 1970 World Sportscar Championship curtain-raiser at Daytona in late January, Ferrari presented the required 25 512 Ss to the FIA in Maranello – 17 complete cars perfectly parked side by side and eight ready-to-assemble kits.
The Porsche 917 was a great looking car. But the Ferrari 512 S made even it look frumpy. The soft-cornered and sculpted soap-bar body was the work of ingegnere Giacomo Caliri and crafted for the first time from glass-fibre. It tightly hugged a lightweight tubular chassis, itself cradling a five-litre V12 engine derived from the 612 Can-Am car with four valves per cylinder and which produced 550HP. The sound that emanates from said engine can only be as ungodly.
Chassis number 1004
You might well have seen the grainy photo of the box-fresh 512 Ss lined up at the Ferrari factory in 1969 circulating on social media. It’s quite the spectacle, hence why it’s picked up by so many of those ‘period-correct’ accounts. The example Girardo & Co. is privileged to be presenting is one of those complete cars, more specifically chassis number 1004.
A Works S.p.A. Ferrari SEFAC owned and campaigned car, chassis 1004 was distinguishable by its external door hinges, air outlet vent aft of the roof and slightly larger-diameter anti-roll bar. As only the second 512 S constructed, this chassis was swiftly pressed into duty as a test and development car and toured around the racetracks of Italy over the winter period, from Vallelunga in the south to Enna on the isle of Sicily.
Adorned with a hastily applied factory number plate reading the number ‘PROVA MO53’, chassis 1004 pioneered a number of aerodynamic modifications including the winglets on either side of the nose and a selection of carefully positioned fins atop the tail section. These were implemented with the steep, high-speed banking of Daytona International Speedway in mind – round one of the 1970 season and this 512 S’s maiden competitive outing.
The 1970 Daytona 24 Hours
Keen to press its new Porsche 917 challenger into action and demonstrate its raw pace, the Works Ferrari team arrived in Daytona with a trio of 512 Ss for its squadron of hot-shoe drivers to pilot. Chassis 1004 was given the race number 27 and earmarked for Jacky Ickx and Peter Schetty.
Unofficial practice began on the Wednesday before the race. Although the session was not officially timed, the pit crews naturally had their stop watches running. And to the delight of Mauro Forghieri, who also ran the Works Ferrari team at that time, the sister 512 S of Mario Andretti and Arturo Merzario clocked the quickest overall time – a surefire signal to Porsche that this wasn’t going to be the walk in the park they’d envisaged.
Qualifying was hampered by a deluge and so the true pace of the front-runners was somewhat obscured – not that this stopped Mario Andretti and Ferrari from clinching an impressive pole position in very tricky conditions. In a forward-thinking move and with mechanical sympathy in mind, Jacky Ickx and Peter Schetty conserved their pace in chassis 1004, though still managed to qualify in fifth position for the race.
The raw pace of the 512 S was obvious for everyone to see, although Mauro Forghieri’s outfit was to be plagued by an agonisingly trivial technical issue throughout the 24 hours. Jacky Ickx made an excellent start with chassis 1004, only to suffer said issue – the result of which was a tyre blowout – 115 laps into the race. It was subsequently discovered that the excessive wear was caused by weak suspension mounting points, which had cracked on Daytona’s bumpy banking and, in turn, increased the toe-in.
Jacky Ickx was dropped into the Andretti/Merzario 512 S, the trio eventually finishing third overall after 24 hours of racing – an encouraging if not perfect debut for Forghieri’s Group 5 challenger.
The 1970 1000KM di Monza
Ferrari repatriated and repaired this car in advance of its second outing: the 1000KM di Monza in April. In front of the wildly passionate Tifosi, S.p.A. Ferrari SEFAC turned out in force with a three-car entry. Jacky Ickx was side-lined with burns injuries sustained after an accident in the Spanish Grand Prix, so the English Formula 1 World Champion John Surtees was chosen to drive this 512 S alongside Peter Schetty, who knew the lay of the land with this specific car having raced it at Daytona.
Contesting the full Grand Prix loop of the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, the sports-racing cars instantly showed the extreme rate of development in the discipline, lapping only hundredths of a second off the Formula 1 record. Surtees and Schetty once again went easy on chassis 1004, lining up on the grid in sixth position.
The 25th of April 1970. Liberation Day in Italy. When the green flag waved on the 174-lap tour of Monza and a scarlet Ferrari exited the famous Parabolica corner first at the end of the first lap, the capacity crowd erupted with frenzied excitement. The racing was hard and fast – a frenetic cacophony of noise and colour. On lap 35, John Surtees assumed the lead of the race with chassis 1004, though soon had to relinquish it with a fuel stop and a driver change. As the race progressed further, so Surtees and Schetty reclimbed the order to finish third overall – a great result on home turf for the Scuderia.
