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Ordered new-order number 656- by Maranello Concessionaires Ltd for their chairman Colonel Ronnie Hoare on 2nd May 1973 with the factory acknowledging receipt on 8th June. Upon completion the car was invoiced by the factory on 28th January 1974 and transported to Maranello Concessionaires in Egham, Surrey by truck. This would appear to be the 40th 365 GT4 BB produced and was the second of 58 365 GT4BB officially imported into the UK-with just 85 right hand drive cars made in total, the first #17585, being Maranello Concessionaires “official” demonstrator. Finished in the Colonels preferred colour scheme of Dino Metallic blue 106. A. 72 with sabbia(sand)VM 3234 coloured hide and first registered on 27th March 1974 on the Surrey registration number, VPA 77M.The then list price was £15,492.36 plus delivery charges, number plates and road tax. The car featured in motoring numerous magazines including Motoring News on 14th July 1974, Motorsport September 1974, Autocar w/e 5th October 1974,Motorsport June 1975.......
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There were two important novelties on this car: the new 12-cylinder boxer derived from the Formula 1 car, and the mid-engined layout that marked the end of Ferrari’s traditional front-engined solution for its top performance models.
Combination of high performance and Pininfarina's style
At its introduction, the 365 GT4 BB also offered additional creature comforts in the form of standard air conditioning, a radio and electric windows. The combination of the car’s high performance and Pininfarina’s aggressive styling meant that sales remained relatively buoyant despite the recession caused by the oil crisis, and in three years almost 400 were produced.
The 365 GT4BB made its public debut on the Pininfarina stand at the 1971 Turin Show, but it would be almost two years before it reached the production line, where it would run until 1976. No doubt the long gestation period was due to it being a completely different concept to any previous Ferrari 12-cylinder series production road car, with its mid-mounted flat-12 engine in unit with the transmission.
Ferrari already had vast experience of the mid-engine layout with their single-seater and sports-racing models, together with the two 365P “Tre Posti” (three seat) concept road cars produced by Pininfarina in 1966, and the V6 Dino series. However, the 365 GTB4 “Daytona” was selling well, and the factory no doubt thought it prudent to show the new car early, and assess client reaction to what was a radically different top of the range model, and also give them time to test it extensively.
When the 365 GT4BB did go into production, the “Daytona” continued in production alongside it for a few months. Between 1973 and 1976 a total of 387 examples were produced.
The model title followed standard Ferrari practice, with the number “365″ referring to the swept volume of a single cylinder, the number “4″ relating to the total number of camshafts, and the “BB” suffix stood for “Berlinetta Boxer”. The “Boxer” part of the model name was a reference to the opposing banks of cylinders’ operating order.
However, the name was more an analogy with the company’s flat-12 Formula One engines, as the engine of the 365 GT4BB did not operate in true boxer engine sequence, where opposing pistons travel in opposite directions as the crankshaft rotates.
As with the 365 GTB4, which became commonly referred to as the “Daytona”, so the 365 GT4BB and the subsequent 512 development models, have generally been called “Boxers”. Due no doubt, at least in part, to the tongue tripping numbers and letters model designation.
Visually the forward section of the model was based on the extreme wedge Pininfarina P6 mid-engined concept car, presented at the Turin Show in 1968.
The lower section of the nose featured a full-width aluminium egg crate radiator grille, with driving lights behind it, from the top edge of which an indent line ran around the body perimeter, visually creating an upper and lower half to the body. This was made even more evident, as the standard paint finish below this line was satin black. This satin black bottom body section subsequently became an option on other models, and was referred to as the “Boxer” paint finish.
Above the nose was a one-piece, forward- hinged, front lid/wing assembly which had rectangular flush-mounted turn indicator light panels close to the forward edge. Behind these were twin retractable headlights in rectangular pods, either side of the plain aluminium finished radiator exhaust air louvre panel.
The five-window cabin section had a teardrop shaped side window profile, and the rear screen was a shallow vertical flat panel, bounded by the buttresses of the one piece, rear hinged, engine cover with a stubby vertical tail.
A satin black finished aerofoil was mounted just behind the cabin roof, bridging the sail panel buttresses, whilst the engine cover featured rows of black exhaust air louvres and twin raised rectangular sections over the carburettor air filter boxes.
The tail-light treatment followed that of the 365 GTC4, with triple circular units, fitted in a recessed mesh covered panel. The lighting layout was echoed in the bank of small triple chrome plated exhaust tail pipes, projecting through either side of the lower tail panel.
The doors, front and rear lids had aluminium panels, whilst the cabin frame was steel, with fibreglass lower nose and tail sections. Because of the low angle of the windscreen a tinted strip was provided across the top edge, and it had the radio aerial embedded in it.
