The Ferrari 512 BB buying guide


You can’t get much more outrageous than a Ferrari 512 BB. It’s brutishly stylish and powerful, and rare too. Here we give an insight into the different variants and the costs involved in driving the 12-cylinder supercar.

Ferrari 512 BB history

The Ferrari 512 BB was presented in 1976 at the Paris Motor Show as the successor to the 4.4-litre V12 front-engined Ferrari 365 GT/4.

The 512 BB came with a mid-mounted flat-12 5-litre – technically a V12 with a 180° angle between the two banks of cylinders, a motor inspired by similar units in Formula 1. Departing from classical design, this new model featured more contemporary styling, and was equipped with four exhaust pipes and four rear lights. Adding to its sporting character, the Ferrari 512 BB featured a small front splitter and was flanked by NACA air intakes towards the rear. Due to its longer and wider stature, this new Ferrari gained weight compared to its predecessor. When empty the car tips the scales at 1515kg.

In 1981 the Ferrari 512 BB was renamed as 512 BBi to denote its carburettors being replaced by injectors. Tougher emissions standards in the USA – an extremely important sales market for the Italian manufacturer – lead to the change. In addition to the technical revision, the car was also given a facelift. Its tyres were widened for better roadholding, and the bonnet received body-coloured air outlet grilles.

A total of 929 examples of the Ferrari 512 BB and 1007 of the 512 BBi were produced. In 1984, production of this model came to an end, with its successor emerging in the shape of the Ferrari Testarossa.


Maintaining a Ferrari 512 BB

Buckle up, because some BB maintenance is pretty daunting… Checking and adjusting valves takes around a day and a half, costing between €900 – €1,000 depending on the workshop. This wouldn’t be so bad if such a task wasn’t needed every 10,000 miles. A simple oil change, something that requires two new oil filters and about 15 litres of lubricant, will result in a bill of around €700.

Many repairs require the engine to be removed, making even small jobs potential financially challenging. If the engine has to be repaired, the costs incurred would make even die-hard Ferrari fans wince. A complete overhaul with new pistons, connecting rod and crankshaft bearings, new water pump and toothed belt, revised cylinder heads and other work quickly rack up €70,000.

It is paramount to take a closer look at the history of the vehicle before making a purchase. Check the clutch and gearbox very carefully. A new clutch costs around €2,500 – €3,000, and a complete gearbox overhaul with a bevel and bevel gear costs €20,000 to €25,000. This job is yet another where the engine must be removed.

One final piece of advice is to change the gearbox oil regularly. Since the gearbox is located below the engine, the oil heats up quickly and can become less effective.


With a vehicle like the Ferrari 512 BB, a specialist is indispensable when it comes to inspecting the car. If you are really thinking about buying a BB it is worth spending some money on consulting an expert before committing. This car’s maintenance costs should definitely be taken into consideration, assuming the worst-case scenario to avoid any unpleasant surprises.

Ferrar_512_bb_1200x790_3 Ferrar_512_bb_1200x790_6 Ferrar_512_bb_1200x790_7

Text Jan Fröhlich // Photos Classic Trader


Related Posts

Classic Trader Advent-Raffle 2021: Advent Sunday

Sign Up and Win a special Christmas Gift: In the last few weeks before Christmas, we are giving away four fantastic automotive gifts and a special gift sponsored by EPOS on Christmas Eve! Continue reading Classic Trader Advent-Raffle 2021: Advent Sunday

Off-roaders in action

Off-road vehicles in action – from army to civil defence

Today’s roads are dominated by so-called sport utility vehicles (SUVs). However, their forefathers were designed for off-road use by the military, aid organisations and forestry and agricultural operations. A look back at their actual purpose.

Continue reading Off-road vehicles in action – from army to civil defence

Toyota Supra MA70

Toyota Supra – A cult vehicle with many faces

Anyone who thinks about legendary sports cars immediately thinks of the usual suspects – the brands that dominated Le Mans or had their bodies drawn by Pininfarina, Bertone or Zagato. One dreams of American V8 engines, Italian twelve-cylinder engines, British wooden chassis and German perfectionism. Only a few people think of the Land of the Rising Sun – but there were and still are a considerable number of interesting sports cars in Japan, for example the Toyota Supra.  Continue reading Toyota Supra – A cult vehicle with many faces