Sold for $1,540,000 at 2013 Gooding & Company. Mistaken identity is rarely a problem for any Ferrari with the classic black prancing horse emblazoned against a yellow background. However, not all examples to leave the factory in Maranello have left without a aura of mystery surrounding them.
Such mystery would surround chassis 0255 EU. While carrying the 0255 EU chassis number it also has 0227 EL stamped on the chassis. The reason for this was something of a mystery that would take years to solve.
One aspect that would be easily recognizable would be the fact 0255 EU would be one of just four cabriolet models built by Vignale for the 212 Europa chassis. The 212 Europa would be rare in its own right since the company was making plans to introduce the 250 GT. Therefore, 0255 EU certainly belongs in rarified air within Ferrari lore.
Chassis 0255 EU would be completed and delivered brand new in May of 1953. Its first owner would be Umberto Nuvoli of Rome. Before it would leave to be delivered to its owner 0255 EU would be photographed. The photograph would be taken on the 1st of June in 1953 and would later appear in Jonathan Thompson's book Ferrari Cabriolets & Spyders.
One year later, the 212 Europa would be at Renato Nocentini's Garage La Rotunda near Florence. It would then be sold and shipped to the United States where it would become the property of William Anthony, who lived in Los Angeles. The Europa Cabriolet wouldn't stay with Anthony, or any other owner, for very long. Then, in May of 1968, the car would be purchased by Dean and Joy Macari of Pleasanton, California.
With the Macari's, 0255 EU would find a stable ownership remaining with the family for a quarter of a century. During this period the car would be presented at a few events. The most famous of these would end up being the Ferrari Owner's Club Concours in Carmel Valley in 1984. It would be here that the car would be photographed and become a part of Marcel Massini's book Ferrari by Vignale.
In 1992, 0255 EU would be sold again. This time the owner would be Peter Hosmer who lived in New Hampshire. After a few years with Hosmer the car would leave the country as it would be purchased by Diego Ribadeneira. Ribadeneira lived in Ecuador but would end up driving the car in the 1997 Historic Tour Auto held in France. Later sold in 2000, the car would return to the United States as the property of San Diego resident John R. Queen.
Coming into Queen's possession, 0255 EU was intended for restoration. Suddenly, the mystery of the double stampings would present itself and a challenge awaited. The search for the answer was on, and this was no easy quest given the somewhat loose documentation known by Italian automotive firms of the period.
Experts Gerald Roush, Keith Bluemel and Antoine Prunet would all be consulted in the case, right along with the Ferrari factory itself. Roush had in his possession important build sheets that indicated changes. Then Prunet would suggest something that would end up making all the difference.
Chassis 0255 EU would actually be completed after chassis 0227 EL. Chassis 0255 EU would be initially for John McFadden. McFadden was English. It made sense then to make a car with right-hand drive. However, the Englishman resided in Paris and planned on driving the car throughout the European mainland.
McFadden would note the problem to the factory, but to change the car in the midst of production would have been costly, both in time and money. The solution then was to swap the car being produced with the next one coming down the line that was left-hand drive, this was 0255 EU. Therefore, 0255 EU would then be stamped with 0227 EL. The right-hand drive chassis would be stamped with 0255 EU.
The mystery solved, the restoration process would carry on. Despite the fact the car's restoration had not been completed, 0255 EU would make an appearance at the 2002 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. To be able to be judged, Queen would have the restoration completed. This work would be done over the course of years but the car would continue to take part in events like the California Mille and the Tour Auto. Queen would even enter the Mille Miglia Storica in 2005.
Following an engine rebuild in 2006 by Patrick Ottis the Europa Cabriolet would make an appearance at the 2007 Quail Motorsports Gathering and would end up a Platinum Award winner at the Cavallino Classic and the FCA Concours in Monterey that same year.
Finally earning its Ferrari Classiche certification in 2009, 0255 EU's authenticity and uniqueness is well documented and certified. Featuring matching numbers and highly original throughout, the 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa Cabriolet would be presented at the 2013 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction. Initially drawing estimates ranging from $1,350,000 to $1,650,000, the Europa Cabriolet would end up selling for a price of $1,540,000.
Sources: 'Lot No. 31: 1952 Ferrari 212 Europa Cabriolet', (http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1952-ferrari-212-europa-cabriolet/). Gooding & Company. http://www.goodingco.com/vehicle/1952-ferrari-212-europa-cabriolet/. Retrieved 2 September 2013.By Jeremy McMullen
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The 212 Inter was descended directly from the first Ferrari of just four years previous. Introduced in 1951, the 212 was the replacement for Ferrari's very successful 166 and 195 Inter GT vehicles. This was the eventual evolution of the 166, a sports car that would win international races, as well as being a road-worthy warrior. Sharing a similar chassis to the 125, the 212 had double wishbones in front and live axles in the rear. The final model of the Ferrari's firs series, the versatile V-12 was updated and enlarged to 2,562 cc.
Becoming the youngest winner of the Italian Grand Prix in 1950, Giannino Marzotto, age 22, and heir to a large textile factory wasn't afraid to inform Ferrari about the heaviness and lack of aerodynamics in his available vehicles. Ferrari Responding that his cars were the most efficient in the world, Marzotto set a challenge to improve upon the previous year's Ferrari.
Incorporating a whole new design that was based on the Ferrari 166 with a 212 engine, the low slung body with a rounded shape was built similar to an egg or ‘Uovo'. Builders at this time based their designs on 'optical intuition' rather than wind tunnels eventually used in auto racing. Marzotto called on the aid of coachbuilders Paolo Fontana and Sergio Reggiani of Padua to assist in his design.
