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1974 Ferrari 312PB 'evo'


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#1 markpde

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 11:36

The thread concerning the 1973 Ferrari 312B3 'Spazzaneve' reminded me of a feature in Motoring News in early 1974 (or possibly late '73) about the cancellation of the 312PB sportscar project. There was a photo of an 'evoluzione' 312P with Niki Lauda at the wheel. Like the 'Spazzaneve' it was a striking looking car, far more so than its predecessors, with (IIRC) a full-width front aerofoil. It was a shame it never got to race. I suspect Lauda might have been instrumental in pulling the plug in order to focus on the Formula One effort, but that's just speculation.

Does anyone have any photos or details? Was it built around an existing 312PB chassis, or was it new? Does it still exist today?

When you think about it (correct me if I'm wrong - I'm sure somebody will!), that chassis was the very last works Ferrari sports racing car (if you exclude GTs, although I'm not even sure about that). I'm probably wrong, although wouldn't it be awesome to see them - and Porsche - back at Le Mans?

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#2 jcbc3

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 12:34

The 333SP is in a grey zone but could be considered a works car.

Wikipedia entry

#3 tinkerwinker

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 13:22

I've seen pictures of this car in "FERRARI Sports Racing & Prototype Cars" by Antoine Prunet. Will try to fond time to scan if no one else has them.

#4 Duc-Man

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 13:32

I found two pictures using google.
Here they are:

Posted Image

Posted Image

Both were posted on (or in?) a thread about the targa florio on forum-auto.com on pages 608 and 804.

Here is the link: hope your good in italian.

#5 tinkerwinker

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 13:40

That's it, not exactly a thing of beauty, doesn't have the flowing lines of the 312PB

#6 f1steveuk

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 13:43

That has to be the world's oddest airbox! It must feed air down the inside edges of the roll hoop, would have been better to have had two intakes!

#7 tinkerwinker

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 13:55

I hadn't actually noticed that, but you're right, can't have been the most efficient system. They'd had twin airboxes on the early 1973 cars, and then tried to "T" shaped centre airbox later in the year, usually on the Merzario/Pace car

Edited by tinkerwinker, 19 June 2010 - 13:56.


#8 MCS

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 13:57

The 333SP is in a grey zone but could be considered a works car.

Wikipedia entry


How could it be considered a works car? :confused:

#9 Formula Once

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 14:12

How could it be considered a works car? :confused:


The 333 SP was never intended, nor considered, to be a works effort, Maranello "supported" that program much in the way as it would later "support" teams running the 575, 360 and 430 GT1 and GT2-cars.

The 312 PB-program was cancelled after Luca di Montezemolo (pushed by both Regazzoni and Lauda) convinced Enzo Ferrari that in order to get the F1-team back on track all (available) money and attention should go in that direction. Ferrari was in bad shape financially and could not afford to invest in both programs (and the 312 PB-project needed just that given Matra's performance), while F1 by then was becoming more lucrative and more popular than sportscar racing, which until then Enzo was said to have found more important, as John Surtees had often experienced.

#10 Doug Nye

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Posted 19 June 2010 - 20:29

I vividly remember when we first saw these pix of the ghastly 1974 prototype PB. We owe de Montezemolo and Lauda a deep gratitude of thanks for so quickly having it put down...

DCN

#11 aditya-now

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 01:02

There was a photo of an 'evoluzione' 312P with Niki Lauda at the wheel. Like the 'Spazzaneve' it was a striking looking car, far more so than its predecessors, with (IIRC) a full-width front aerofoil. It was a shame it never got to race. I suspect Lauda might have been instrumental in pulling the plug in order to focus on the Formula One effort, but that's just speculation.


Luckily they shelved the car. If striking looking, than strikingly ugly. Thanks to Niki for cancelling the project.


#12 David M. Kane

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 04:59

I'll give em points for creativity.

#13 Wouter Melissen

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 10:47

Which chassis did they try this body on? Was it a new car or one of the existing PBs?

#14 tinkerwinker

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Posted 20 June 2010 - 12:36

Found the image in the Prunet book

Posted Image

Posted Image

#15 arttidesco

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 06:44

Not heard of this before and frankly it's not hard to see why looks like it is a scaled up version of a 'high drag' fantasy matchbox toy :rotfl:

Thanks to everyone who contributed :-)

#16 markpde

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 14:12

Which chassis did they try this body on? Was it a new car or one of the existing PBs?

