Details & description
The 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer is widely considered one of the most beautiful cars ever built by Ferrari. It shocked the audience on its debut at the 1971 Turin Motor Show. It was the first mid-engine, 12-cylinder Ferrari, setting the precedent for some of the exotic automaker's most legendary works, including the Testarossa. Fewer than 400 were built. 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.
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.
But there's always been something puzzling about that name. In Ferrari parlance, "Berlinetta" usually means a front-engine car, which this is not. And a "boxer" engine, while still horizontally opposed, uses an individual crank journal for each piston; the 365 GT4 BB's motor has pairs of pistons sharing a common crank journal, making it, technically, a "flat 12" rather than a "boxer 12."
As it turns out, the Berlinetta Boxer—"BB" for short—isn't a berlinetta or a boxer at all. The name was a clandestine reference to French model, actress, singer, dancer, animal-rights activist, and all around pop culture icon Brigitte Bardot.
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.
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.