HomePick of the DayPick of the Day: 1983 Ferrari 512 BBi, a Boxer that’s...

Pick of the Day: 1983 Ferrari 512 BBi, a Boxer that’s ready to rumble

The Flat 12 powered supercar competed with the fellow-Italian Lamborghini Countach


The late 1970s and 1980s was an amazing time to be a car enthusiast. Things were changing in the car world and that period saw the beginnings of the exotic-car era, led by Lamborghini and Ferrari. 

Reading Road & Track magazine during that period was basically looking at the Sears Christmas Wish Book catalog, with cars from Italy and Germany tested on a monthly basis. This was the era that brought us the Lamborghini Countach, the Porsche 930, and a car that is both my all-time personal favorite and the Pick of the Day, a 1983 Ferrari 512 Boxer


The 512 Boxer was developed by Ferrari to compete with the Countach. Before the mid-engine 365 and 512 Boxers were introduced, all top-spec roadgoing Ferraris were front-engine cars. With Lamborghini’s introduction of the Miura and their follow-up with the groundbreaking Countach, Ferrari was caught flat footed.

The upstarts at Lamborghini saw the future first and gave us our first 12-cylinder mid-engine super sports cars, and ushered in the exotic-car era with a bullet.

The first Ferrari 12-cylinder road car with the engine behind the driver was the 365GT/4 BB. The BB stood for Berlinetta Boxer which meant it was a hardtop car with a flat 12, or “boxer” engine. That car was replaced in 1976 with the 512 Boxer which had a number of improvements including more stylish taillight assemblies and, more importantly, and engine that was enlarged from 4.4 liters to 5.0 liters.

The engine enlargement was largely due to the need to cope with more-aggressive emissions requirements while keeping performance up, but the Ferrari 512 Boxer was not slow even by today’s standards, with a top speed in excess of 170 mph. Very few cars could compete with it.

The look of the Ferrari 512 Boxer is one of Pininfarina’s best designs of the ‘70s and ‘80s, with a dramatic clamshell front and rear.

According to the Farmingdale, New York, dealer advertising the Ferrari on, this 512 BBi is one of only 1,007 examples produced before it was replaced by the Testarossa. The car is said to have been imported from Europe and delivered to New England. From there it was sold to New York.

The Ferrari is in pristine original condition, the seller says, having covered only 24,752 kilometers (about 15,800 miles) from new.


The 512 Boxer is a car from the golden age of the exotic car and is the stuff dreams were made of when I was in my teens. This Ferrari is offered for $314,900, which is a market-correct price for such an excellent, all-original example.

To view this vehicle on, see Pick of the Day

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


  1. I vividly remember how in my late teens (‘82-‘84) we would see 308 GTBs around LA all the time and fantasize about them. But they we almost common in LA. Then we’d see BB now and then, and it would stop the conversation. It seemed like perfection. Even the name Berlinetta Boxer told you it was special.

    I’m just a working man with a couple of nice cars in my garage. A car like this is unattainable for most of us. But I love seeing these.

  2. Designed, as the 365 GT/4 BB (that replaced the 365 GTB4, and this one is the V12), aim to rival the Lamborghini Miura and, only later, the Lamborghini Countach. Came with a flat-4 12 cylinder, 4.4-litre engine.
    The 365 GT4 BB was updated as the BB 512 in 1976. The Pininfarina coachwork differed only slightly from the previous model in certain details which not only made it look even more elegant but also helped improve engine cooling.
    Fitted a flat-twelve engine was mounted longitudinally.


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