That's what I wondered. I would suspect it was one of the existing PBs - I've no idea about their history, but maybe somebody will be able to figure out which one? Or if they're all accounted for, maybe that would mean it was a new chassis. Presumably it no longer exists (although if it did it would probably be kept under a dust-sheet ;) )?

I suppose it was ugly, right enough. I only remembered the full-width front wing. Maybe the photo I referred to with Lauda at the wheel was an even later evolution, although it was probably what's been shown here. The airbox was weird - I guess Forghieri was trying to cut down on drag, having one airbox instead of two.

To quote from tinkerwinker's scan, "With the 312PB an exciting adventure had come to an end. For how long - we wonder?" Over 36 years, and counting... :cry:
(And even though the 330 SP was never even remotely a 'works' Ferrari, maybe it reminded us of what could be.)

As 'art' said in the previous post, thanks to everyone for contributing. When I asked about the car in the first post, I meant 'striking' in the sense of 'strikingly beautiful', but I'd only ever seen one photo, 36 years ago, and if you keep pictures in your head for that long, I suppose some of them get distorted! :well:

Nostalgia... :rolleyes:

Edited by markpde, 21 June 2010 - 14:13.


#17 Formula Once

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 15:01

I actually didn't know Lauda had also driven the car, too. It would be interesting to see a picture of him doing so.

As for the car's looks, the faster it would have gone, the more beautiful it would have become...

#18 arttidesco

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 16:20

Seek and ye shall find ....


Niki Lauda driving in a 312PB :-)

Good deed for the TNF day done I think :-)

#19 arttidesco

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 16:22

Just noticed this 1974 chassis seems a bit asymmetric round the chassis sills between the wheels I am sure the older 1973 312 PB did not have an intake in either sill ?

Edited by arttidesco, 21 June 2010 - 16:35.


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#20 tinkerwinker

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Posted 21 June 2010 - 17:26

The picture from Autosprint definitely seem later than the pictures from Prunet's book. The front wing has been added, and as you say, the monococque has some ducting low down behind the right hand wheel, and exit louvres ahead of the right rear, possibly a revised oil cooler layout???



#21 proviz

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 05:08

Just noticed this 1974 chassis seems a bit asymmetric round the chassis sills between the wheels I am sure the older 1973 312 PB did not have an intake in either sill ?


Well, there was an experimental chassis in 1973, which had an oil cooler on the right side, very much like the one in photos above. It also had a central airbox for the engine, a different rear wing and lower engine cover, particularly in the middle. It was raced by Arturo Merzario and Carlos Pace from Nürburgring 1000 kms on. That car has been reported as chassis 0896. Makes one wonder whether this off-season test hack could have been built on the same chassis.
The shorter wheelbase needs explanation, though.

Edited by proviz, 22 June 2010 - 05:11.


#22 arttidesco

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 08:56

Just had a quick search of 312 PB images it does indeed appear that Ferrari started opening up vents in the 312 PB as early as the 1972 Targa Florio as can be seen on Art Mezario's winning chassis #0884.

These vents were used again at Targa in 1973 on chassis #0892 and on chassis #0894 neither of which finished.

Two weeks later the 2nd place chassis #0890 appears to have had the vent turned through 180 degrees into a scoop for the Nurburgring 1000 kms a modification not used on the winning chassis #0888.

Chassis #0890 still appears to carry the scoop first seen at the Nurburgring in 1973 which all suggests that the 312 PB 74 was a one off chassis.



#23 proviz

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 14:09


Those "deformations" in the side of Ferrari 312PBs used in Targa Florio were normally bulges that hid a spare wheel behind them.

#24 arttidesco

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 14:17

Those "deformations" in the side of Ferrari 312PBs used in Targa Florio were normally bulges that hid a spare wheel behind them.


Doh! so not cooling openings at all ? :blush:

Does that mean the spare tyre was under the drivers door so to speak ? Was it a front / rear or space saving tyre ?

I seem to remember the original 917's carried a spare space saver in the tail.

Well at least that leaves chassis #0890 as the odd 312 PB out with an intake on the drivers side.

#25 Pushkin

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 14:17

What a lucky escape!

I've always been interested in Group 6 racing from 1972-1977 perhaps because it was just before I was old enought to start taking an active interest in motor sport.

And I have long considered the 1973 312PB as being one of the most beautiful racing cars ever built. I have therefore always regretted Ferrari's withdrawal in 1974 but now I'm inclined to think it might have been a good thing....

