Of all the strange and bizarre concept cars to ever exist, the Ferrari 512S Modulo Concept is among the strangest and most bizarre. It looks like a car more suited for space exploration than traversing human roads, but now that it runs and is finally road legal, it can finally fulfill its destiny of baffling people on public streets instead of just in a museum somewhere.
The concept first showed its pointy face to the world during the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. It was designed by Italian designer Paolo Martin for Pininfarina to be a two-seater, mid-engine sports car with a 5.0-liter V12 engine from the Ferrari 512S race car.
That’s pretty cool and everything, but I’m absolutely nuts for the exterior of the thing. It doesn’t have any doors, so to get into and out of it, you slide the entire canopy forwards and backwards. It has these huge sills that you need to climb over. The interior is red. Red!
The entire reason why the Modulo runs at all is because American entrepreneur, film producer and car nut Jim Glickenhaus (the same Jim Glickenhaus behind Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus) bought it from Pininfarina in 2014 and spent four years restoring it. He kept it as original as possible and says that it runs cool but makes a tremendous amount of torque. There’s no power-steering, so at low speeds it’s a little tough to drive, but as speed increases, things get much better.
And because Glickenhaus did buy the car, Pininfarina put together an owner’s manual for him. It’s basically a book with pages from a printed-out PowerPoint that features a bunch of photos of white board drawings, probably done by some guy in Italy.
Glickenhaus mentioned that the car is indeed registered in New York—but as a “sedan” because no one knew how else to classify it. I guess “doorless two-seater” isn’t a body style that the DMV is familiar with yet.
It’s really great that Glickenhaus didn’t buy the car just to lock it away in a private collection somewhere. He’s fixed it up and registered it, which tells me that there is definitely an intent to drive it. Few cars these days can excite people quite like a wedge-shaped, cosmic Ferrari from the 1970s can. It ought to be shared with as many fans as possible.