1952 Ferrari 212 Europa Coupe by Pinin Farina
s/n 0263EU, Engine no. 0263EU
Two-Tone Blue with Powder Blue Leather
The elegance and grace of early coachbuilt Ferraris are often sequestered to museums or hidden from the public in private collections. It is rare to find an early car that has been both beautifully restored and universally adored by experts and enthusiasts in public showings and numerous featured publications. Such is the case with this unique and stunning Ferrari.
In October 1952, Ferrari initiated a gradual transition from the earlier series 212 platform, developing the first of the Europa series (designated by the EU serial number). The first of these cars debuted as the Inter Cabriolet with coachwork by Pinin Farina (chassis number 0235 EU). The new GT car was well received in part due to the increased wheelbase and improved chassis dynamics. Just 78 examples of the 212 Inter were produced between 1951 and 1953, with 26 of the final 29 cars receiving the EU chassis designation as Europas. These cars were powered by the 170 bhp, 2,562 cc SOHC V-12 engine with three Weber 36 DCF carburetors. Power fed through a five-speed manual gearbox, featuring independent front suspension with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs and parallel trailing arms, with four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes. Each of these rare cars were masterfully hand built, often tailored to a specific customer.
This stunning late-production 212 was the third of 11 coupes built by Pinin Farina. Records indicate it was the 15th from final car built on the 212 platform, having been constructed one car prior to chassis number 0265, the prototype 250 Europa, making this car remarkably close to full “Europa” specifications. The most notable of these Europa features include the distinctive front-end design, which it shares with the 250 Europa. Completed in late 1952, this car was used by the factory for exhibition, including the Turin Motor Show in April 1953, representing Ferrari. Following its display, the 212 was delivered to its first private owner, Paris resident Pierre Guilherme.
By April 1958, the car arrived in Joseph Cattaneo’s Paris garage, whereby Frank Butler, an American expatriate living in the French capital, purchased the car. Mr. Butler recorded a written description of the car including an odometer reading of 15,000 miles (equivalent) at the time of his purchase. Butler drove it to races at Le Mans, Monaco, Spa, Rheims, and the Nürburgring, and in 1959 undertook selected repairs, including the installation of an air horn. A year later he submitted the Europa to the factory Assistenza Clienti in Maranello, where it was repainted Rosso. In 1961, Mr. Butler sold the Ferrari to American citizen Ed Gaus, who imported it to the United States shortly thereafter. The car next passed in 1965 to Mitchell Cahn of Bellerose, New York, who retained possession for nearly a decade before selling the 212 in 1974 to Alvin Meyer of Port Washington. Meyer presented the car at the FCA’s 2nd Annual Long Island Meet, the first of numerous club exhibitions.
In 1981 the Europa was acquired by Motor Classic Corporation of White Plains, New York, and refinished in silver over red leather and acquired by the renowned Ferrari collector Anthony Wang. After several years in Mr. Wang’s stable, the 212 was sold in 1986 to Thomas Davis of Manalapan, Florida, where it was painted again, this time in black, its bright-work re-chromed, and the engine thoroughly refreshed by Butch Stokes Automotive.
In 1990 the 212 was acquired by the highly regarded enthusiast Larry Simon, then of Pennsylvania, who commissioned the late Ferrari expert, Wayne Obry, to begin refurbishing the car. As Simon’s interest in the project waned, Obry elected to purchase the car for himself. Between 1991 and 1993, Obry’s “Motion Products” of Neenah, Wisconsin, conducted a fastidious restoration, one of the finest ever undertaken, as would be expected by a master craftsman restoring an automobile for his personal use and as a showcase of his skills. The completed car culminated in a showpiece that has virtually remained unparalleled in modern Ferrari concours circles. And while it is possible to restore a car to a high standard, as any capable restoration expert will tell you, certain cars that come together in perfect harmony – not simply an assemblage of new parts, rather a unified elegant whole.
