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SLIDER: 1951 Ferrari 212 Export

We especially like this Slider because it shows an early Ferrari being properly exercised – in this case at Silverstone.

This is chassis 0088E, the first of four Ferrari 212 Exports clothed by Touring with a Berlinetta body. It was sold to gentleman racer Augusto Caraceni, heir to the Caraceni fashion company, whose suits were worn by some very stylish people – not least Gianni Agnelli, Enzo Ferrari and Humphrey Bogart. In September of 1951, Caraceni finished second in class and fifth overall in the Stella Alpina Hillclimb.  The car was then sold to another amateur racing driver, Count Antonio Naselli, who raced it in the 1952 Giro di Sicilia and also returned to the Stella Alpina Hillclimb. Since a very expensive restoration was completed between 2008 and 2014, the car has rarely been seen, but is clearly not simply a concours queen.

As with all early Ferraris, the key lies in the engine.  Gioacchino Colombo’s single-overhead-cam-per-bank V12 was originally designed as early as 1946, and was gradually increased from a tiny 1,497cc in the 125S up to the 4,943cc unit, much modified, in the 1986 412i.

For the 212, the engine had grown to 2,562cc, with an output in sports racing form of around 175bhp at 6,500 rpm, fed by three Webers.  Interestingly, we find that these cars had non-synchromesh 5-speed gearboxes. 28 Exports were built, most of them for racing, with a shorter wheelbase than the 212 Inter grand tourer.

Were they successful in period?  Well, in 1951, 212 Exports took the first three places in the Tour de France event and won the Giro di Sicilia and the Giro di Toscana motor races.  You judge.

Photo courtesy of Peter McFadyen. See his website: http://petermcfadyen.co.uk


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