#26 Formula Once

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 14:19

I have just asked one of the mechanics who worked on the sportscar and F1-team at the time and as far as he remembers a 312PB-chassis was used for the 1974-car, but he does not recall whether it was a chassis that had already been used for racing in 1973 (or earlier) and it may very well have been a new (spare) one.

The car Lauda and Regazzoni tested in the winter of 1973 may have been destroyed by the factory later, as early on in 1974 all remaining 312 PB bits were detsroyed; for tax reasons none of the stock that could be used or quickly sold were destroyed in those days and since the sportscar program was axed, their was no use in keeping them.

The 1974-spec 312 PB almost certainly can't have survived in its testing guise as it would most probabbly have long since resurfaced somewhere somehow. And if a chassis of a 312 PB with racing history was used for it, that would most likely have been converted back to its original racing spec as that would been more lucrative to sell. The history files of none of the 312 PB built mention such a conversion, though, but that doesn't mean it can't have happened.

#27 arttidesco

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 14:31

What a lucky escape!

I've always been interested in Group 6 racing from 1972-1977 perhaps because it was just before I was old enought to start taking an active interest in motor sport.

And I have long considered the 1973 312PB as being one of the most beautiful racing cars ever built. I have therefore always regretted Ferrari's withdrawal in 1974 but now I'm inclined to think it might have been a good thing....


It certainly was, with the benefit of hindsight, a good thing for Niki Lauda and Ferrari that they withdrew from sports cars in 1974, given that Ferrari was short of money at the time and that Ferrari went on to win WDC's in 1975,77 and 79 and winning WCC's in '75, '76, '77, and '79, laying down an unequalled yard stick of F1 domination at that point in F1 history.

Edited by arttidesco, 22 June 2010 - 14:32.


#28 markpde

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 14:45

That's the funniest thing re. the spare wheels - I was looking through Paul Frere's 'The Racing Porsches' (for the umpteenth time!) on Sunday night - there was a photo of a 908/3 with a spare wheel beside the engine on the driver's side and the caption pointed out that it was only carried on the Targa Florio. I'd never noticed before. Unlike the 917s I don't think the 908/3s carried a spare wheel otherwise - maybe a difference between Group 4 and Group 6?

Formula Once's post is really interesting, too. Everybody probably knows that all the Sharknoses were destroyed, for example, and Ferrari was accused of being unsentimental or even callous, but maybe tax issues were the real reason?

I think the '74 312PB is dead, myself - dead as in 'scrapped'. Beauty is only skin deep, but it was its looks that killed it. Either that or the tax man. ):

What does anyone think of 'retro' conversions, though? Gunnar Racing, for example, converted a 1974 Martini 911 Turbo back to 1973 spec. Maybe it was the one which won the Targa Florio, but to me that's just silly.

#29 markpde

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 14:52

It certainly was, with the benefit of hindsight, a good thing for Niki Lauda and Ferrari that they withdrew from sports cars in 1974, given that Ferrari was short of money at the time and that Ferrari went on to win WDC's in 1975,77 and 79 and winning WCC's in '75, '76, '77, and '79, laying down an unequalled yard stick of F1 domination at that point in F1 history.

I've always thought Niki Lauda would have been dead against continuing with the sportscar project. He was behind the wheel in the photo I saw in '74, but I'm actually surprised he even drove it. I'm sure he didn't want anything to do with it, but I expect it would have been in his contract. It was that single-mindedness that sorted Ferrari out, I suppose.

#30 arttidesco

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Posted 22 June 2010 - 15:10

Maybe Niki did not like the trade off between the top cars in sports cars against the gentleman drivers of the lesser classes either that or maybe he did not want to take the risk of getting teamed up with poor old Otto Stuppacher... again! :rotfl:

#31 tinkerwinker

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 14:59

Posted Image

Just found this picture of a privately owned 312PB at the 1976 F2 Thruxton meeting. Personally think this was when the 312PB looked at it's best, a very simple little car

#32 Formula Once

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 18:33

I don't think he would have had much time to race it anyway as he was contracted to Ford to race th Capri in 1974 no?

#33 arttidesco

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Posted 24 June 2010 - 19:40

I don't think he would have had much time to race it anyway as he was contracted to Ford to race th Capri in 1974 no?


Posted Image

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Yes I noticed that Niki had a Capri schedule too, highly ironic and wonder how he pulled it off, the relations between Mr Ferrari and Ford management must have thawed since the 60's when Ford had wanted to purchase Ferrari.