This was the first Ferrari road car to be fitted with a space-saver spare wheel, which lay in a recess below the front lid, leaving very little space for luggage in the shallow nose.
The bodies were mounted on a 2500mm wheelbase chassis that had factory reference numbers F 102 AB 100, all were numbered in the odd chassis number road car sequence.
The construction followed the Ferrari principle of a tubular steel chassis frame with cross bracing, and sub structures, to support the engine, suspension, and ancillary equipment.
On this model a new dimension was added, in that the cockpit section steel panels became an integral part of the structure, to form a rigid, virtually monocoque, central cell. The model was available in right- or left-hand drive form, although a USA market version was never produced.
The standard road wheels were silver-finished five-spoke “star” pattern alloy, with a knock-off spinner on a Rudge hub, covering large ventilated disc brakes with twin hydraulic circuits, and servo assistance.
Four wheel independent suspension was via wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, with twin rear units, was provided, together with front and rear anti roll bars.
The engine was the first flat-12 cylinder configuration fitted in a Ferrari road car, but maintained the same cubic capacity of 4390cc, and 81mm x 71mm bore and stroke, of the 365 GTB4 model, and had factory type reference F 102 AB 000.
It had twin overhead camshafts per bank of cylinders, although these were now belt driven, instead of by chain as on earlier Ferrari 12-cylinder engines. This had the effect of simplifying the engine castings, and reducing mechanical noise, more important now that the engine was right behind the occupant’s ears.
The engine was longitudinally mounted in unit with the five speed transmission, which was below the crankshaft, raising the centre of gravity of the complete unit, but making it compact lengthwise.
Although part of the engine and gearbox casings used the same casting, internally the two were entirely separate relative to their oil systems, the engine featuring a wet sump lubrication system.
It was fitted with two banks of two triple choke Weber 40 IF 3C carburettors, with a single distributor, driven off the left rear inlet camshaft and an electronic ignition system, to produce a claimed 380 hp.
Taken from Ferraris own website
There are those Ferraristi, more knowledgeable than I, who, while liking the basic concept of the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer, consider it to have been rushed into production before it was ready. Ferrari's image was being tarnished by their upstart neighbourhood rival Lamborghini. The raging bull had beaten the prancing horse into production with a four-cam V-12. The mid-engine and technologically interesting Miura made the 275 GTB/4 look antique. By early 1973 the Countach was looming on the horizon, threatening to eclipse the 365 GTB/4 Daytona.
But Ferrari had the Berlinetta Boxer waiting in the wings. The concept had first appeared on the Pininfarina stand at the Turin Auto Show in 1971. As with many of the great Pininfarina designs, the styling was more evolutionary than revolutionary. The overall shape had been studied in the wind tunnel. The frontal treatment echoed that seen on the P6 show car of 1968 while the rear was reminiscent of the Dino 206/246 series. The recessed rear window, two "flying buttress" fins, and wing/spoiler at the rear edge of the roof aerodynamically supplied air for the engine compartment, eliminating the need for side air intakes.
One of the innovations by Pininfarina was the groove that cut the body laterally. The front and rear portions of the lower half constituted the bumpers, and with the traditional black-bottom "Boxer" paint scheme, gave the car a slimmer look. Sergio Pininfarina was quoted as saying "we incorporated everything we knew into the BB". While not as radical and exotic in appearance as the Lamborghini Countach, the Berlinetta Boxer styling proved to be much more practical and has stood the test of time quite well.
Although Ferrari had experience with transverse mid-engine locations, as used on the Dino 206/246, a new approach was taken for Ferrari's first real production mid-engine 12-cylinder. Of course, Lamborghini was already using the transverse V-12 configuration, which was a strong point against its use in a Ferrari. But it has also been suggested that another reason was noise - most of the mechanical noise radiates from the sides of the crankcase, so a transverse mid-engine would transmit more noise toward the cockpit than a longitudinally placed engine.
Another problem to be solved, no matter which way the engine was oriented, was the height of the engine, which would restrict rearward vision from the cockpit.
So Ferrari chose a flat-12 engine for its lower height, and placed it lengthways just behind the cockpit. This engine was in effect a traditional Ferrari V-12 opened up to a full 180o rather than a pure "boxer" motor. Ferrari, while neither inventing this configuration nor being the first to propose it for racing, had been the first to actually race a flat-12 engine. The first Ferrari so equipped was the 1.5-litre Formula One raced during the 1964 and 1965 seasons. The concept was next seen in a Ferrari racecar in 1967, with the Sport 2000 (later 212E). This car swept the 1969 European Mountain Championship, winning all seven events entered. The next step in Ferrari's development of the flat-12 for racing was the 3-litre Formula One cars, which first appeared in 1970. A 3-litre flat-12 sport-racing car soon followed this. In Formula One configuration, the flat-12 would be used by Ferrari through 1980 and would win three World Championships for factory drivers. The 3-litre flat-12 Ferrari sports/racing car would win all ten races entered in 1972.
