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1978 FERRARI 512 BB KOENIG TWIN TURBO

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  • Period twin-turbo conversion by Koenig Specials
  • Very rare and only 15,000km from new
  • Flat-12 engine producing more than 600bhp
  • Recent reconditioning by Modena Engineering
YEAR1978
MAKEFerrari
PRICE£295,000

VEHICLE DESCRIPTION

The Ferrari 512 BB was already one of the most spectacular supercars of the 1970s and ’80s, but the small number that were modified by Koenig Specials are even more spectacular.

After carrying out some performance modifications on his own Ferrari 365 GT4 BB, racing driver Willy Koenig found himself in demand from fellow owners and set up Koenig Specials in the late 1970s, on the northern outskirts of Munich. His reputation was such that clients ranged from actor Sylvester Stallone to Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger.

During the early 1980s – and despite Ferrari forcing him to remove its badging from any cars he converted – Koenig and engine-builder Franz Albert offered three levels of upgrade for the 512 BB. The most ‘subtle’ boosted power to about 370bhp. Above that was a second version with Mahle pistons, modified cylinder heads, and about 450bhp. 

The most extreme option was offered from 1982 and was applied to the car that is being offered for sale here. This ‘full fat’ kit added twin turbos, Mahle pistons, a racing exhaust, fuel injection in place of the original carburettors, and a power output that was well in excess of 600bhp. That was enough for Koenig Specials to claim a top speed of 206mph and 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds.

Vittorio Strosek came up with a glassfibre bodykit that included a front spoiler, flared rear wheelarches, side air intakes and an integrated rear spoiler. The full conversion – including engine upgrades and styling add-ons – cost DM130,000, and the total number of BBs to be converted by Koenig is thought to be only about 50. Very few of those were to this ‘top level’ specification.

Originally bought in May 1978 by a German industrialist called Kurt Distler via Garage 1000 Miglia – the Ferrari concessionaire in Bolzano, Italy – this Ferrari 512 BB was registered new in Germany. Having been converted to Koenig specification in 1982, it changed owners twice before it was sold to a Spanish enthusiast who kept it at a Ferrari concessionaire in Valais, Switzerland. 

It couldn’t be road-registered there due to emissions controls, so it was taken on only short drives using trade plates. When its next owner acquired the Ferrari in 2013, he therefore had marque specialist Hoyle-Fox go right through it in order to get it properly sorted. 

When Richard Heseltine drove the car for an article in Classic & Sports Car magazine, he wrote that ‘enhancements [stretched] to items such as a three-stage boost-enrichment system; uprated injectors; a high-performance ignition amplifier and coil; and countless other tweaks.’

‘The Koenig pulls much like the regular car to about 3000rpm,’ he continued. ‘Thereon, it is in a different realm. Without daring to venture beyond 6000rpm, thrust is as immediate as it is violent … it is a blast to drive.’

This Koenig Ferrari 512 BB is offered for sale complete with its original wallet containing warranty card and service book, plus the sales and service organisation book. More recently, it has been treated to reconditioning work at Modena Engineering, which including the fitment of a fire-extinguisher system, and it has been cared for with no expense spared. 

It represents a very rare opportunity to acquire one of the most extreme and exciting supercars ever built.

MODEL HISTORY

When the production version of the Ferrari 365 BB was introduced in 1973, it represented a new era for the marque. Having retained the front-engined layout for the outgoing Daytona, this would be Ferrari’s first mid-engined 12-cylinder supercar.

Echoing the configuration used in its contemporary sports-prototypes and Formula 1 cars, the BB used a flat-12 engine. In this instance, it was a 4.4-litre unit producing 360bhp, placed behind the driver and with the five-speed transmission mounted directly beneath it. 

Taking cues from Pininfarina’s 1968 P6 Berlinetta Speciale concept car, the styling was done by a team led by Leonardo Fioravanti and would share a ‘family look’ with the smaller 308 GTB when that car was subsequently launched in 1975. 

The year after that, the original 365 was replaced by the 512 BB, which gained a dry-sump, 4.9-litre version of the flat-12 engine. Maximum power was actually a fraction lower than it had been in the 365, but it was reached at lower revs and the torque figure was improved. 

The final update came in 1981, with the addition of fuel-injection to create the 512 BBi. When Steve Cropley drove this ultimate incarnation of the series, he recorded a 0-100mph time of 13.3 seconds and wrote: ‘The noise, that rasp that becomes a howl, then a wail, then a scream, is enough to make your scalp prickle.’ 

The BB series lasted until 1984, when it was replaced by the new Ferrari Testarossa.


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