The ex-Charles Renaud
1951 Ferrari 212 Inter cabriolet
Coachwork by Vignale
Chassis no. 0159E
Engine no. 0159E
• Ferrari Classiche Red Book and Marcel Massini Report
• Award winning, comprehensive exacting restoration performed by renowned specialist
• 2nd-in-class at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, runner-up to Best of Show winner
• 1 of 4 Inter Cabriolets by Vignale
The Ferrari 212 Inter replaced Ferrari's successful 166 and 195 Inter grand tourers in 1951. Unveiled at the Brussels Motor Show that year, the 212 was an evolution of the 166 — a sports car for the road that could also win international races. In 1951, two 212 Inters, both Vignale coupés, driven by Taruffi/Chinetti and Ascari/Villoresi, scored 1–2 victory at Carrera Panamericana in Mexico.
The chassis was similar to the 125 with a suspension featuring double wishbones in front and live axle in back. Coachbuilders included Carrozzeria Touring, Ghia, Ghia-Aigle, Vignale, Stabilimenti Farina, and now Pinin Farina. The latter was an important move for the company, as Farina was already well-known and adding his styling skills would be a tremendous boost for Maranello. However, Pinin Farina was as prideful as Enzo Ferrari, and neither would go to the other to request business up to this point. A mutual meeting halfway between Maranello and Turin was the negotiated solution. First Ferrari to be bodied by Pinin Farina was 212 Inter Cabriolet, chassis no. 0177E.
The Inter's 102.4 in wheelbase was 4" longer than the 98.4 in Export's. The cars shared a larger, bored-out 2563 cc version of Ferrari's Colombo V12 engine. Output was 150 PS for the single Weber 36DCF carburetor Inter, 165 PS for the triple Weber Export. Improved cylinder heads raised power 5 PS in 1952.
NB - OUR CAR WAS UPGRADED WITH THE DESIRABLE COMPETITION SPEC 3 CARBURETTOR CONFIGURATION IN PERIOD AT THE FACTORY BY THE FIRST OWNER.
Our car - #0159
This breathtakingly restored early Ferrari Cabriolet claims a number of noteworthy superlatives, including coachbuilt rarity, a documented history of very few owners, Red Book certification by Ferrari Classiche that verifies the presence of the car's original V-12 engine, and a successful visit to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Chassis no. 0159 E is approximately the 16th of 78 Inter examples built, and the first of four elegantly styled Cabriolets bodied by Vignale. The coachbuilder's exquisite design took the 212 Cabriolet to a new level of elegance, with a large open-mouth grille, chromed front fender strakes, and recessed chromed tail lamps. With almost exclusive use of aluminium alloy in the coachwork, the lightweight Inter was also capable of impressive performance.
Built on a 2,500mm wheelbase, this 212 was completed at the factory in October 1951, as photographically depicted in the 2006 book Making a Difference - Coachbuilt Roadgoing Ferraris of the Fifties and Sixties, by marque authorities Angelo Tito Anselmi and Marcel Massini. According to Massini's history of chassis no. 0159 E, the car was dispatched in October 1951 to a dealership in Rome before being sold to the first owner of record, Peter Staehelin, a student in Basel, Switzerland. Staehelin was a co-founder of the Ecurie Espadon race team, which campaigned two Ferrari Formula 2 monopostos.
In 1953, Mr. Staehelin commissioned the factory to upgrade the Inter's motor to a higher state of tune by modifying the one-carburetor intake to a three-carb set-up, which duplicated the competition configuration of the 212 Export variant. The car was spotted and photographed while parked at the XXIII Annual 24-Hours of Le Mans in June 1955, having been driven there by Staehelin.
In December 1960, the opulent Vignale Cabriolet was purchased by a musician in Thalwil, Switzerland, named Mr. Tellenbach. Domiciled for a year or two, the car passed in 1963 to August Zumsteg, a teacher residing in nearby Kaiserstuhl. Following the cancellation of Mr. Zumsteg's registration in January 1969, the 212 was acquired by Rob de la Rive Box, the noted Dutch dealer and automotive writer. Photographs of the car taken during his ownership were eventually published in books by Marcel Massini and Mr. De la Rive Box. Purchased in January 1971 by L.J. Roy Taylor of Shropshire, England, the elegant Inter was registered in the United Kingdom, and when later tested in August 1973 by Woores Garage Ltd. the car still displayed only 69,788 kilometres.
In October 1973 the Ferrari was sold to Charles Gaston Renaud of Cortaillod, Switzerland, a former Bugatti privateer racer and friend of the first owner, Mr. Staehelin. Mr. Renaud owned the car for several decades, and it was featured in an article about his collection in the December 1999 issue of the French magazine Automobiles Classiques. In 2002 the owner began to disassemble the Vignale Cabriolet for restoration, but he unfortunately passed away four years later with the refurbishment still underway, and 0159 E was domiciled within his estate until 2012.
When the rare cabriolet was acquired then by renowned collector, noted international Ferrari judge and restorer Mr. Heinrich Kämpfer of Seengen, Switzerland, the odometer still displayed just 71,628 kilometres, which are believed to be original. Seeking to confirm 0159 E's provenance and originality, Mr. Kämpfer contacted the Ferrari factory regarding production records and received an email from Ferrari Classiche's Marco Arrighi that engine internal no. 72 corresponded with the car's original V-12 motor. In October 2012, the Inter was submitted to Sahli Karrosserie in Zurich to receive a new paint finish in the original colour of Rosso Bordeaux, and a fully invoiced and photo-documented mechanical and interior restoration was also undertaken. Completed in spring 2014, this work resulted in outstanding factory-correct detail and properly performing systems.
Following the factory issuance of prestigious Ferrari Classiche Red Book certification in April 2014, 0159 E was accepted and presented in August at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where it was awarded second-place in its class. Of great note is the fact that the class winner, chassis no. 0402 AM (the Scaglietti-bodied 375MM originally owned by film director Roberto Rossellini), eventually won Best of Show, making the Cabriolet's second-place award a particularly honorable mention.
Since 2015, 0159 E has formed part of prominent North American collections, while receiving devoted maintenance and detailing. The rare Ferrari was shown at the 2017 Cavallino Classic event in Palm Beach, Florida, where it was admired by the scrutinizing judges.
Displaying the immaculate benefits of the comprehensive restoration, chassis no. 0159 E is an exquisite postwar Ferrari with exceedingly rare coachwork (the first of four Vignale Cabriolets, and the only one to feature the elegantly chromed fender strakes). It is accompanied by factory certification, books and tools, and numerous photographs (including period images taken at the Vignale factory upon its completion, and over 2,200 restoration photos). A sensational example of the early luxury roadcars that Maranello was marketing to support its legendary racing efforts, this superb 212 Vignale Cabriolet would complement any collection of Ferrari roadcars and would make an ideal acquisition for any discerning Italian sports car aficionado.