Construction of the body of the Ferrari 212 began by utilizing braced box tubes that were covered with Puralumana.; which was a type of Duralumin that assisted in a weight savings of nearly 200lbs. Offering relief from window reflections that can be annoying, a steeply raked front windshield was designed. Unfortunately, during rainstorms and when speed was involved, the wipers lost contact with the windscreen rendering it useless. A result of the original radiator not being delivered in time, the tall radiator was put in place instead, and pushed the bonnet of the 212 to be 15cm higher than originally planned.
Following road-testing in nearby mountains, the Marzollo brothers next took their Uovo to Ferrari in Maranello. This meeting did not go as expected as Ferrari took offence at what he perceived as a challenge from a family of amateurs. Ferrari told the Marzotto brothers that would enter a car in Sicily driven by Taruffi to ‘defend the colors of the Cavallino', which only served to stiffen the resolve of the brothers.
During the 1951 Mille Miglia, Giannino brought his Uovo newly fitted with triple carburetors to boost the engine to 186 hp. This now improved aerodynamics and lightened the weight, making it able to match the overall speed of the larger cars. The main advantage that the Uovo had over other vehicles was its maneuverability.
Following the first 600 of 1600 kilometers at the Giro di Sicilia, Giannino opened a 10-minute lead over the entire field. Unfortunately, Marzotto had to withdraw from the race due to a loud drumming noise coming from the rear of the car. Fearing a frozen differential that might toss his vehicle into the Italian countryside, and himself into immortality, Marzotti withdrew from the race that was eventually won by Villoresi in of the of the 4.1s.
The Uovo reached victory at the following race, the Giro di Toscana. A return to the Mille Miglia was made in 1953 by Giannino Marzotto, as well as a victory driving one of the Ferrari 4.1s.
The Coachbuilders for the Ferrari 212 included such elite designers as Pinin Farina, Ghia, Vignale and Carrozzeria Touring. Similar to the 195, the 212 produced additional displacement over the 166 with a larger bore, this time to 68 mm.
The Ferrari 212 V12 continued in production until as late as 1953 and continued for a longer period than a 195. Compared to about 80 of the 212 Inter versions, around two dozen Export models were produced. A total of 15 Ferrari 212 Vignale Coupes were ever produced.By Jessica Donaldson
166, 195, and 212
The 166 Inter was powered by a 2-liter V12 engine and produced 115 horsepower. These were road cars and were given odd chassis numbers. The even chassis numbers were reserved for the vehicles that were intended for racing. The bodies of the Inter vehicles were mostly Berlinetta and Coupes. At first, Touring handled most of the road going body construction but it was not long before Vignale, Ghia, Pinin Farina and others were creating custom coachwork. The 166 Inter was mechanically similar to the racing versions; it was 25 horsepower shy of its racing sibling. The suspension was wishbones in the front and a live rear axle. The chassis was a simple steel tubular frame. A replacement was created in 1950 after around 40 examples of the 166 Inter were produced. The displacement of the engine was enlarged to just over 2.3 liters which resulted in a unitary displacement of 195cc. Thus, the 195 Inter came into existence. A year later, the engine was enlarged even further resulting in the 212 Inter. After a year of production and with only 142 examples being created, the production of the 212 Inter ceased.
The 212 Inter was intended for road use while the 212 Export was primarily constructed for competition. Ferrari produced the rolling chassis and a Carrozzeria, meaning coachbuilder, was given the task of constructing the body. Each body was hand built and often to customers specifications. Because of this, the dimensions, bodystyles, and features of the car vary from one to another. Many of the 212 Inter vehicles sat atop a 2600mm wheelbase chassis; some were on a shorter, 2500mm wheelbase. The 212 Exports were also built atop of a 2250 wheelbase.
Cars produced between 1952 and 1953 were given the 'EU' designation on their chassis. The ones that proceeded these were given chassis numbers ending in S, E, and EL. The 'E' represented Export while the 'L' represented Lungo. One special chassis carried the 'T' designation on its chassis plate.
Under the hood of the long and graceful bonnet was a Colombo designed V12 engine mounted at 60-degrees. The engine came in a variety of flavors and left up to the customers to chose. Standard was the single Weber 36 DCF carburetor which was capable of producing 150 horsepower. Triple Weber 32 DCF carburetors could be purchased which increased horsepower to an impressive 170. All versions came with the standard Ferrari five-speed non-synchromesh gearbox and hydraulic drum brakes.
In total there were 82 versions of the 212 Inter constructed. Vignale was given the task of creating 37 of these. Fifteen of his creations were coupes, seven were convertibles, and thirteen were in Berlinetta configuration. Ghia was tasked with constructing 15 coupes and one convertible. Touring clothed one coupe and six Berlinetta's. The English coachbuilder, Abbot, created a four-seat cabriolet which was not that pleasing to the eye. Pinin Farina created two convertibles and eleven coupes. Styling varied among each of these coachbuilders with some being heavily dictated by the customer's wishes. Most of the cars were elegant, with few flamboyant cues, and well-proportioned body lines. They were minimalistic with little chrome and rounded, smooth bodies.
The 212 was replaced by the 250 Europa in 1953 and Pinin Farina had become Enzo Ferrari's carrozzeria of choice. By Daniel Vaughan | Feb 2007
Following Alberto Ascaris back-to-back titles in 1952 and 1953 there have been no Italian Formula One World Champions. While there has been a great amount of hope throughout the years, Italians have...