1976 - 1981 Ferrari 512 BB

1976 - 1981 Ferrari 512 BB High Resolution Exterior
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The shape is so familiar, so iconic, so quintessentially "Ferrari" for enthusiasts who grew up in the 1980s that it’s hard to believe that the Ferrari 512BB actually had a bit of a struggle to make it into production. A mid-engine layout is practically standard equipment on modern supercars, but Enzo Ferrari wasn’t always sold on the concept for road cars.The opinionated leader of the company believed that the cars would be too difficult for owners to drive safely, in spite of the on-track benefits of the design.

Still, the idea of a roadgoing car that shared the horizontally opposed engines and mid-engine layout of racing Ferraris was too tempting to pass up. The car did go into production, in the end, and the first Berlinetta Boxer hit the streets in 1973 as the 365 GT4 BB. The car was a dramatic departure from Ferrari’s front-engined cars, and effectively set the tone for Ferrari’s most iconic vehicles through the 1990s. In 1976, a round of styling and mechanical updates renamed the car 512 BB. The name change came courtesy of a larger, 5.0-liter 12-cylinder engine and conveniently shared the name with a classic Ferrari race car.

This was adequate, as the 512 BB was a genuine supercar. It offered race-bred dynamics, stunning looks and a top speed of nearly 200 mph. The car got worldwide attention in spite of never being officially imported to North America, and squared off successfully against the world’s supercars until 1985, when it was succeeded by the even more extreme Testarossa.

 

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