#34 arttidesco

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 06:58

Another pic of the 1974 312 PB 'Evo' :-)

From this angle rather reminds me of the 1975 2 litre Toj sports car of course I can't find a pic to back that up :well:

#35 tinkerwinker

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 12:33

Doh! so not cooling openings at all ? :blush:

Does that mean the spare tyre was under the drivers door so to speak ? Was it a front / rear or space saving tyre ?

I seem to remember the original 917's carried a spare space saver in the tail.

Well at least that leaves chassis #0890 as the odd 312 PB out with an intake on the drivers side.


Found this picture of #0890 with Jan Lammers driving

http://www.ultimatec...i-312-PB_16.jpg



#36 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 21:52

Which chassis did they try this body on? Was it a new car or one of the existing PBs?

The PB's were raced until 1973. Basically all were sold off to different Ferrari collectors: Bardinon, Obrist (2 cars!), Cluxton (3 cars!!) and some more. Also Clay Regazzoni owned one when he had returned at Ferrari.
When inspecting a 312 PB one can see that many parts have been stamped with one of the chassis numbers of the 312 PB manufactured (0876 up to 0898). During racing Ferrari has mixed so many parts that one 312 may have parts from all PB's made. Car 0878 (Giunti crash) got chassis 0880. And so on. My point: Ferrari did fettle around with the PB's a lot.

My opinion is that it is quite unlikely that Ferrari build a separate car for the 1974 testing and then disassembled it again. He was short on cash. This also as Ferrari had still many of the 312 PB (if not all) in the house end 1973. All are still around today bar 0876: the presentation car of 1971 (or did I miss something?).

A clue also could be the wheelbase. The 1971 version had 2220 mm, while for 1973 Ferrari moved to 2380 mm (+16cm). At Le Mans all cars where LWB: 0888, 0892 and 0896. Also 0890 and 0894 have been enlarged. Mind the 1973 development of the PB was completely without Forghieri who was sidelined. The 1974 proto was clearly a short wheelbase. Thus possibly one of the cars that remained in 1971-1972 trim: 0876, 0880 - 0886. One of those 5 I would say. Most look quite as they were raced. Maybe thus 0876.

On the decision to stop the sports car program: Often it is cited that Lauda only wanted to do F1 and Montezemolo convinced Ferrari. Other factors have to be takeinto account. Enzo Ferrari had been recovering from a severe illness due to medicines (Ferrari had in fact feared for his life). He must have seen it was useless to fight the Matra's and Porsche's into 1974. Better to wait for a future chance.
Also there was an engineering problem. Colombo and other engineers had left the Scuderia that opened the door for Forghieri again who had worked on the Spazzaneve. F1 always had Ferrari's main interest.

Edited by Arjan de Roos, 28 June 2010 - 21:56.


#37 arttidesco

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Posted 28 June 2010 - 22:38

Wow! what a mine of information you have presented for us Arjan thanks for taking the time, page 443 of post 14 above mentions a 'shortened wheel base' being used for the unraced '74 PB may be the writer did not realise the '71/'72 cars had shorter wheel bases to start with ?

#38 arttidesco

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Posted 04 August 2011 - 23:48

Thanks to everyone who's contributions to this thread inspired me to post today's Ferrari Friday blog :up:

#39 Arjan de Roos

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 06:29

Good but short piece. I am fairly certain copyrights for pictures are with Autosprint.

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#40 Bruno

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Posted 05 August 2011 - 07:26

Yes, At Fiorano: (5 pics)

http://brunodaytona6...2_pb_lauda.html



and at Le Castelet: (2 pics)

http://brunodaytona6...ais_312_pb.html

#41 Simon Davis

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Posted 07 August 2011 - 10:31

Readers of this thread may be interested in what Ian Bamsey wrote in 'Ferrari 312 & 512 Sports Racing Cars - The Porsche Hunters'.

"...late in the season a '74 development car did appear. This reflected contemporary Formula One thinking with chisel nose featuring a full width front wing, the oil radiator again in the sponson and high air box. It had a shorter, Formula One wheelbase and a radically revised tail, an extension behind the roll bar reviving the 'aerodynamic roll bar' concept, with the air box upon it and a high rear wing mounted on vertical plates extending behind it. The car looked like a Can Am special and lapped Fiorano in November and Ricard in December, only to have a dust sheet thrown over it thereafter as a revitalized Grand Prix programme commanded all Ferrari's effort..."