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June 9th, 2017

Motorsport movies are always few and far between. Just like the latest big-screen racing epic was the movie Rush, Steve McQueen, a hardcore motorsport fan, had dedicated his time and efforts into creating the movie “Le Mans”. The 1971 film is till date, one of the most elaborate big-screen documentation of the historic 24-hour endurance race, in which this very 1970 Ferrari 512S was used.

Maranello’s endurance racer, the Chassis 1004 Ferrari 512S was build by Scuderia Ferrari engineer Mauro Forghieri in just three months time before the start of the 1970 World Endurance Championship. It features an all-alloy 5-litre V12 mounted inside a tubular spaceframe that was based on the Ferrari P4 and the 612. The bodywork of the 1970 Ferrari 512S was made from lightweight polycarbonate materials, designed by Giacomo Caliri. The car is currently available for sale with Girardo & Co. with a proper Ferrari Classiche Certificate of Authenticity that confirms the car’s chassic no. 1004, engine no. 26 and gearbox no. 12.

Images via Girardo & Co.

When you picture cars used in movies, they are generally cars taken right off the production line and put to work on movie sets. Cars used in movies can also be made just for the shoot, with the exterior resembling a particular model. It is very rare that you will actually see a race-car being used in a movie for racing action. One such rare gem was the Ferrari 512S used in the ‘LeMans’ movie featuring Steve McQueen. Originally with chassis number 1004, which was later converted into 1024, this particular car was used for the famous crash sequence in the movie.

Taking a walk back in time, this iconic Ferrari 512S was driven by John Surtees and Peter Schetty bearing racing number ‘2’ and participated in the 1970’s 1000km di Monza endurance race. John Surtees and Peter Schetty headed into the 174 lap race day lined up 6th on the grid. After having a spectacular first lap, which saw Surtees taking the lead, the ‘number 2’ Ferrari 512S led the race till the team pitted on lap 35 for refuelling. The next round of pit stops saw all three Ferrari race-cars making a dash for the pits at the same time. As a result of which, Surtees lost considerable amount of time. Although the legend that he was behind the wheel, Surtees swiftly to made up places in the next part of the race and finally finished the race in 3rd position.

After completing its endurance racing duties, this particular Ferrari 512S bearing the chassis number 1004 was used by for testing in Monza and Modena Autodrome. The car’s chassis number was changed to 1024, the engine and gearbox had been removed and it was sold to Jacques Swaters of Garage Francorchamps as a rolling chassis. Within just a month of being sold to Jacques Swaters, the car was then sold to movie production house, Solar Productions, owned by Steve McQueen. Thereafter, with the idea of using the car in the movie’s enthralling car crash sequence, necessary modifications were made, such as, the front and the rear end of the body was attached to a Lola T70 and crafted further to make it look like the Ferrari 512S race-car.

While the car passed through quite a few hands of various collectors, finally it went under the ownership of Manfred Lampe. The car was then sent to Ferrari in the United Kingdom for its restoration. They started its restoration in the year 1991 but parts were hard to come by, however, the Albert Obrist Christies auction at Goodwood in 1996 was a blessing as majority of the spares for the Ferrari 512S restoration were purchased there and the car was completely restored before the end of 1996.


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