The catalog description went into great detail about it being a fuel-injected car, but it was hard to mistake the four Webers

The mid-engined Lamborghini Miura brought Formula One chassis design to the street in the mid-1960s. Ferrari's response was the 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta Boxer, unveiled at the 1971 Turin Auto Show. The first road-going Ferrari not to have a V-configured engine, the Boxer had a four-cam, 4.4-liter flat-12 derived from Ferrari's 3-liter F1 engine. Steering was light, due to the mid-engine layout and a new rack-and-pinion system. The tubular monocoque chassis was clothed in Pininfarina's innovative and elegant coachwork.

A revised Boxer appeared in 1976, the 512 BB. Bore and stroke increases yielded 5 liters of displacement and the larger engine provided a useful increase in torque.

The third Boxer, the 512i, was launched at the fall 1981 Paris Salon with the arrival of fuel injection. Production ended in 1984, after 1,007 fuel-injected cars were built. Throughout its life, the Boxer was never officially imported or sold in the United States.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1980 Ferrari 512 Boxer
Years Produced:1974-84 (all types)
Number Produced:365 BB, 327; 512 BB, 927; 512 BBi, 1,007
Original List Price:$42,000 plus $10,000-$15,000 for DOT/EPA compliance
SCM Valuation:512 BB, $55,000-$72,500; 512 BBi, $60,000-$80,000
Tune Up Cost:$3,000; add $2,000 for timing belts
Distributor Caps:$300
Chassis Number Location:On frame tube in engine bay
Engine Number Location:Top of engine block
Alternatives:1985-1991 Ferrari Testarossa, 1966-1969 Lamborghini Miura, 1971-1980 Maserati Bora
Investment Grade:B

Road & Track tested a federalized 512 in 1978; 0-60 took 5.5 seconds. They marveled at its ability to keep accelerating, easily running the Boxer beyond 150 mph. “The 512,” they concluded, “is the best all-around Sports & GT car we have ever tested. it has it all: speed, handling, lovely shape, well-done cockpit and, most important, a reputation for reliability.”

At Monterey in August, Russo & Steele declared this Boxer sold for $76,680, including buyer’s premium. In today’s market, this was a strong price for a carbureted 512. Less than two weeks later, this same car was declared a no sale at Kruse’s Fall Auburn sale after a high bid of $71,000.

Boxer values tend to languish for a variety of reasons. First, despite the fuel injection on the last 1,007 cars, they were never certified to meet U.S. Department of Transportation or Environmental Protection Agency standards. Some cars made legal by aftermarket converters were butchered, while others were just snuck in to the U.S. and never converted. Ah, the magic of Alabama titles. Regardless, if you’re a buyer, the necessary paperwork from the feds is an absolute must.

Second, Boxers are true exotics with commensurate large repair bills if you buy a Berlinetta requiring an immediate major service. A engine-out tune-up and timing belt replacement can run over $5,000. Third, to further depress values, over 7,000 flat-12-powered Testarossas, the model that followed the Boxer, were produced. TRs have many refinements and can be bought cheaper. Finally, Boxer production totaled 2,314, which is 50% more than the Daytona and almost seven times that of the 275 GTB/4. Boxers are far from rare birds.

The 1980 512 Berlinetta shown here didn’t arrive at the Monterey auction preview until late afternoon on the day of the sale. It was driven in by a taciturn individual who handed over a thick notebook in response to questions from onlookers, then went to register. This accomplished, he collected the notebook and left. After that, what you saw was what you bought. There was no further information on the car and the catalog description went into great detail about it being a fuel-injected car, which it was obviously not. This was too early a serial number for an injected Boxer, and besides, its four Webers (looking freshly rebuilt) were hard to mistake for a Bosch K-Jetronic injection system.

Black with black interior, the car was good looking. Cosmetics appeared fine with the exception of the leather dash pulling away from the windshield, a common problem. (Cost to fix: about $1,500.) The paint was nice, but not buffed to show standards. Mileage was extra-low, only 4,832-seemingly too low for the visible pedal and seat wear. Wheels and tires were good, with wheel nuts replacing the standard knock-offs, as mandated by DOT. Impact beams appeared to have been added to the doors. The exhaust system looked original. The engine compartment sparkled and the car started and idled nicely.

With the SCM Price Guide’s estimated top value at $72,500, how do you justify $77k for this less-than-perfect Boxer? The seller’s notebook revealed the important information: DOT releases and EPA compliance data, and a thick sheaf of bills for recent services totaling over $15,000. Everything-and then some-that could be done on an engine-out major service seemed to have been done. (To verify that all the legalization has indeed been vetted, it’s a simple matter of getting the serial number and calling 202.366.5300. Tell the nice anonymous DOT answering machine the number and within a few days you will hear back from a knowledgeable DOT expert as to the status. Obviously, this is the kind of thing you need to do before bidding.)

In the case of 33287, the Boxer was imported through New York in 1985 and all the paperwork checked out. So this car appears to be a legal, maybe-low-mileage Boxer that has just had a complete service. With federalization homework done and service records examined, the $77k paid was a reasonable enough amount, especially when you consider this sale took place during the Monterey weekend, when nearly every car seems to go up about 20% in value.-John Apen

(Historical data courtesy of the author.)

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