Ferrari 212 ‘Inter’ Berlinetta
A study of early Ferraris is more a study of individual cars than model types. In the first six years of Ferrari production there were about 200 cars built and almost every one of them was unique in some way. Cars manufactured specifically for competition were normally assigned even serial numbers, while the cars built for touring duty were assigned odd ones. There were two substantially different engine types: the more common Colombo and the big Lampredi. Those were built in several different displacements and were available in various states of tune. There was also an incredible selection of coachwork produced by a handful of small artisan coachbuilders, making for a dizzying array of cars that takes a serial number scorecard and a true marque expert to keep straight.
The 212 probably isn’t the first model most enthusiasts think of when dreaming of desirable Ferraris; in fact, it probably doesn’t even make most people’s top five. Many enthusiasts have never seen one in person and others may have seen one without realizing what they were looking at. Positioned at the end of a series that includes the 166s and 195s, but before the famous 250s, the 212s are overshadowed by the earlier cars’ historical importance to the marque, and the later model’s amazing accomplishments
Introduced in 1951, the 212 Inter was directly descended from the very first Ferrari of just four years previous. For this, the final model of Ferrari’s first series, Gioacchino Colombo’s versatile V12 was enlarged to 2,562 cc, with a commensurate increase in maximum power to 150 hp in road trim. With a top speed of 120 mph, and race-bred handling, the tipo 212 was among the quickest road cars of its day.
Customers chose their own coachbuilder, many favoring the top Italian studio Touring of Milan, whose advanced Superleggera method of body construction combined lightness and strength in equal measure. The coachwork of chassis number 0215EL is clearly inspired by that of the Touring-bodied Le Mans cars of the period.
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