The first test report published on a Ferrari - The fastest and most powerful of all production cars tested by Automobil Revue to date - Optimum road holding and elasticity
If ever an automobile deserved this name, it is this Ferrari sports car. Its open two-seater body is by Vignale and corresponds to the roadster built for the film stars Rossellini and Bergmann, which was exhibited at the last Geneva Salon. The picture shows the car on the Modena Autodrome.
Automobil Revue No. 20 of 19 May 2005
Former <> editor and test engineer Hansjörg Bendel was actively involved when the Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta Vignale was tested by AR on 16 May 1951. A rather hair-raising event occurred in the process. Let's let him tell it himself:
<<In 1951, the production of road-going Ferraris was still in its infancy in Maranello - annual production reached barely 100 units. At this stage of the company's development, there was no factory test track available:
In order to evaluate the performance, roadholding, handling and braking characteristics of both the racing cars under development and the customer cars, the chief engineer at the time, Aurelio Lampredi, had to carry out extensive road tests, partly on the road network in the vicinity of Maranello and also regularly on rented race tracks. Stopwatches and other measuring instruments had to be carried on board.
It was common practice to use two staff members who alternately piloted and operated the measuring devices - this classic solution, so to speak, was also used by the AR test team.
Robert Braunschweig succeeded (not least because he brought the 212 buyer, Hans-Karl von Tscharner from Berne, with him to Maranello) in getting Enzo Ferrari's approval for a test that eventually went down in automotive history as the world's first ever independent long-distance test of a customer Ferrari.
We had invited the English journalist Gordon Wilkins to the measurement runs, which gave him the opportunity to write an experience report for. Wilkins and I took turns driving and operating the measuring instruments. After registering the most important results, including a representative consumption figure, the top speed still had to be determined, which required as long a straight as possible. There was no autostrada in the vicinity at that time, but the sympathetic boss of the test, Signor d'Angelo, recommended an alternative that he had already used several times: between Modena and Maranello there was a sufficiently long straight, but from two intersections where he himself and one of his colleagues would post up and stop vulnerable cross-traffic.
No sooner said than done: the two sat down on the rear of the Barchetta and I deposited them in the positions d'Angelo wanted. The first full throttle drive was completed without any problems - however, I noticed that the younger of the two crossing guards was cheering me on full of Italian enthusiasm with the arm movements typical of via, via! typical arm movements. As expected, he did the same on the second full throttle ride in the opposite direction. In doing so, he overlooked an elderly cyclist pedalling slowly and calmly across the junction, which I just managed to avoid through a combination of emergency braking, swerving and the assistance of a guardian angel. It was a close call, the not even a metre, and what d'Angelo told his co-worker later I didn't even want to know...>>
12 cyl. in V 60° (68×58.8 mm),2562 cc, compr.8.4:1, 170hp at 7000/min, 66hp/L;21 mkg at 5250/min.
Valves in V, 1 overhead camshaft each (chain), oil capacity 8 litres, oil cooler, 3 Weber downdraft carburettors Weber36 DCF/3 or 1 double downdraft carburettor, 2 mechanical fuel pumps, air filter, spark plugs Champion NA 12, 14mm, firing order 1-7-5-11-3-9-12-6-8-2-10-4, electric system Marelli12V, dynamo 150 W, battery 50 Ah, water cooling (pump and thermostat),radiator capacity 13,5 L.
One-piece dry clutch, normal 5-speed gearbox, 5th gear as fast gear, 3rd and 4th gear synchronous, 2nd and 5th gear silent, gear lever in the middle, one-piece cardan shaft, spiral toothed axle drive, axle ratio 4.66:1 (9/42), on request 8/42 or 10/40.
(with axle reduction 4.66:1) I.11,23:1, II.8,11:1, III.5,92:1, IV.4,66:1, V.4,28:1, R13,98:1.
Elliptic tubular frame, independent front suspension with trapezoidal triangular wishbone and transverse leaf spring, rigid rear axle with semi-elliptic springs, reaction triangle, front and rear hydraulic piston shock absorbers, hydraulic foot brake. Total brake capacity 1344cm², mechanical handbrake on rear wheels, steering with worm gear and sector, fuel tank capacity 150 L, tyres 5.50-16.
Dimensions and weight
Wheelbase 225 cm, front track 127.8 cm, rear track 125 cm, length 385 cm, width 145 cm, height 138 cm, ground clearance 17 cm, turning circle 10 m, unladen weight 970 kg.
Driving performance (factory data)
Petrol consumption 18 L/100 km, top speed 190-250 km/h, power weight approx. 4.7 kg/hp, theor. speed in dir. gear at 1000 rpm (rear axle 4.66:1) 28.4km/h. Gear at 1000 rpm (rear axle 4.66:1) 28.4 km/h.
*from AR catalogue number 1952