The Ferrari 212 marks a significant chapter in Ferrari's history, becoming the third car Ferrari made. It set new benchmarks for automotive engineering and speed during its time. Additionally, the Ferrari 212 positioned Ferrari as an icon of innovation, setting its place in automotive history as a phenomenal race car, one that Henry Ford had to get himself while, at the same time, being a coveted GT road car by anyone wealthy enough to get one. Yes, the Ferrari 212 was not cheap during production and certainly wouldn't be described as 'affordable' today since all units are valued at not less than $1,000,000. With Enzo Ferrari building the engines, various coachbuilders, such as world-renowned Pinin Farina, were tasked with making beautifully sculpted bodies. More than one coach builder made bodywork for the Ferrari F12, which is why too many variants exist today, all similar but different in some way. Some stand out from the rest due to factors such as their rarity and model, for example, the Ferrari 212s by Vignale. Initially, Alfredo Vignale caught the eye of Enzo Ferrari, and through his company, Alfredo Vignale made early units of the Ferrari 212, and all were unique. Today, Ferrari 212s by Vignale fetch some of the highest prices in the classic car market since not many were made. Ferrari made two variants of the Ferrari 212, a racing car and a road-going grand tourer. Both variants were made between 1951 and 1953 with Ferrari's high-revving 2.6-liter Colombo V12, which made between 148 and 162 horsepower, not a lot by today's standards but quite a lot for the 1950s.
Before devoting his life to building race cars and road-going sports cars, Enzo Ferrari worked at Alfa Romeo, where he left after disagreements over the company's racing department future. And before he worked at Alfa Romeo, Enzo had dedicated his life to becoming one of the best racing drivers of the early 90s. This is prior to bowing out of the racing scene in 1931 and becoming a race car engineer until 1939 when he parted ways with Alfa Romeo. However, part of his agreement with Alfa Romeo was that he couldn't build and design cars under his name, so Enzo and his newly founded Ferrari SpA did not manufacture cars until 1946, after World War II. The company's first cars were the Ferrari 125S and 159S, followed by the 166, 195, 275, and 340 Americana, from which the Ferrari 212 borrows a great deal. Production of the Ferrari 212 began in 1951 in Modena, Italy, the company's headquarters at the time. Like most of its predecessors, Ferrari built different variants of the 212, but there were only two this time. The first was the Ferrari 212 Export that Ferrari built as a race car, only making 27 units during the few months that the car was in production. On the other hand, the road-going version was built as a GT car with an almost similar body style badged as the Ferrari 212 Inter or Ferrari 212 Europa in some markets. Ferrari built more of the 212 Inter, with the production number estimated at 82 units.
While working at Alfa Romeo, Enzo Ferrari often rubbed shoulders with Gioacchino Colombo, whom he approached and asked to design a small V12 for his racing cars for when Ferrari would start making cars. Colombo would then set off to work immediately, and in 1947, the first Ferrari Colombo appeared. It was a V12 that Enzo then started utilizing immediately. By the time the Ferrari 212 came into production, displacement had been increased to 2.6 liters due to an increased bore and stroke. However, despite the 2.6-liter V12 being used in both Ferrari 212 variants, the power output in the 212 Export is higher as it uses three Weber 36 DCF carburetors compared to the 212 Inter's single Weber 36 DCF carburetor. Both cars have a 5-speed manual transmission. During production, power output in the Ferrari 212 Export was slightly higher at 162 (121kw) horsepower as it was purposely built for racing. Utilizing the same engine, the 212 Inter had 148 horsepower (110kw). As a result, the Ferrari 212 Inter has a lower top speed of 124mph (200kmh) compared to the 212 Export's 136mph (220kmh). Third-party sources indicate that a Ferrari F12 would average a combined fuel consumption of 18.4mpg, but that might be an estimate from when the car is new. Carbureted engines, like the 2.6-liter V12 used in the Ferrari 212, are known to consume more fuel due to an irregular fuel/air mixture, especially at higher RPMs, and it might just be the case in any Ferrari F12. Also, the 212 Export is more likely to have higher fuel consumption than the 212 Inter due to its triple-carbureted engine.