High-speed autostrada testing
In Maranello, all eyes were looking ahead to the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the jewel in endurance racing’s crown. With the Circuit de la Sarthe’s desperately long straights in mind, Ferrari’s engineers decided a low-drag Coda Lunga (that’s long tail in Italian) was needed for the 512 S.
Chassis number 1004 was drafted for according test and development duties. Using the influence of its shareholder Fiat, Ferrari had a stretch of the A21 autostrada between Turin and Piacenza closed so Peter Schetty and Arturo Merzario could sample the new long tail, which had been fitted to chassis 1004, at high speed. It’s said the drivers reported some disconcerting bumps at 215mph, the like of which you wouldn’t ordinarily experience in a regular saloon car. We can only imagine how the noise of the V12 singing flooded the local towns and villages that day.
As per a Ferrari factory invoice dated 20 June 1970, this 512 S was stripped of its engine and gearbox and sold as a chassis and bodywork with the numbers 1024 to Jacques Swaters, founder of the Belgian privateer equipe Ecurie Francorchamps.
“This 512 S was acquired by Solar Productions, the film production company of Steve McQueen which was about to start shooting Le Mans.”
Less than a month later, this 512 S was acquired by Solar Productions, the film production company of Steve McQueen which was about to start shooting Le Mans. In the film, a remote-control Lola T70 (yes, really!) was fitted with the body panels from chassis 1004/1024 in order to create a dummy lookalike 512 S, which could then be used in the film’s most famous crash sequence. On the set, the Frankenstein sports-racing car was commonly referred to as the ‘Lolari’.
When Le Mans wrapped at the end of 1971, four of the five Ferrari 512 Ss used in the filming were sold to Herbert Müller Racing in Switzerland. The team sold two cars to its wellheeled clients and retained two cars. Chassis 1004 was one of the two 512 Ss Müller kept.
To the United States and back
Almost a decade later, in 1979, the revered historian and Ferrari 512 S expert Manfred Lampe acquired this chassis – which was at this point assumed to be the missing chassis number 1012 – from a dealer in Turin. Lampe recalls buying a complete chassis, a selection of body panels and a small spares package. The 512 S was exported to the USA, not to return to Europe until 1987. Lampe decided in 1991 that this Ferrari 512 S deserved to be restored to its former glory.
The well-known British marque specialist Bob Houghton was charged with the not-insignificant task. Over the course of the decade, the car was slowly returned to the original Spyder specification of chassis number 1012, which this 512 S was at that time believed to be. Lampe acquired a variety of original 512 S parts from an auction in 1996, some of which were installed on this car and some of which were traded for correct-type parts. Among the parts Lampe received in trade was the period Ferrari 512 S twelve-cylinder engine stamped with the number 26.
The history of engine number 26
Engine number 26 was originally used by S.p.A. Ferrari SEFAC at the 1970 ADAC 1000 km-Rennen Nürburgring, during which it was fitted to chassis number 1010. Following a subsequent rebuild back in Maranello, the engine contested the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans in chassis number 1026, as confirmed by the ACO scrutineering stamp still clearly visible on the engine block.
As a Works competition engine, it was very common during this time to be swapped between chassis, along with other mechanical componentry. Crucially, throughout the eight-year process, Lampe consulted closely with the Ferrari factory to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of every last detail. In 1999, following an appearance at the Concours Automobiles in Bagatelle, Paris, this Ferrari 512 S was finally complete.
Lampe had developed a great relationship with Ferrari, and even beyond the completion of this 512 S’s restoration, the factory kept searching for more information on his behalf. In November of 2002, they struck gold. They were able to confirm definitively that this could not be chassis number 1012, as 1012 was scrapped by the factory in period following an accident at the Nürburgring. It was in fact chassis number 1004.
In 2011, Lampe presented this 512 S for Ferrari Classiche certification, which it duly received – the chassis was confirmed as number 1004, the engine as number 026 and the gearbox as number 012.
Girardo & Co. has entered the chat
After almost four decades, Lampe parted ways with this Ferrari 512 S, selling to a collector in the USA. With a view to racing chassis number 1004 in historic motorsport events around the world, the aforementioned collector commissioned Tim Samways’ renowned Sporting & Historic Car Engineers outfit in the United Kingdom to comprehensively disassemble, thoroughly inspect and fastidiously rebuild this Ferrari, bringing it up to modern safety standards while maintaining its extraordinary originality.
“In 2017, after an extensive and far-reaching bespoke marketing campaign, we were able to find a fantastic home for this 512 S.”
In 2017, we at Girardo & Co. had the privilege of publicly offering chassis number 1004 for sale for the very first time. After an extensive and far-reaching bespoke marketing campaign, which included exhibiting the car at Techno Classica Essen, we were able to find a fantastic home for the 512 S with a Swiss collector and historic racing driver.
