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The unholy trinity

3 years ago

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Mel Nichols | Journalist


20 September 2021

In the mid Seventies, car magazine editors like me were racing to pull off the big one: comparing the Ferrari 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer, Lamborghini Countach LP400 and Porsche 911 Turbo. There were few in the UK. After trying for more than a year, I pinched myself when, finally, LJK Setright and I had all three cars side-by-side, and plenty of time to drive them. At last, we’d know which was the world’s best supercar.

In the days before, I’d learned that the Boxer was more genial than I’d expected. Ferrari was keen for it to have a low tail and best possible rear vision. That was one reason why engineering boss Angelo Bellei and road car engine chief Giuliano de Angelis opted for a flat-12, levelling the 60 degree bank of the Daytona’s 4.4-litre V12 to a full 180 degrees, but retaining the same 81 x 71mm bore and stroke.

And I’d soon found that while Leonardo Fioravanti capitalised on that gift to design a mid-engined body with an unusually glassy cabin, the Boxer was really all about the guts and soul of its mighty powerplant. How could it be otherwise: it was a cousin of Ferrari’s all-conquering 3-litre 12-cylinder flat-12 F1 engine, though it should be mentioned that neither engine was a true ‘boxer’.

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