Previous Next

Lot 277A

1972 Ferrari 712 CAN AM Race Car

  • Chassis no. 1010

$1,600,000 - $1,800,000

60° V12 512 based four OHC, 48 valve all-alloy construction developing approximately 690bhp at 8000rpm with Lucas fuel injection and Dinoplex injection, five-speed manual gearbox plus reverse in unit with the engine, four-wheel independent suspension with unequal front A-arms, coil-over shocks, anti-roll bar, similar rear configuration, four-wheel disc brakes with alloy calipers and vented rotors. Wheelbase: 2400mm

THE CAN-AM SERIES – 1966 TO 1974
A contest for the world’s most powerful road racing cars, the JohnsonWax CanAm, is universally regarded as the most spectacular racing show ever presented. In its glory years of 1968 to 1972, the very earth would tremble underfoot as the starter’s green flag unleashed the combined thunder of 25,000 horsepower. Normally, racing runs by rules – sometimes so restrictive that it is hard to tell where the rulebook ends and the racing
starts. The main reason for the success of the CanAm series is that it was planned to be almost unrestrictive. The FIA Group 7 rules only dictated that the cars must have seats for two, doors and full bodies. Engine size could not be less than 2,500 cc’s and including normal driver safety requirements, that was it. The result was the wildest and most imaginative competition vehicles ever seen – unlimited displacement engines of every
type, supercharged and turbo-charged, ultra wide wheels, four-wheel drive, flipper wings, fan-generated ground effects – in fact much of the technology now outlawed in most forms of motorsport was encouraged in the original CanAm Series. BRM, Bryant, Chaparal, Ferrari, Ford, Lola, March, McLaren, Porsche and Shadow constructed road course racers that were faster than Formula I cars and the “million dollar series” attracted all of the great driver talent of the period. Surtees, McLaren, Hulme, Revson, Follmer, Donohue and Oliver won the titles, but they had to beat Amon, Andretti, Brabham, Cevert, Foyt, Gurney, Hall, Hill,
Redman, Rodriguez, Scheckter, Siffert and Stewart in order to do so. From Le Circuit to Laguna Seca, from Riverside to Road Atlanta and Road America, these mighty men in their magnificent machines literally shook the earth for nine memorable seasons.

By the time Mario Andretti strapped himself into this Ferrari at the Watkins Glen CanAm on July 25, 1971 (a race where he had qualified fifth and was to finish fourth overall behind Revson, Hulme and Siffert) chassis number 1010, was already in its fourth distinctly different race configuration. Let us turn back the clock two years in order to shed some light on its most interesting early history as a Group 6 prototype factory racing car.

512 S SPYDER NO. 1010-70
On the eve of the 1967 LeMans 24 Hour Race the FIA/CSI drew unanimous criticism from both constructors and race organizers by announcing new regulations for the Constructors Championship to take effect for the 1968 season. The Group 6 prototypes of this series were to have their engines reduced to a maximum of three liters, this perhaps inspired by a desire to decrease the sort of speeds that Ford’s seven-liter GT40’s were attaining that year. This eventually eliminated both Aston Martin and Jaguar, as well as Ferrari. Ferrari immediately announced it would not build any Group 6 or Group 4 cars for the 1968 season. For a year the manufacturers toed the line, but when Porsche unveiled its 4.5 liter 550hp 917 prototype at the 1969 Geneva Motor Show, as if the Stuttgart engineers were thumbing their noses at the CSI, it was obvious that the heyday of the three-liter prototypes were numbered.

Ferrari followed Porsche’s lead at the end of April when it announced a series production of 25 five-liter sports cars that were to be designated as the 512 S. The engine for the 512 S already existed in the 1968 CanAm car, its 4,993.53 cc capacity being obtained by reducing the bore and stroke of the former. Similar to the P4, it had a single piece crankcase sump that was widely ribbed to achieve rigidity. The drive was by a triple-plate clutch with a strong Ferrari-built five-speed gearbox fitted with a ZF limited slip differential. The chassis was a semi-monocoque with tubular steel sub-frames, the rear being further stiffened by a multi-point engine mount system. The suspension followed normal Ferrari practice and the brake discs were positioned within ever-wider Campagnolo wheels, 11.5 inch fronts and 16 inches to the rear. Dual side-mounted radiators affixed near the engine provided cooling and twin fuel tanks holding a total of 120 liters were fitted in the sills. The low wedge shaped nose, the narrow centered driver’s compartment and bulbous Kamm-tailed rear made an aggressive styling statement that suggested enormous power and speed. More conventional than revolutionary, the 512 S with its 550 horsepower at 8500rpm and total dry weight of only 840 kgs presented a formidable opponent to Porsche’s 917 cars. Ferrari was then still a small manufacturer and so it was quite a feat to be able to produce the required 25 examples that were lined up alongside one another at the Works in January, 1970 for inspection by the FIA representatives. The 512 S had a one-off numbering system and employed the 25 even numbers between 1002 and 1050. The factory kept about six cars for their own use with the balance being sold to approved private teams at a price of 24 million lire each. The customer teams then ran their cars in direct competition with the Scuderia’s own cars – another concept that had not been seen before – a policy likely resulting from the large number of cars required for the homologation. Many drivers were retained by the factory for the new 512 S cars, names like Vaccarella, Schetty, Ickx, Oliver, Peterson, Regazzoni, Bell, Giunti, Merzario, Surtees and Amon. Mario Andretti put his 512 S on the pole for the January 31, 1970 Daytona 24 Hour Race, but only one of the five 512 S’s was to survive the twice around the clock ordeal. At Sebring, two months later, Andretti again achieved the pole and led for most of the race until his gearbox broke, handing the win to the Vaccarella-Giunti 512 over the Alfas and Porsches. Further impressive 512 results came at Monza – second and third; in the Targa Florio – third; Spa – second; Nurburgring 1000 – third; LeMans – fourth and fifth; Watkins Glen – third; Montlhery – third and first overall at Fuji and Kyalami at the end of the year. However, Porsche won the 1970 World Manufacturers Championship. In Prunet’s book, The Sports Racing and Prototype Competition Cars, extenuating circumstances are blamed rather than the 512 S itself. This 512 S number 1010 competed in five rounds of the championship with a fifth at Watkins Glen and an eighth overall at the 1000 kms of Brand’s Hatch being the best finishes.

