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M Staff


March 29th, 2016

Evocative is a term we often hear in deeper circles, spoken with passion and more often than not, with unbridled emotion. A superlative uses for the rarest of rare, priceless objects that come with history, with legacy; objects that tell tales of their rich legacy. This here is a continuation of the evocative automobiles, often unheard of and sadly lost in time but some survive the test of time like the Ferrari 512 BB Ex Ecurie Francorchamps.

This story has a hero and his name is Jacques Swatter. Racing driver, Racing team owner and one of the most avid collectors of Ferrari, Swatter was also Belgium’s Ferrari Concessionaire or dealer to put it in mild terms.

It all started in 1964 when Swatter decided to get into Motorsports. Swaters owned two teams – Ecurie Francorchamps and Ecurie Nationale Belge of which Ecurie Francorchamps was a formidable team known for racing some of the greatest Ferrari racecars of all time, with occasional class wins like the 1965 24 Heures du Mans. The teams went on to represent the Italian marquee in the late 70’s during which time the Ferrari 512 BB or Boxer Berlinettas came into existence. The 512BB was essentially an updated 365 GT4 BB with the name coming from the upgraded engine which was now a 5.0-litre and 12 cylinders.

1978 Ferrari 512 BB Front Left Quarters

The 512BB was built with comprehensive mechanical components and bodywork modifications. The 5.0-litre flat-12 engine received a Lucas mechanical fuel injection and Marelli electronic ignition and made considerably more power than 360bhp of the original. The bodywork featured an experimental Formula One shaped front spoiler which sat on the rear engine cover. Backed by the Ferrari competition department, four Boxer Berlinettas and a 365 GT4B took part in the 1978 Le Mans race which was being dominated by Porsche and Renault. Out of the four was the 512 BB, then in race number 85 and driven by Jean Blaton, Pilette and Touroul. The car qualified in 21st position but unfortunately did not complete the race due to gearbox issues. The next year, Belgian Ennio Gianaroli bought it at raced it at various Ferrari club meets. Over the next few decades the Ferrari 512 BB led an active racing lifestyle and moved between quite a few collectors before ending up in Germany where it underwent a complete restoration. It has participated in many Le Mans classic races and consequently been lauded with recognition.

The best part. It us up for sale by its current owner who also has a history file which includes photos from its original races. Like many this rare Ferrari embodies the beauty of an era gone by. Timeless perfection.

Note- The 1978 Ferrari 512 BB Ex Ecurie Francorchamps is currently on sale at Fiskens fine art automobiles. Those with deep pockets can immediately apply. Image credits – Fiskens


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