Arizona

18-19 January 2018

1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe by Ghia

  • Chassis no. 0191 EL
  • Engine no. 0191 EL

Please note that Internet bidding is not available for this lot. Interested parties that are unable to attend the sale may register to bid by telephone or place a commission bid online at rmsothebys.com.

  • The Ferrari factory show car at the 1952 Paris Salon
  • Bespoke one-off coachwork by Ghia
  • Originally delivered to Juan Perón, President of Argentina
  • Award-winner at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Cavallino Classic
  • Featured in numerous magazine articles
  • Includes tools and original 212 owner’s manual
  • Incredible history, styling, and provenance


THE JUAN PERÓN 212 INTER

This unique 212 Inter’s resume includes an impressive show-car debut by Ferrari, after which it was acquired by one of the most famous leaders of the 20th century—Juan Perón. More recently restored and recognized at prestigious concours events, chassis 0191 EL is in the first rank of unique, coachbuilt Ferraris.

The sensational Inter began life as the 49th of 73 examples built, completing assembly in late summer of 1952 as chassis no. 0233 EU (in one of the earliest uses of the EU suffix, presaging the forthcoming Europa model). Intended as a show car, the chassis was sent to Ghia in Turin and clothed with one-off coachwork, featuring many of the design cues common to the firm’s Virgil Exner collaborations of the era. The elegant fender and front-fascia treatments echo similar cues found on show cars like the Ghia GS1 and Chrysler D’Elegance. Like those luxury models, the Ferrari was trimmed with a particularly sumptuous interior that abounded in thoughtful ergonomic details, like folding window winders to ease exit and entry and driving comfort, as well as a thickly padded console armrest.

The Inter debuted at the Paris Motor Show in October 1952, perched on the Ferrari stand alongside 0235 EU, a Pinin Farina-bodied cabriolet. It was there that the car was reportedly first spotted by its future owner, Juan Domingo Perón, President of Argentina. A remarkably diverse and divisive leader who was both adored and vilified by his own people, Perón rose to power in the Cold War climate of 1946 behind a populist agenda, and the ideology named for him, Peronism, actually lives on to this day in elements of current Argentine politics.

A true motoring enthusiast, Perón was famed for amassing an immense collection of luxurious automobiles, ranging from Ferraris to Packards. He loved racing, and was a key financier of the careers of two of the country’s rising stars, Juan Manual Fangio and Froilan Gonzalez, supporting their 1950 entry at Le Mans in a Gordini, and putting significant weight behind Fangio’s Formula 1 efforts. Perón financed the construction of a Formula 1 track in Buenos Aires called the Juan Perón October 17 Circuit (in honor of the date of his rise to power), and created a state-funded car company called Justicialista that offered a Porsche-powered two-seat fiberglass sports car.

After seeing the one-off Ghia coupe at Paris in October 1952, Perón made inquiries and a purchase was arranged through an intermediary in Rome. It is likely that the President wished to minimize any publicity surrounding his purchase and its tax consequences, as he faced increasing scrutiny at home. Argentine import taxes for new luxury cars are notoriously steep, and for this reason, the car presumably returned to Maranello so that it could assume the identity of a used car, which happened to be Milan registration number MI 197153. This registration had been in use by another Ghia-bodied Ferrari, chassis 0191 EL, and due to the registration switch, the factory conducted a commensurate chassis renumbering to seal the car’s new identity. It is important to note that this numbering swap involved no exchange of bodies, chassis, or motors; both cars were originally built with the chassis and bodies they wear today, and merely exchanged numbers for the sake of a powerful client’s aversion to taxes and any unfavorable publicity associated with his extravagant tastes.

In 1955, Juan Perón was ousted from power by a military coup, and after he fled the country, the Ghia coupe remained in Argentina, eventually passing to a dealer by the early 1970s. The car was purchased in August 1973 by Conrado Tennina, an Italian living in Buenos Aires, and he retained possession for 14 years before selling it into European ownership in 1987. At that point, the Ferrari was treated to a comprehensive restoration, including a complete mechanical refurbishment, while the exterior was returned to its original and stunning 1952 Paris Salon livery, a two-tone combination of yellow over black with correct whitewall tires.

In December 1999, the car was acquired by the consignor, a highly respected collector of one-off Ferrari show cars, who presented the Ghia coupe at the 2001 Cavallino Classic. In mid-2002 he entrusted the car to the Ferrari specialists at Motion Products in Neenah, Wisconsin, and some minor cosmetic corrections were undertaken in the engine bay to return the finishes and hardware to factory-correct specifications.

The 212 was then displayed at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in August 2002, where it earned a 2nd-in-class award, in a strong endorsement of the European restoration and its more recent freshening. Chassis no. 0191 EL was exhibited at Cavallino again in January 2003, this time garnering a Platinum Award and winning the Excellence Cup, and a month later the historically important Ferrari was the subject of a cover feature in Forza magazine.

Now available for the first time in nearly 20 years, 0191 EL claims rare history and remarkable ownership provenance. It was personally viewed at the 1952 Paris Salon and then acquired by Juan Perón, one of the most significant figures in Latin American politics, and a diehard motorsports enthusiast whose automotive legacy includes the triumphs of Fangio.

Furthermore clothed with one-off Ghia coachwork that ranks among the carrozzeria’s finest efforts, and benefiting from a Pebble Beach and Cavallino award-winning restoration, this exquisite 212 Inter is currently undergoing certification by Ferrari Classiche. It all but guarantees entry to prestigious international events such as Pebble Beach (where it is once again eligible) and the Villa d’Este Concorso d’Eleganza.

Few early Ferrari road cars offer such extraordinary cachet, and the Ghia coupe’s current availability should merit the attention of the world’s most serious collectors and Maranello connoisseurs.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

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California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

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Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

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California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

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Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

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California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

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Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

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California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

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United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

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+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

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United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

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United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

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Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

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+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

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+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more