The 512’s second personality makeover took place in the fall of 1970 when it was factory uprated to 512 M Berlinetta specification. This included a new and more efficient coupe body, different radiator air vents and adjustable twin rear spoilers plus many chassis and engine upgrades. The former lost 40 kilograms and the latter gained about 20 horsepower. In this form number 1010 qualified second at the 100 kms of Zettweg with Ickx/Giunti, but did not finish due to electrical problems. At the nine hours of Kyalami number 1010 won with the same drivers on November 8, 1970.

In anticipation of entering 1971 CanAm races in a market most important to Ferrari, the USA, the 512 was fitted with a 712 engine over the winter of 1970/1971. Exact specifications of this monster motor are not known but it is speculated to be of a seven-liter displacement and developing as much as 700bhp! Enzo Ferrari himself attended the Coppa de Shell Interserie race at Imola where Arturio Mezario did not disappoint the boss as he handily won both heats of this race.

1971 712 CAN-AM SPYDER NO. 1010
The engine concept now proven, number 1010 was quickly fitted with a new spyder body in order to legalize it for CanAm competition. Of a wedge design, this borrowed its nose from the 512 M, less head lamps with the rear new panels that sloped up to a flat rear vertical panel above which floated a small adjustable rear wing. By the time it saw duty at the July 25 Watkins Glen CanAm race in Mario Andretti’s hands “air fences” had been added on top of both the front and rear fenders which kept the boundary air-layer from spilling off to the sides and provided much more downforce. Considering that this was in the heyday of McLaren domination, the Porsche 917-10’s were coming on strong, Andretti’s fifth qualifying position and fourth overall finish in a basically untried Ferrari in its first CanAm outing was nothing short of miraculous! Sadly, no follow-up or further CanAm entries were contested in 1971. (Had Enzo lost interest?) Chassis number 1010 raced again in the 1972 CanAm series under the N.A.R.T. banner and Chinetti put the fearless Jean-Pierre Jarier into the car for two races after Sam Posey had declined. J-P finished tenth at Watkins Glen after starting last and fourth at Road America after qualifying tenth. In 1974 Chinetti dug out the old 712 again for the Watkins Glen CanAm and festooned it with new fins, fences and a big rear wing. This time the ever-game Brian Redman stepped up to drive after Posey broke his foot in the Six Hour Race held the day before. And drive Brian did, throwing the 712 around with gay abandon and running as high as second overall behind Oliver’s leading Shadow before the rear suspension broke and he retired in a cloud of dust. This excellent Redman effort was also to be the last race of a Group 7 Ferrari.

N.A.R.T. sold 712 Spyder number 1010 to Gordon Tatum in 1976. Forristall’s GT Cars in Houston, Texas advertised it in early 1987 and it was purchased and displayed in the famous Swiss Collection of Albert Obrist for several years. In 1996 it passed to UK resident Paul Osbourne. Two years later number 1010 joined a private collection in the United States. In May of 2002 the 712 CanAm Spyder was sold at auction to the current owner, a UK based historic racer and collector.

With its wonderful dual history as a Scuderia Ferrari entrant in both the World Manufacturers Championship as a Group 6 prototype and the Johnson Wax CanAm Series as a Group 7 car, this charismatic racing Ferrari will be highly desirable to a marque collector or an historic race entrant. Not that it should ever become the main purchase
consideration for an enthusiast, although in this writer’s opinion, an acquisition within the range of our catalogue estimate will surely prove to be an excellent investment if held for the “medium term”.


IMPORTANT - TAX/DUTY STATUS: A resident European purchaser may re-import this Lot tax & duty free by utilizing the current exporter (EC law). However, should the purchaser be a USA resident, an additional importation duty of 2.5 % of the final purchase price will apply.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 9... read more

David Swig

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. He is a life-long automobile enthusiast and ... read more

Don Rose

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Ian Kelleher

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College with a Bachelor of Arts in Politica... read more

Jake Auerbach

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Jonathan Sierakowski

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Jonathan Sierakowski developed a passion for classic cars while working at a Connecticut restoration shop as a teenager. He graduated with a... read more

Kurt Forry

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. He att... read more

Peter Wallman

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007 following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, where he was based out ... read more

Shelby Myers

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more