Mike Tyson's career is notable for his unapologetic brutality and, later, his Alcoholic's Anonymous advertisement-worthy facial tattoo. Today, Nice Price or Crack Pipe has a Boxer that's almost as ferocious as Mikey, but is as beautiful as Tyson is fugly.
From the comments yesterday, I take it not everybody knew just exactly what a VW Rallye Golf was. Those of you who did took umbrage with the replacement of the G60 with the narrow-angle VR6, despite the latter providing twice the horsepower. The 53% Crack Pipe vote was as narrow as that engine, owing much to the particular voters predilections, and there's little doubt the seller will find a buyer among the rabid VW fanatiker. Today, we have a candidate that has also had some post-factory modifications, made necessary by its first owner's desire for using the car to r-o-c-k in the U.S.A..
When Ferrari introduced the 365GT4 BB in 1973, it was in answer to Lamborghini's stunning Miura, as well as an alternative to Alitalia for covering long distances in as short a time as possible. BB stood for Berlinetta Boxer- Berlinetta meaning closed coupe, and Boxer referring to the 180° flat-12 engine sitting aft of the cockpit. Enzo Ferrari had opposed the mid-engine placement for his road cars in the fear that the company's playboy customers would be unused to the handling characteristics, and the resultant crashes would be bad for repeat business. He acquiesced after the six-packing Dino failed to kill in huge numbers, but the early wet-sump cars display some of the quirkiest handling of all the BBs.
Representing both a displacement-enlarging update, as well as a change in model nomenclature, 1976 saw the introduction of the 512 BB. Instead of using a single cylinder's displacement as was done previously, the new name denoted both overall engine size, and cylinder count- in this case 5-litres (4,942-cc) and 12 cylinders. That 12 sits longitudinally in the mid-section of the car, and, as in Ferrari's F1 cars, above the 5-speed gearbox. Dry sump lubrication in this model helps lower the CG, although contemporary drivers still complained of ragged-edge oversteer.
A final model change to 512i replaced the quartet of Webers atop the engine with Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection. That combination was good for 340-bhp at 7,000 rpm, and pushed the voluptuous Pininfarina-designed coupe to a top speed of nearly 180-mph. While you would be fortunate to be able to test that limit, the car is engaging even at a standstill as it is quite stunning, and you may recall the owner who got in dutch with his neighbors over a bridge that allowed him to park his 512 in his living room so that he might gaze upon it at his leisure.
This 1984 example is one of 1,007 produced, and expresses the exuberant excess of the 1970s in a manner only it, and the Lambo Countach can. Appropriately red over black, and carrying 49-state papers, it looks like a 308 on steroids. The interior is in good shape, although the lego building block gauges and strewn with indifference, fiat-sourced switchgear show how far Ferraris of today have come.
The wide angle of the engine (it's not really a boxer, it's a 180° V12) wasn't the only departure from precedent when it debuted. Unlike the older engines, which used chains to drive the overhead cams, the boxer uses belts- long, short-lived, expensive belts. The seller, in this instance, has the maintenance history, and a belt change was performed two years ago, indicating that it will soon again be due. The rule of thumb with 308s is five years or five thousand miles, whichever comes first. With the BB, especially one that doesn't get much exercise (this car has 18,670 miles), you should consider doing the belts with greater frequency, as destroying a Ferrari twelve, while not only life-changingly expensive, is also akin to insulting a gypsy in most cultures, and would not bode well for the perpetrator.
While yesterday's VW was dunned for lacking originality, this 512i is the real deal down to its factory release papers and metric wheels and tires. The tool kit, which inexplicably contains an oil filter wrench - as thought you might choose to replace all 16 quarts and spin on a new filter while cruising down the Autostrada -retains its original pouch.
The precedent 365GTB/4 Daytonas are now going for astronomical prices, and the successor Tesstarossa, while more modern in every way, lacks the raw emotive power and Bar Rafaeli good looks, which is why they command so little these days. The 512i BB - never brought to the U.S. except through that market that is neither black nor white - is presently in a sweet spot, not yet fully canonized and with the resultant south of nose bleed territory pricing. Plus it's still seen as a car to be desired, and by all rights a real Ferrari. The seller thinks this car is worth $115,000 for you to make it the centerpiece of your living space, and potentially an investment in future appreciation.
But what about that price? Sure, for around the same cost you could buy a more modern V8-engined prancing horse and enjoy even higher levels of performance. But it wouldn't have the same 12-cylinder growl. Nor would its visage necessarily be worthy of hours of quiet contemplation over a glass of fine scotch. Finally, the value of that high-strung eight probably won't be on the rise for a decade or more, while the boxer, as noted, is ascendant.
So, would you drop a cool $115,000 for the chance to park a BB in your living room? Or, does the cost, and the fact that it would clash with your beige Barcaloungers, limit your redecorating budget to just the neon PBR sign and milk crate bokcase?