The Boxer line represented a remarkable departure for Ferrari. Those who witnessed the debut of Lamborghini’s stunning Miura in 1966 had been anxiously awaiting Ferrari’s response, and the front-engined Daytona, while extremely high performance, could not match the visual or experiential impact of the Miura and later the Countach. The Boxer was Ferrari’s first mid-engined twelve-cylinder road car and was powered by a horizontally-opposed longitudinally-mounted engine sitting atop the transaxle. Clothed in suitably rakish bodywork by Pininfarina, the Boxer was a stunner. The 512 BBi represents the ultimate development of the Boxer line and was distinguished from the 512 BB and 365 models that preceded it by the introduction of fuel injection. Today, the Boxer remains a dramatic and exciting car that offers a tremendous, visceral experience, especially compared to the much more subdued Testarossa which replaced it.
This particular example is a beautifully-preserved five-owner car that was imported to the United States new. Its original owner purchased the car through Algar Ferrari and picked it up from the factory in December of 1983, and drove the car around in Europe before importing it. As the 512 was never officially imported to the United States, it was federalized by Amerispec, with the EPA release completed in April of 1984. Federalized as a 49-state car, this 512BBi did not receive California BAR certification during this process. Though the car was officially federalized, it escaped the unsightly additions of side reflectors and impact bumpers that saddled so many gray market cars at the time. The car comes with its original invoice from the factory, which notes that this example was finished in red, but without black Boxer trim, over a black leather interior. There are also photographs of the car at the factory when it was delivered new in December 1983.
The first owner kept the car until August of 1989 when its second owner acquired it. He owned the car until December 2005, when its third owner purchased it with 15,539 kilometers. The car has regularly received major services (including belts) in February 2005, May 2007, October 2015, and August 2021. The most recent service also included 12 new injectors, rebuilt CIS fuel distributors and warmup regulators, and new fuel pumps, which, along with the major service, totaled more than $26,500.
Overall, this 512BBi presents as a well-preserved unrestored car that is not without flaws but still shows nicely throughout. The body panels are straight, fit, and operate well, while the paint appears to be largely original, with a few small marks that have been touched up over the years. The wheels are in very good shape, as are the spinners, and the tires are correct Michelin TRXs in a unique 240/55 VR415 size. Exterior trim is very nice throughout, as are the lights and glazing. The car has correct Cibié flat front headlamps and Cibié “airport” fog lamps. The overall impression of the car is of an honest, well-cared for low, mileage car that is aging gracefully.
The interior also appears to be substantially original, the seats have a nice, even patina with light wear on the driver’s seat back piping, and the various leather-trimmed items, such as the headliner and center console, are all in very good condition. The dashboard benefits from a recent re-covering in original specification black leather and was completed to a very high level, but does not look out of place with the original leather elsewhere in the cabin. The original Ferrari-branded Pioneer head unit, speakers, and equalizer are still in place, and the carpet remains in good condition.
The front compartment is also in very nice shape, with the spare cover present, as is the strap for the tool roll, which is affixed, complete, and in excellent shape. The inner fenders are in very nice original condition and show no signs of damage. Under the rear bonnet, the engine compartment is also very clean, in keeping with a well-cared-for largely unrestored car, but does benefit from refinished intake runners and manifolds, and the foam on the underside of the engine lid has also been replaced.
This is an outstanding opportunity to acquire a superb late-production example of one of Ferrari’s most important models. It is worth noting that BBi is noticeably faster than the Testarossa that replaced it, in addition to being arguably better looking and rarer. One thing that’s for sure is that the driving experience is wildly different from a Testarossa. While the Testarossa is civilized and nearly easy to drive, being most in its element as a comfortable long-distance tourer, the Boxer has an intense and hard edge that makes it much closer to the beastly character of a Countach or Miura. As a flagship Ferrari, it stands alone in that respect, and it demands a level of finesse from the driver that gives it a lot of appeal for the experienced driver.
This particular car has had just four owners, known history from new, and was federalized in an unobtrusive manner. Furthermore, it is very complete, beautifully preserved, well-documented, and has been fastidiously maintained, making this the ideal Boxer to get in and enjoy one of the greatest mid-engine 12-cylinder Ferrari driving experiences.