Ferrari’s early commercial success started with the 166 and, from 1951 onwards, relied on the 212 for continued prosperity. While the factory focused on their larger 340 America for overall wins, the 212 was put in the hands of wealthy clients and spread the Ferrari name abroad.
Being a dual purpose car, the 212 was built in two distinct states of tune. For the serious enthusiasts, 27 examples called the Export model were built for racing in the GT and sports classes. These cars featured a large fuel tank and radical carburetion that sometimes included the thirsty triple setup Weber 32 DCF setup from the 340 America. Power produced by the Export 212 varied from 150 to 170 bhp.
In the 1950s, the 212 Export became the racer of choice for premier events such as the Tour de France, Mille Miglia and Carrera Panamerica. Probably the 212’s finest hour was when Pagnibon and Barraquet drove 0078E to victory at the 1951 Tour de France.
All of the Ferraris sold in 1951 shared the same basic structure having a similar double tube frames and the 212’s chassis was wider and more rigid than its 166 predecessor. Front wheels were located by double wishbones, while the rear used a live axle with transverse leaf springs. Hydraulic, drum brakes were used at all four corners.
Different bodies graced the 212 chassis and most were spartan with minimal bodywork and little decoration. The most prolific was the Barchetta by Superleggra Touring which became Ferrari’s typical style and a symbol of early Italian racing. Other unique variations included Vignale’s coupes and two interesting cars by Motto.
The 212 served Ferrari well until it was replaced with the 225 Sport with its 2.7 liter engine. Many 212s were upgraded to 225-spec engines and these cars are often referred to as type 212/225. While the later 250 MM and 250 GT overshadowed the 212, it deserves a place in the successful line of GT cars that made Ferrari legendary.
Ferrari 212 Export Specs & Performance
1951 – 1952
SOHC, 2 Valves per Cyl
Tripple Weber 32 DCF
2562 cc / 156.3 in³
68 mm / 2.68 in
58.8 mm / 2.31 in
126.8 kw / 170 bhp @ 6500 rpm
66.35 bhp per litre
174.36 bhp per tonne
215.58 nm / 159 ft lbs @ 6500 rpm
body / frame
Aluminum over Steel Tube Frame
Lockheed Hydrualic Discs
single Weber 36 DCF
F 38.1 x 14.0 cm / 15 x 5.5 in
R 38.1 x 14.0 cm / 15 x 5.5 in
Worm & Nut
Double Wishbones w/Houdaille Dampers
Live Axle w/Transverse Leaf Springs, Houdaille Dampers
212 Exports Built. Early Even-Digit Serial Number. Wonderful Provenance and Documentation. Only Two Owners Since 1960. Matching-Numbers, Original-Bodied Example. Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini. Auction Source: 2011 Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company