1951 Ferrari 212 MM

Ferrari introduced their first car in 1947 powered by a V12 engine that offered less than 1500cc. It was designed by Gioachino Colombo and was commonly known as the 'short block' or 'Colombo.' Over the years the engine would be enlarged until its displacement size was nearly doubled in the early 1950s. It would serve the Ferrari Company for many years, even powering the 250 GT road and racing cars.

As the engine increased, the name of Ferrari's cars was changed to reflect to modifications. The 166 MM was succeeded by the 195 S, which was followed by the 212. The names of the cars were in reference to the unitary displacement of the engine. The V12 engine used in the 212 was bored out to 68mm and achieved a 2562cc displacement. Only one Weber carburetor was used but was good enough to produce about 130 horsepower and a top speed of 120 mph. The Export version received three Weber carburetors and produced about 150 hp and saw a top speed of about 140 mph.

In 1952 modified cylinder heads were incorporated which produced another 5 hp.

A little over 12 Export versions were produced while production numbers for the Inter (road) version was around 80.

The first 212 produced was known by the factory as a 212 MM. It has a single carburetor engine which was soon upgraded with triple Webers, which would become standard on the 212 Export. The car was clothed with a Berlinetta body and built by Vignale. Its first owner was Franco Cornacchia and its first race was at the 1951 Coppa InterEuropa at Monza where Luigi Villoresi drove it to a victorious debut. This was followed by another victory in the Lecco-Balbo race driven by Cornacchia.

The car was involved in an accident during the Stella Alpina race and was sent back to Vignale for repairs. It was given a 1952 style body which featured an updated grille and three portholes were added to the front fenders. The car continued to compete in races, driven by Cornacchia, in both international and local events.

In September of 1952, the car was sold and it would continue to race until the mid-1950s. After selling to various owners and collectors, it was acquired by its current US-based owner in the mid-1990s.


by Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2013

Vehicle Profiles

1951 Ferrari 212 MM vehicle information

Berlinetta
Coachwork: Vignale

Chassis Num: 0070M

Ferrari's first production racing car, the 166MM, evolved into the 195 Sport and then the 212 Export. The 212 series were built between late 1950 and 1953 as both Inter road cars and Export competition models. This 212 Berlinetta was built for the 19....[continue reading]

Berlinetta by Vignale
Chassis #: 0070M 

History

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

Concepts by Ferrari



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