Once described in a magazine as the world’s most beautiful Ferrari, the 212 was somewhat unfairly known in my neck of the woods as the world’s ugliest
Whatever the chosen medium, artists’ earliest works are always among their most desired and sought after. Artist-in-metal Enzo Ferrari is a case in point, all the more so because his first cars were bespoke, and differences between race winners and those built for road use were often minimal.
Introduced in 1951, the 212 Inter was directly descended from the very first Ferrari of just four years previous. For this, the final model of Ferrari’s first series, Gioacchino Colombo’s versatile V12 was enlarged to 2,562 cc, with a commensurate increase in maximum power to 150 hp in road trim. With a top speed of 120 mph, and race-bred handling, the tipo 212 was among the quickest road cars of its day.
Customers chose their own coachbuilder, many favoring the top Italian studio Touring of Milan, whose advanced Superleggera method of body construction combined lightness and strength in equal measure. The coachwork of chassis number 0215EL is clearly inspired by that of the Touring-bodied Le Mans cars of the period.
One of only 80 Ferrari 212 Inters made, the car on offer here was ordered new with a three-carburetor engine. It was sold by Jacques Swaters’ Garage Francorchamps to Belgian André Meert, who raced the car regularly, achieving a third place finish in the 1953 Coupe de Spa. Meert is known to have purchased a Ferrari 250 GT cabriolet in 1957, so it seems likely that he sold 0215EL at that time.
In 1968, the 212 Inter Berlinetta was sold to Dutch collector Paul F. Schouwenburg, who replaced the engine block following frost damage. By the early 1970s the car came to be owned by another well-known collector, Italian Adolfo Celli. By the end of the decade it passed into the hands of Angelo Gatti, and then to collector Guido Ferrari in Reggio Emilia. Throughout the 1980s the car made regular appearances in the Mille Miglia retrospective, the last being in 1989.
Finished in Rosso Corsa with unrestored black leather interior, 0215EL is presented in good cosmetic shape and excellent mechanical condition. This is a rare opportunity to acquire a most stylish, coachbuilt early Ferrari with competition history that is eligible for a wide range of prestigious historic motor sport events.