Total Production: 79
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