But much of this success was still to come when the prototype Berlinetta Boxer was first shown in 1971. Taking the racing engine's flat-12 configuration and the basic architecture of the production V-12, Ferrari's engineers came up with a new engine. The bore and stroke dimensions of 81 mm x 71 mm were identical to those of the 365-series V-12. The crankshaft ran on seven main bearings (the racing engines used only four), so opposing cylinders in the flat-12 were paired. While using the four-overhead camshaft (two per cylinder bank) configuration of the 365 GTB/4-365 GTC/4-365 GT4 2+2 engines, the Berlinetta Boxer engine adopted a toothed belt for driving the camshafts, eliminating the noisy metal chains. While the racing flat-12 had four valves per cylinder and used fuel injection, the road version had only two valves per cylinder and four three-barrel Weber carburettors. For ease of maintenance, the sparkplugs were located on the intake side of the cylinder head (back to the original V-12 "inside plug" configuration). For some reason, the dry sump lubrication system that had been used on the 275 GTB/4 and the 365 GTB/4 was abandoned in favour of a wet sump. All of this was housed in the usual Ferrari artwork of light silumin alloy castings.
A final problem with the engine placement concerned the overall length. For the Berlinetta Boxer Ferrari's engineers mounted the five-speed gearbox/differential beneath (and offset to the right side) the engine, rather than to the rear. While saving length, this somewhat negated the height advantage of the flat-12 configuration. The end result placed the axis of the rear wheels actually ahead of the last two cylinders of the engine!
The "traditional" Ferrari Berlinetta wheelbase of 2400 mm had to be stretched by 100 mm, to 2500 mm, but the overall package wound up being approximately 6 cm shorter than the 365 GTB/4 Daytona - and also approximately 13 cm lower! The chassis was traditional Ferrari, being made up of welded steel tubing. The car had four-wheel independent suspension via unequal length A-arms, coil springs and tubular shock absorbers. ATE disc brakes were fitted along with five-pointed star design centre-lock alloy wheels. The body itself was a combination of materials. Doors, belly pan, nose and tail sections were in aluminium; steel stampings were used for most of the remainder of the body; with fibreglass being used for the lower front and rear body sections.
The interior likewise followed Ferrari practice, with the high steering wheel, open-gated shift lever, well-positioned Veglia instrumentation, column-mounted light and windshield wiper controls, and an array of toggle and rocker switches for other functions. There was a singular lack of adjustment for individual driver preference.
The seats were one-piece and adjusted only fore-and-aft, and there was no adjusting the steering wheel or pedals. The driver either fitted the Italian mould, or he didn't!
The radiator was mounted in the front compartment and, along with the space-saver spare tyre, took up most of the "luggage" space, but the cockpit was roomy enough to allow the stowage of some small items.
While there were sceptics who saw the 1971 Turin Show BB as just another in the line of Ferrari/Pininfarina concept cars (i.e. the 250 P5 and the P6) that would never see production, the Ferrari 365 GT4/BB "Berlinetta Boxer" went into production in late 1973, at about the same time as the Countach. Only a few changes had taken place since the introduction - a more simplified chassis; an increase in the number of taillights; a change in the location of the fuel filler. Power windows and air conditioning were standard.
Acceleration and top-end numbers were only marginally better than that of the Daytona, but the improved handling and comfort made the Boxer, which Road & Track found to be "the fastest road car we've ever tested", a much more refined automobile than its predecessor.
But there were teething problems. For example, there were no less than six different transaxles used as problems were solved and fixes implemented (see Ferrari Market Letter Vol.12 No.20). More basic shortcomings had to await the new model, the 512 BB, introduced less than three years after the 365 GT4/BB went into production. The total number made was a paltry (by today's standards) 387!
The American market was off-limits to the 365 GT4/BB, as Ferrari made no attempt to produce a car that would meet their exhaust emission and safety standards - and may have figured that such an exercise was futile anyway for a country that had such strict speed limits. But some Americans thought otherwise, and thus the Ferrari grey market was born!
Keep in mind that the early 1970's were also an era of fuel shortages, and a time when many observers believed that the days of the supercar were over. This led one pundit to declare the 365 GT4/BB "the last Ferrari". I wonder what he thinks of today's crop of supercars.
Taken from Ferrari Market Letter Vol.15 No.21
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