The Ferrari 212 E was a purpose-built hill climb specialist. Built on the Dino 206 S chassis, this was a one-off experiment for Ferrari. It is a notable model for several reasons, not least of which was its incredible racing success. During the 1968 design and construction of the car, many unorthodox ingredients were added to the 212 E recipe as the designers played around with new techniques.
Powering the Ferrari 212 E is a 2-litre 12-cylinder engine arranged in a boxer configuration. With 300 bhp developed by the small flat-12, the car could reach speeds of up to 250 km/h (155 mph). In fact, this engine had a rather historic lineage, with a precursor being used in the 1965 Formula 1 World Championship. Designer Mauro Forghieri wasn’t thinking about the past when he created the 212 E, however. No, he was looking to the future throughout the design of the car. That’s because he was using the 212 as a testbed for future racers, such as the 312B F1 and 312PB sports racer. Like the Ferrari 212 E, those models used a flat-12 engine, although theirs displaced 3 litres instead of 2.
Ferrari entered the 212 E into the 1969 European Hillclimb Championship, and even they probably couldn’t have predicted what kind of success the car would enjoy. With Peter Schetty behind the wheel, the car would eventually secure first place in every single race it entered. From Montseny to Ollon-Villars, no other manufacturer could touch the Ferrari 212 E. It will come as no surprise, then to learn that the car won the European Hillclimb title that year.
More surprising is the fact that the car was retired after the 1969 season. Evidently, Ferrari had grown bored with dominating the field and decided to let someone else have a crack at the hillclimbs. In 1970, the 212 E was sold to Edoardo Lualdi-Gabardi, who immediately fitted a new body to the car. It was then raced in various hill climb events throughout the 1971 season. A Dino 206 S wears the original 212 E bodywork to this day.