Classic cars, in this case, the Ferrari 212, are praised for having the best interiors at a time when functionality and every little detail matters. Sure, they may lack comfort and tech-oriented features, including air conditioning. Still, nothing beats the feeling of being connected to the road and being one with the car without too much sophistication. The Ferrari 212 Export has a stripped-out race car interior with only a steering wheel, two gauges, a few switches, two leather seats, and a gear shifter. Since it was meant to be a race car, that was more than enough, but Ferrari had to add extra back and hip support on the seats for when the Ferrari 212 could be raced on Italian Backroads or anywhere else for that matter. In contrast, being a GT car, the Ferrari Inter's interior is more comfort-oriented. Inside, you get well-bolstered leather seats and leather everywhere else Ferrari could layer it. There's leather on the dashboard and door cards; some units also have a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The door storage bins are also made from leather!
The first Ferrari 212 designs were made by Alfredo Vignale, who later inspired other coachbuilders, just to name a few: Carrozzeria Touring, Ghia, Abbott, Fontana, Ghia-Aigle, Vignale, Stabilimenti Farina, and Pinin Farina. Each coach builder built their unique version of the 212 Export and Inter, and when you compare a few units, you'll see each 212 has a distinct curvature. Some coachbuilders, such as Alfredo Vignale, even made each Ferrari 212 bespoke, meaning no two are similar. But however different, every Ferrari 212 showcases a high level of craftsmanship with a captivating design that makes it stand out amongst other classic cars. From its long hood to the gently sloping rear end, there's no angle too good to have enough on while admiring a Ferrari 212. The chrome accents adorning the body show how coachbuilders paid attention to detail when making each Ferrari 212.
Car-building technologies were not widespread in the 1950s, but Ferrari managed to put in their best work with the Ferrari 212. The Ferrari 212's chassis was constructed out of tubular steel to handle extra power from the 2.6-liter V12, and if you're wondering, 148 and 162 horsepower was a lot for 1950. Additionally, the tubular steel chassis had high strength and rigidity compared to older designs that Ferrari used in the Ferrari 212's predecessors. Each coachbuilder showcased their skills during the Ferrari 212's production, but it's evident that they all designed the car's lines and contours to be as aerodynamic as possible. Yes, aerodynamics was a thing in the 1950s. The Ferrari 212's sleek and aerodynamic silhouette features beautifully sculpted curves seamlessly blending into the car's body. The flowing lines from the front grille to the rear create a sense of dynamism even at a standstill. Ferrari introduced a twin-plug ignition system on the Ferrari 212 for maximum power output, fuel efficiency, and performance. It's a simple design that employs two spark plugs per cylinder, thus enhancing the engine's combustion efficiency.
The attention to detail on every inch of the Ferrari 212 is genuinely astonishing. Nothing about it would prevent collectors or car enthusiasts from having it in their collection. However, due to its rarity, finding one for sale is nearly impossible, and when you find one listed somewhere, it's usually at an auction and will most likely have a million-dollar reserve price. The lowest-selling Ferrari 212 was a 1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta, which sold for $792,000 in September 2022, and the highest-recorded Ferrari 212 sale was a 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Barchetta, sold for $3,900,000 in August 2023. Market insights estimate the average price for a Ferrari 212 at $1,700,000. If you're in the market for a Ferrari 212, you might just find one listed on Exotic Car Trader, so ensure you watch out for our Ferrari listings. Also, we list all sorts of classic cars, so give us a call if any of Exotic Car Trader's classic car listings entice you.
The Ferrari 212 stands as an emblem of Ferrari's early history, a testament to pioneering automotive engineering and speed in the 1950s. Not just a race car but a coveted grand tourer, it captured the essence of performance and luxury, attaining an elite status coveted by racing enthusiasts and affluent collectors. Today, the Ferrari 212 continues to command attention and awe, embodying nostalgia, luxury, and sophistication. Its enduring value and rarity make it a prized possession sought after by collectors fortunate enough to encounter this automotive legend.
Exotic Car Trader creates an exclusive and safe way of buying and selling cars, eliminating the daunting experiences of private selling for buyers and sellers. Every vehicle listed on Exotic Car Trader goes through a private seller verification process, ensuring legitimacy for our buyers. Also, Exotic Car Trader's car buying process is well outlined, with all fees and packages providing our buyers with a seamless and inclusive experience. We can handle the escrow of funds at no additional cost to the buyer and seller, and we also provide trade-in and financing options for buyers. For transaction safety, our Transactions Team is world-class and equipped with industry fraud detection tools to ensure a safe and secure transaction. These are just some of the benefits you enjoy when buying or selling on Exotic Car Trader. Contact us for listing services or to buy a car on Exotic Car Trader today.
Exotic Car Trader is the fastest growing marketplace built specifically for automotive enthusiasts. Click below to learn how you can sell your car with us.LEARN MORE