In November 1971, Ferrari unveiled at the International Exhibition in Turin a Pininfarina prototype called the Ferrari BB Berlinetta Boxer. The style reflected the design of the Dino 246 GT with fewer curves. The engine was very similar to that of the famous 312B and 312P, with a displacement of 4.4 liters, the same as the Daytona’s. Two years later, a production Boxer was introduced at the Paris Salon of 1973.

The car on offer is being sold by its second owner. The black leather interior was restored by Luppi in Italy. It is equipped with a period Voxson radio and cassette and its original leather pouch containing the warranty booklet, the owner’s manual and assistance card. This is a very nice example in a most elegant color combination.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1974 Ferrari 365 GT4 BB
Number Produced:367
Original List Price:$35,000, plus an additional $10,000 for DOT/EPA compliance
Tune Up Cost:$8,000 for engine-out service with belts
Chassis Number Location:On frame tube in engine bay
Engine Number Location:Top of block
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America

This car, Lot 155, sold for $199,064, including buyer’s premium, at Artcurial’s Le Mans auction on July 7, 2012.

A couple of minor manufacturers produced mid-engine cars in the 1960s, but it took Lamborghini’s Miura for the configuration to gain legitimacy as a viable production sports car.

In 1965, Lamborghini had been building cars for about a year, and a group of their young engineers came up with the idea to transversely mount their 12-cylinder engine in a mid-engine chassis as a way to attract attention at an auto show. The concept was so popular that 10 orders were taken on the spot. Over the next few months, Bertone designed and produced an outrageously exotic body for the chassis — and the Miura put Lamborghini on the map.

Ferrari was racing mid-engine Formula and sports cars in the early 1960s, but Enzo Ferrari felt uncomfortable putting customers in mid-engine road cars. He reluctantly agreed to build a mid-engine car — but only if it was a 6-cylinder model. In 1967, the 206 Dino, Ferrari’s first mid-engine production car, was introduced.

Ferrari’s response to Lamborghini’s incredible Miura and Maserati’s impressive Bora was the 365 GTB/4 “Daytona,” which was a formidable car — but also another front-engine 12. Soon the writing was on the wall, as the motoring press and the public thought the Daytona was yesterday’s technology. They wanted a mid-engine 12, and Ferrari finally obliged.

The 365 Berlinetta Boxer concept was shown in 1971, and by 1974 the first cars were delivered.

The rarest of three versions

There are three versions of the Boxer: the 365 GT4 BB, 512 BB, and the 512 BBi. The 365 was the first Boxer, and with only 367 built, it is the rarest. The 365 featured a 360-hp, 4.4-liter boxer engine with three 4-barrel Weber carburetors.

The 512 BB has a 340-hp, 5-liter boxer engine, again with three 4-barrel Webers. There were 929 carbureted 512s built. The 512 BBi was the final Boxer. The BBi featured the 5-liter boxer engine — but with Bosch fuel injection replacing the Webers. 1,007 examples of the 512 BBi were built. The total number of Boxers is a small number by today’s Ferrari production standards — but is a flood of cars in the world of serious collector cars.

The 365s have a single-disc clutch and wet-sump lubrication. The 512s have a dual-disc clutch with dry sump lubrication. The 365s are easily distinguished from a 512. The 365 does not have a chin spoiler, it has three taillights per side where the 512 has just two, and the original 365 mufflers have three small exhaust tips per side, while the 512 has two large ones.

Among other things, the 512s have NACA ducts in front of the rear wheels, which sets them apart from the 365s.

Steep maintenance hurts values

Boxer owners are always lamenting why Boxers aren’t worth more, ignoring that there are only a handful of post-1975 cars that are worth more than they were new.

All decent Boxers are worth more than they sold for when new, and some of them are worth more than twice what they sold for new. Many Boxers are preserved in collector condition. It just isn’t hard to find a great Boxer, so buyers don’t need to pay up for one.

Boxers also eat money without moving. They require expensive engine-out belt service every five or so years, which can run as much as 10% of the value of the car. Late Boxers have Michelin TRX tires which, if you can find them, run about $2,000 per set. Rather than lamenting the value of their Boxers, owners should be thankful they are worth as much as they are.

In the hierarchy of Boxer values, the 365s lead the pack. The carbureted 512s are in the middle and the BBis trail behind. The 365 Boxers have a reputation for being faster than the 512s, but that’s only partially true. The 512s have more torque and are a little faster getting to 60 mph. The 365 Boxers are geared quite high. They are slow getting off the line, but they explode to life at around 30 mph. The 512 is a better all-around car, but the rawness and exclusivity of the 365 gives it a 50% to 100% value premium over a BBi.

Buyer and seller both win

Artcurial’s Boxer is a 365 model. It was described as being a two-owner example in excellent condition. The mileage was reported to be around 17,500 miles. It was complete with briefcase-style tool kit and a complete owner’s pouch.

The color combination is attractive — but not a first choice. There is no mention of a service, which is a bad sign on a car that has to have an engine-out belt change. Also, it was noted that the car had a new interior, which is quite suspicious with a 17,000-mile car.

SCM’s Platinum Auction Database shows 2011 high sales of $211,000 and $220,000. SCM’s Pocket Price Guide values 365 Boxers at $167,500 to $237,500.

Europeans usually pay up for higher-performance models, and this car should have rung the bell. The sale price of 160,800 euro converts to roughly $199,064, which at first glance appears a little short.

The euro has taken quite a beating lately, and a fairer comparison would be to use an older conversion rate. Converting the result at July 2011 rates would show a sale of $229,000, which is right on the money.

Ferraris are a world currency. They flow to where the economy is good and currency is strong. The Artcurial Boxer sold for a high price in euro, but it is a good value in dollars. After several years of Europeans raiding U.S. cars, it looks like the tables have turned. Reports from European auctions indicate that Americans are buying some of the big cars. It doesn’t look like the European economy is going to recover soon, so the trend will continue.

It may be a good time to go shopping for Ferraris in Europe.

Artcurial’s Boxer sold right at high estimate. The result was indicative of a great low-mile car put before an international audience. The buyer overpaid if the service wasn’t done — but not by much. The seller got all the money. Both sides came out fine, and I call this one a draw. ?
(Introductory description courtesy of Artcurial.)

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