He promptly returned chassis 1004 to competitive action, contesting a plethora of events in the 2017 and 2018 historic motorsport seasons, including the Mugello Classic, the Monza Classic, the Dix Milles Tours at Paul Ricard and, the proverbial cherry on the cake, the Le Mans Classic.
The return to Daytona configuration
When the Covid-19 pandemic struck and the world ground to a halt, the current owner took the decision to restore the 512 S to its original closed configuration, exactly as it was raced by Jacky Ickx and Peter Schetty in the 1970 Daytona 24 Hours. Tommaso Gelmini of the Italian company GPS Classics oversaw the project together with Carrozzeria Quality Cars, using a wealth of period imagery and consulting directly with former owner Manfred Lampe in addition to the Ferrari factory in order to guarantee the authenticity of every component on chassis number 1004.
Arguably the greatest and most challenging aspect of the restoration was converting the 512 S from open spyder configuration into a closed coupé. Suffice to say, there is far more to it than simply grafting a roof on the car. In fact, the open and closed 512 Ss are very different cars both above and beneath the surface. For example, the air-intake system is entirely different – the closed car has two distinctive ‘ears’ aft of the cabin, which Gelmini had to have specially fabricated to the original design. Furthermore, a secondary water-expansion tank had to be installed at the front of the engine and entirely new windscreen, doors and canopy had to be crafted.
There are so many authentic, intricate and beautiful details now visible on chassis number 1004, from the two spotlights in the centre of the nose panel (covered, just as they were during the race) and the tall, sculptural wing mirrors which provide a clear view over the voluptuous rear haunches to the correct Plexiglas cover on the V12 engine’s velocity stacks and even the ‘PROVA MO 53’ factory registration number at the rear. Chassis number 1004 was completed in May of 2021 and immediately sent to the West Coast of America, where it starred in the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Each year at Pebble, the creator of the cult-classic racing video game Gran Turismo Kazunori Yamauchi presents the Gran Turismo Trophy to the car which stands out as exemplary and which he’d most like to be included in the franchise. In 2021, this Ferrari 512 S was the recipient of the award.
Following its public debut, the car was dismantled and parts including the brake pedal and the steering pinion were sent for crack-testing.
Upon completion of the restoration, this 512 S was reinspected by the Ferrari factory and issued with an updated Classiche certification binder. Furthermore, in the spring of this year, the key components of the car were submitted for crack testing and chassis number 1004 had its FIA Historic Technical Passport successfully renewed. The final event this 512 S’s owner contested with the car was the Mugello Classic at the end of June. We’d like to note that a comprehensive photographic study of the restoration including all the corresponding invoices will accompany the car, in addition to a significant spares package.
A word from the boss
The Mugello Classic in June of 2022 was the last historic motorsport event contested by chassis number 1004
“When I saw this 512 S at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2021, I could hardly believe that it was in fact chassis 1004, such is the extent and quality of the restoration. It’s incredibly rewarding when our clients recognise the historical significance of the cars we sell to them and invest great time, effort and resource into presenting them in the best possible light. This Ferrari, which is now in the exact configuration in which it tore around the banking at Daytona in 1970, is a fantastic case in point. It was personally even more rewarding for me when chassis number 1004’s custodian entrusted Girardo & Co. with presenting this most special of prototype racing cars for sale once again.”
Fantastic provenance and ready-to-race condition – it’s a rare combination of attributes for any historic racing car, let alone a sports-racing prototype from the Group 5 era of the early 1970s. As a Works Ferrari, chassis number 1004 contested two of the most famous endurance races of them all, the Daytona 24 Hours and the 1000KM di Monza, and was piloted by three of the epoch’s most talented drivers: Jacky Ickx, John Surtees and Peter Schetty. That it played an integral role in the development of the Coda Lunga bodywork and subsequently starred in Steve McQueen era-defining racing flick Le Mans are the proverbial cherries on the cake for this 512 S’s period history.
Fastidiously restored and boasting full Ferrari Classiche certification and valid FIA HTP papers until 2032, this 512 S is a car which is highly eligible for the world’s most prestigious historic motoring events, from automotive beauty pageants including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este to race meetings such as the Le Mans Classic and the HSR Classic 24 Hour at Daytona. To return chassis number 1004 to the history-steeped banking of the Daytona International Speedway for the first time since 1970 would be a moment to live in the memory forever.
1970 S.p.A. Ferrari SEFAC, Italy
1970 Ecurie Francorchamps, Belgium
1970 Solar Productions, France
1971 Herbert Müller Racing, Switzerland
1979 Manfred Lampe, Germany
2011 Peter Read, USA
2017 Current owner