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Automobil Revue No. 20 of 19 May 2005

Ferrari 212 Export Vignale 1951-more than 50 years later

This-exactly this-212 export was the subject of the first ever media review of a Ferrari. Realised in June 1951 by the later editor-in-chief of the Automobile Revue.

Recently, we met the roadster again.

An automotive curriculum vitae.

No active member of the editorial team can remember the circumstances of the test on the Ferrari212 Export. Hansjörg Bendel, a member of the AR crew at the time, remembers it all the better.

And stories left by the later editor-in-chief Robert Braunschweig about the first test report published by a Ferrari are still circulating in the editorial office. To its readers< > revealed only this much in the test report of 13 June 1951:


Lines before that, the pipe smoker, known as pragmatically sober, had already been heavily raving, and he immediately apologised for it himself. <<Think about it:

A driving performance equivalent to that of a Bugatti 2.3-litre supercharged racing car, acceleration in fifth (fast) gear that surpasses the best pull in any gear of all production touring cars built today, steering that reminds one of a small car when parking, road holding that seems to defy centrifugal force when cornering, that seems to defy centrifugal force in the bends, a clutch and a gearbox that, after a brief instruction, no longer cause any problems even for a non-expert, brakes that work just as one would wish at 20 and 130 km/h - such a catalogue of virtues may explain why the otherwise so frowned-upon superlatives appear here>>.

To round off the positioning of the 212 from 1951, some measured values are added:

V max in the middle of four measurements187 km/h , 0 to 100 km/h in 10.9 s , consumption on average 19.3 L/100 Km, kerb weight 970 kg, sales price about 43000 francs, a lot of wood at that time.

Before the test, the 212 had never been driven properly, so the rev limit in the lower gears was not exhausted.

Fast Count

Ferrari delivered chassis 0090 E 12 March 1951 to the launch customer Count Umberto Marzotto. He had ordered a212 Spider (there was also a Vignale coupé with a hatchback) and requested a lowered compression ratio of 7.6 :1, which reduced the power from 160 to about 150 hp.

At Vignale, the car received its bodywork with the small windscreen, after which the Ferrari test boss handed over the light green/dark green painted roadster to the test team that had travelled from Bern; a varied car life began.

After the AR in May 1951, the 2.6-litre twelve-cylinder was also allowed to be driven by other journalists before the Count tackled the V. Coppa d'Oro delle Dolomiti on 15 July and finished eleventh with the road-legal <> - out of a total of 106 participants. On 23 September, the Aristrokat stood on the top of the podium with his 212 on the occasion of the twelfth Trieste-Opicina hill climb.

A year later, Marzotto lent his car to Bruno Venezianaus for the same event, as he had suffered axle damage with a Ferrari 166 MM Barchetta Touring. The car remained in the Marzotto family until 1956 and was entered, among others, by Contessa Gaea Pallavicini in the third Coppa delle Dame Como-Lieto-Colle (4th overall).

Atlantic crossings

After that, there were various changes of owner and location; via Bari and Modena, the two-seater reached Piedmont in California at the beginning of the 1960s and Sweden in 1968. In 1974, Thomas A. Oleson shipped his car, which had become a Post War Classic matured gem back across the pond for the First Annual Monterey Historic Race in Laguna Seca/California. The chronology gets gaps, but in 1989 the car is owned by a car dealer specialising in classics in California, and in the same year it is registered in Anaheim with the numbers . In 1990, the 212 by Vignale travels to Europe again and, with the Californian number plates, has to pass the Mille Miglia in the same year. Later, the Vignale Barchetta was sold there for 395,000 US dollars, shown at the IV Classic Concours d'Elégance in Palm Beach, Florida, in 1995 and finally entered again in the Mille Miglia in the same year with dealer plates.

Afterwards, a complete overhaul of the V12 OHC (one camshaft per cylinder bank) was carried out and the car was offered for sale for 650.000$. Further presentations across America followed, a total restoration in 1999, a sale to Jeffrey and Frances Fisher, who showed the Ferrari at Pebble Beach in 2002 and were able to add the title <> to the palmarès.

Because the current owner wanted to show his CEuvre at the Concours d'Elégance Villa d' Este on the weekend of 23/24 April, the reunion with <> happened in Fällanden, Zurich. After airfreight from New York to Paris and on the road (in a van) from there to Switzerland, the car was to be properly staged at Garage Wagner and photographed by Michel Zumbrunn for the catalogue.

Value enhancement

A small thing next to the stately Ferrari Superamerica and GT Coupés, which were also polished with Swizöl at Wagner and photographed at Zumbrunn, to then be led over the catwalk at Lago di Como. Mileage 6120; could fit under the condition that the petite has been moved unrecorded only rarely on its own axles. Condition newer than new. Instead of beige, the interior is green, perfectly matching the two-tone outfit. Instrumentation in - quote Brunswick-<>.

At the push of a button, the machine starts up. Shrill, wonderful, spontaneously revving, phenomenal for the machine, whose twelve cylinders are supplied by a single double downdraft carburettor, but with two ignition coils (on request, the 212 engine was available with three Weber downdraft carburettors).

According to Marcel Massini, a proven Ferrari specialist, the estimated value of the 212 Export is two million US dollars. A lot of money for a spartan two-seater with a rear leaf-sprung rigid axle, not little for an optimally restored gem from Maranello, but apparently realistic for a car that has crossed the Atlantic Ocean more times than the current President of the United States.

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