Ferrari built three of these cars 40 years ago and never used the engine again. If you blew it up, it would be a very long walk home

In an attempt to curb the ever-increasing speeds of Formula One, engine regulations were changed in 1961 to a maximum capacity of 1.5 liters. By the time more generous three-liter rules were established for 1966, manufacturers had designed some wonderful and potent small-capacity engines, which were mated to incredibly nimble chassis.
Ferrari's 1512 is regarded as technically without compare. It was the first flat-12 engine produced by Ferrari's engineer Mauro Fogheiri, an incredible exotic with 24 spark plugs, four distributors, four ignition coils, and fuel injection. Whilst power initially was not immense, the flat twelve had an incredibly low center of gravity, which made for significantly improved handling.
As the Coventry-Climax V8s of Jim Clark and others were gaining in horsepower over the 1964-65 seasons, what the 1512 really needed was more power. By the Grand Prix at Monza in September 1965, Ferrari introduced a significantly improved 1512 engine. New cylinder heads were made with altered port angles, and intake stacks were now angled slightly outwards instead of vertically. John Surtees put his upgraded Ferrari 1512 on the front row and enthused over the improvements. This car, chassis 0008, was piloted by Lorenzo Bandini, who came home in fourth place.
Only three Ferrari 1512s were ever constructed, and with no application following the 1965 season, they never evolved into other racing cars. Following withdrawal from service, S/N 0008 was purchased by Luigi Chinetti and was restored in Italy with the livery that NART had run at the end of 1964. It remained unused in Chinetti's collection until the early 1990s when bought by the current owner, who has preserved the car in an unused state since.
This wonderful 1512 is eligible for numerous historic racing events and is sure to attract the attention it warrants wherever it goes. In our opinion, it is one of the most significant Ferrari Formula One cars of all time.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1965 Ferrari 1512
Years Produced:1964 (1), 1965 (2)
Number Produced:3
Original List Price:never for sale
Tune Up Cost:$5,000
Distributor Caps:$600 (needs 4)
Chassis Number Location:Stamped on front bulkhead
Engine Number Location:Stamped on case
Club Info:Historic Grand Prix Cars Association 10 Gifford St., London, U.K.
Alternatives:1963 Lotus 25, 1964 BRM P261, 1965 Honda RA272
Investment Grade:A

This 1965 Ferrari 1512 sold for $1,115,000 at Christie’s Monterey auction, August 18, 2005.
I’m going to be really direct about this. I hope I’m wrong, but whoever bought this car didn’t buy it to drive. For all the beautiful, significant, and historic aspects that give this car value, viability as a vintage race car is not one of them. Most likely it’s going to sit in a collection, loved but undriven, admired for what it was, not what it is. The other possibility is that somewhere out there is a scrawny, quixotic little true believer with a huge checkbook and no aversion to risk. I’m not suggesting that it is less than a great car or collectible, it’s just not something a normal person could expect to drive.
Let’s start by talking about what it was and how it fits into racing history. The period spanned by the 1.5-liter formula (1961-65) was one of tremendous technical innovation and epic battles between Ferrari and the various British manufacturers, on the drawing boards as much as on the track. In 1961, Ferrari was utterly dominant, mostly because it had far and away the strongest engine. The Brits had not thought very far ahead and were stuck with a 1.5-liter variant on the Climax FPF four, while Ferrari had its Dino V6. In 1962, though, the Brits had two new V8s (Climax and BRM) to power the far more sophisticated chassis they had developed while dealing with poor horsepower. Faced with this new competition, the Ferraris suddenly looked old-fashioned, overweight, underpowered, and inadequate. They were all those things.
It was time for a change, and Ferrari got it in spades. Carlo Chiti and most of the racing top brass had departed to form ATS in late 1961, and Mauro Forghieri was given the racing department. He and his team started working on two new engines, a V8 (unusual for Ferrari, candidly chosen because the Brits were doing so well with them) and a flat twelve (after all, it was Ferrari). The final piece came together when John Surtees was hired to drive for 1963. More than an excellent driver, Surtees had a deep understanding of what his countrymen at Lotus, Cooper, and BRM had learned about chassis design. What emerged from the collaboration in the next three years was a series of very British-looking Ferrari F1 cars, the 156, 158, and 1512. The 156 was an interim car for 1963 and was developed into the 158 for 1964.
Aside from minor changes to accommodate the different engines, the 158 and 1512 chassis were the same and were entered interchangeably after the twelve was introduced in October of 1964. The twelve made more horsepower, but it did it all between 9,000 and 12,000 rpm, so it was more difficult to drive than the V8. Surtees preferred the V8, Bandini the twelve. Surtees won the world championship in 1964 in a 158 (admittedly because Bandini took out Graham Hill in the final race), while the 1512 was never really competitive until the last few races of 1965.
Okay, so we agree that it’s a cool car, beautiful, interesting, and significant. Why don’t I expect to ever see it run? There are a number of reasons. First, from the catalogue it’s apparent that the car hasn’t run in 40 years. The engine is an example of Italian watch-making technology (a dozen 125-cc cylinders, two-inch stroke, four cam-we’re talking delicate) and sitting for that long won’t have done it any favors. I’d expect to spend at least $100,000 to get the car running again. Second, somebody would have to drive it, and these cars were shrink-wrapped around 5’8″, 135-pound drivers. If you could afford this Ferrari 1512, your wallet bulge alone would keep you from fitting in the cockpit.
Looking past those issues, though, the real problem is how to keep it running. The basic rule is that things go bang on race cars-it’s inevitable-and when something breaks, where are you going to find parts? Ferrari built three of these cars 40 years ago and never used the engine again. If you blew it up, it would be a very long walk home.
It would be welcome to run anywhere, though. Ferrari F1 cars from that era are as rare as hen’s teeth because Ferrari routinely destroyed everything after the season ended. Though he was originally willing to sell old F1 cars, Ferrari had been fiercely criticized in the Italian press and had even come under pressure from the Vatican because of the number of people hurt driving them. Being very unsentimental, Ferrari resolved the issue by scrapping everything. The three 1512s were completely obsolete because of the new 3-liter formula and were spared.
Though it could be a revered entry in vintage racing, I think it’s best to think of the Ferrari 1512 as a sort of Fabergé egg. Its value is in its beauty, intricate construction, rarity, and inaccessibility, not in any practical, go-play-with-it sense. It’s not a race car any more; it’s a piece of art.

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