In its debut at the 1993 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the car reportedly became the first Ferrari to score a perfect 100 point score at this renowned event. An extensive exhibition tour followed at various FCA meets, starting with the 3rd Annual Cavallino Classic in February 1994, where the 212 won the Cavallino Cup for Best in Show, as well as the Excellence Cup for best restoration. At the International Ferrari Concours d’Elegance at Monterey in August 1994, the Inter won its class. Two months later, it was presented at the Central States Region’s Lake Forest Sportscars Concours d’Elegance in Illinois. In 1995, Obry brought his Pinin Farina-bodied coupe back to the Cavallino Classic and displayed it at the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance. Shortly thereafter historian Marc Sonnery profiled the car in the December 1997 issue of Cavallino.
In spring of 2000, this exceptional 212 Europa was offered in California finding a new home with Richard Fraser of Boca Grande, Florida. Mr. Fraser continued the car’s distinguished exhibition run, with appearances at the 2002 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance and presentation by none other than Paul Russell at the Castle Hill Concours d’Elegance in Massachusetts. In January 2006 and 2011, the Ferrari again made returns to the Cavallino Classic, acquiring its third Platinum Award at the latter date.
Under current ownership, the award-winning restoration was freshened with a thorough bout of attention (receipts on file total $56,000), once again, from Wayne Obry’s Motion Products, the foremost experts on this car. Continued showing of this outstanding Ferrari at various events, including the 2015 Mar-a-Lago (earning an Excellence in Class Award) and 2016 Cavallino Classic (where it had been invited back as a previous Best of Show Winner), and the 2015 Classic Sports Sunday Concours at Mar-a-Lago, and again at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for display only. The car received its most recent Platinum Award at the 2015 Concorso Ferrari in Pasadena, and has since been on display at the Peterson Automotive Museum. Chassis number 0263 EU was also the subject of a third extensive color print feature in the December 2015 issue of Forza magazine.
Today the car remains as breathtaking as it did on the Turin stage in 1953. The paint is excellent overall. All cosmetics are done to the highest standards. The interior remains in excellent condition in all aspects including supple and taut leather, very nice carpeting, and an impeccable dashboard featuring stunning instrumentation accented by beautifully shaped serpentine trim. All components come together in what has to be regarded as one of the finest interiors of this period.
Under the hood once again, there is a unified collection of accurate parts and components, brought together in elegant harmony. The Ferrari engine is correctly featured with proper finishes, wiring, clamps, and proper components, worthy of the 100 point Pebble Beach recognition. As expected, the undercarriage has been very nicely detailed and finished, showing almost no mellowing since Obry’s restoration whatsoever.
The car starts and drives as one might expect a car of this vintage to perform. Steering and cornering are typical of the period with the driving position being upright and visibility quite good throughout. The engine runs well at a range of rpms with particularly good power, owing to improvements in engine, materials, and testing technology incorporated into recent restorations of this standard. The original and currently 5-speed transmission operates beautifully with well-matched ratios including an overdrive 5th.
Incredibly rare coachwork, unprecedented period and recent show history, including having been one of Ferrari’s official show cars, this Europa is readily recognized as one of the most important 212s in existence today. This significant Ferrari can be entered into the California Mille, Colorado Grand, and Mille Miglia, among other significant tour events worldwide. Separately, it would make an idle entry to the Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance, where it has not yet garnered awards. This rare car is offered with FIA papers and a boxed modern Tremec 5-speed transmission for such events. The world class care and award winning restoration by legendary Ferrari expert Wayne Obry, culminates in this superb example of Italian elegance.
Interesting offers included trades, up or down, are welcome.
Featured articles and literary citations include:
1994 Prancing Horse Magazine, Allan Boe
1997 Cavallino #102, profiled by historian Marc Sonnery, pgs.34-40. Excellent detailed photos and article on this car
"The Road Cars" by Antoine Prunet. Featured on pages 80 and 84
Ferrari Pininfarina by Style Auto, page 27, full page, 2 photos
Ferrari & Pininfarina, by Gianni Rogliatti, page 23, full page, two photos
December 2015, Forza magazine, featured article
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