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Coachwork by Pinin Farina
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Tony Parravano, Rome, Italy (acquired new in 1953)Al Allin, Grand Haven, Michigan (acquired by the late 1950s)Perry Fina, New York, New York (acquired by the early 1960s)Alec Ulmann, New York, New York (acquired from the above by the late 1960s)Robert Burstein, Fox Point, Wisconsin (acquired by 1976)John Hallin, Pewaukee, Wisconsin (acquired by 1984)Tom Valerio, San Francisco, California (acquired in early 1991)William Dixon, Seattle, Washington (acquired by February 1991)Kenneth Roath, Newport Beach, California (acquired in 2009)Tom Peck, Laguna Beach, California (acquired in 2013)Current Owner (acquired from the above)
Inaugural ADAC Nürburgring 1000 Km, 1953, Gatsonides/Vignolo, No. 50 (9th Overall, 3rd in Class)
Paris Auto Salon, 1952Brussels Motor Show, 1953FCA Meet at the Indianapolis 500, 1967Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, Como-Cernobbio, Italy, 2012Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, 2012 (Third in Class)FCA National Field and Driving Concours, Palm Springs, California, 2012 (Phil Hill Memorial Award)Cavallino Classic, Palm Beach, Florida, 2013 (Excellence Cup for Best Restoration)Dana Point Concours d’Elegance, 2013The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, Carmel Valley, California, 2013Ferrari Tribute to Spiders, Pebble Beach, California, 2018
In mid-1952, Ferrari began shifting away from the 212 model, which had been produced in competition and street forms under the respective names Export and Inter. A new engine-suffix designation, EU, soon appeared in preparation for new models dubbed Europa, which coincided with Ferrari’s first relationship with coachbuilder Pinin Farina. In a stride toward standardized production, the earliest Pinin Farina-bodied Ferraris shared distinctive eggcrate grilles with chromed surrounds that were flanked by uncovered headlamps, a design cue that was to succeed through several later models.
This important 212 Europa Cabriolet was assembled during August 1952, as detailed in factory build sheets, and thus is among the first Ferraris by serial number to feature the EU engine designation. According to accompanying research, including a Marcel Massini history report, chassis 0235 EU is the third Ferrari to be clothed in Pinin Farina coachwork, the second of two such 212 Cabriolets, and the first PF-bodied Ferrari to feature left-hand drive. Finished in pale metallic blue and upholstered with natural leather, this example was displayed on the manufacturer’s stand at the Paris Salon in October 1952, sharing the exhibit with the Ghia-bodied 212 Inter Coupe owned by Argentina’s Juan Perón.
In January 1953, the Ferrari was displayed at the Brussels Motor Show before returning to Italy and having its certificate of origin issued in March. The Cabriolet was then sold to Tony Parravano, the famed racing principal based in Southern California who campaigned some of the era’s most notable sports racing cars, including historically significant Ferrari models such as the 375 Plus and 410 Sport.
Parravano had entered the inaugural Nürburgring 1000 Km in August 1953 with a factory-owned Maserati A6GCS Coupe to be driven by Hans Herrmann and Jack McAfee. Roberto Rossellini, the famed Italian film director and preferred Ferrari customer, was also entered to campaign another Ferrari 212, but when he dropped out of the race at the last minute, Parravano took advantage of the absence by entering a second car, his new 212 Europa Cabriolet, 0235 EU. McAfee apparently scribbled in the replacement information on his race program. An unedited original copy of the program is retained in the car’s file.
The Cabriolet went on to finish an impressive 9th Overall and 3rd in Class, driven by Ricardo Vignolo and Maurice Gatsonides (the future inventor of the “Gatso” speed-measuring camera). The result was particularly noteworthy considering how many purpose-built race cars finished behind 0235 EU – or failed to even complete the race – including some examples of the Jaguar C-Type, Lancia D24, and Maserati A6GCS. It was the only competition appearance for 0235 EU, which was sold to Luigi Chinetti Motors in the US in late 1954 and eventually went into private ownership.
By the late 1960s, the Ferrari was acquired by Alec Ulmann, the founder of the Sebring endurance races. He returned the Cabriolet to the Maranello factory for proper servicing, after which the car was enjoyed in the US, including attendance at an early FCA meet held at the 1967 Indianapolis 500. In the early 1970s, Mr. Ulmann traded the car back to Chinetti as a deposit for a Ferrari 250 LM. Reflecting on that decision in an original 1984 letter that accompanies the car, Mr. Ulmann wrote of 0235 EU: “To this date, I regret having disposed of it.”
The Europa then relocated to the Midwest, where it was subject to the thencommon practice of having the V-12 engine and gearbox replaced with an American V-8 and a Muncie three-speed transmission. The original engine was sold to John Mastroianni of Armonk, New York, while the factory five-speed gearbox was given to Richard Merritt of Bethesda, Maryland, in return for brokering a sale of the car.
The Ferrari was then repainted in red and the upholstery was dyed black before being sold to John Hallin of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, by 1984. After briefly passing to restoration specialist Tom Valerio of San Francisco, the Cabriolet was purchased in 1991 by investment manager William Dixon of Seattle, who reacquired 0235 EU’s original engine and gearbox by June 1995, as shown on each of those component’s Bill of Sale, copies of both of which reside in this car’s extensive file of documentation.
From 1996 to 2008, the Ferrari was then refurbished by David Castelhano of Jupiter, Florida. While considerable effort was made to source proper factory components, original specifications were not strictly adhered to during this first restoration, as evidenced by the installation of more modern components such as KONI telescopic dampers rather than the proper Houdaille lever-action shock absorbers.
In December 2008, Mr. Dixon offered the Europa for sale, and the following July it was purchased by Kenneth Roath of Newport Beach, California. In 2010, Mr. Roath commissioned the Classiche Department at the Ferrari factory in Maranello to conduct a proper two-year restoration to original specifications, including the reinstallation of proper Houdaille shock absorbers, and a return to Azzurro Metallizzato (Light Blue Metallic) paint over beige leather, as first presented at the 1952 Paris Auto Salon. After the restoration, the 212 was certified by the Ferrari Classiche Department and its Red Book was issued in May 2012. Per this documentation, the engine, numbered 0235 EU, with internal number 154, as well as the gearbox and differential are original to the car.
On the heels of this precise and authentic refurbishment, the sensational Ferrari was issued a FIVA Identity Card and presented at the 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, perhaps the most exclusive of such events worldwide. In August 2012, the Cabriolet was presented at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, garnering a Third in Class, and two months later, the car won the Phil Hill Memorial Award at the FCA National Field and Driving Concours in Palm Springs, California.
The accolades continued for 0235 EU at the 2013 Cavallino Classic in Palm Beach, Florida, where the car was awarded the Excellence Cup for Best Restoration. In late 2013, around the time the 212 was sold to collector Tom Peck, the Europa was featured in a Cavallino magazine cover story in which highly regarded Ferrari historian and author Keith Bluemel narrated the car’s remarkable sojourn from Paris Auto Salon show car to Scuderia Parravano race car at Nürburgring.
This breathtaking 212 Europa joined the consignor’s stable in 2016 as a brilliant exemplar of early Ferrari show cars. Emblematic of the nascent relationship between Ferrari and Pinin Farina as well as a singular racing entry under the legendary Tony Parravano, this historic 212 can expect a warm welcome at the world’s most prestigious events and marque gatherings and would make a crowning addition to most any collection.