1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta

Restoration log by Dan Mooney



Specification (briefly) for this project is as follows:

This spectacular Ferrari 212 Barchetta was a gift from Enzo Ferrari to Henry Ford in 1952. It is the last Barchetta built and believed to be the very first left hand drive Ferrari ever built. It was used as a design influence for the upcoming Ford Thunderbird and is equipped with wide whitewall tires courtesy of Henry Ford's neighbor, a certain Harvey Firestone Jr. The car is one of the most important exhibits at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles.

We have been tasked with rebuilding the cylinder heads, fabricating a new exhaust, rebuilding and tuning the Weber carbs, replacing failed fuel lines, all coolant hoses, rebuilding the clutch and rebuilding the braking system.


Update report - December 16, 2022
Test driving the world famous "Henry Ford" Ferrari 212 Barchetta

Update report - December 15, 2022
With our work now complete, it is time for this wonderful old car to return home to the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles!

Road testing one of the most important
Ferraris in the world!

A new set of Firestone whitewalls have
been installed

Update report - December 7, 2022
With the rebuilt cylinder heads reinstalled, we excitedly set off on a maiden test drive only to discover that the clutch was 100% inoperative! Although it looked as if it might be possible to remove the transmission to access the clutch and flywheel, we decided to remove the engine in order to address some serious oil leaks all over the engine, particularly around the front timing chain cover. With the transmission separated from the engine, we discovered that several pressure plate nuts were finger tight, causing deflection in the pressure plate when the clutch was engaged. This in turn had caused serious hot spots on the clutch and the flywheel.

Most of the interior was removed in order
to access the transmission

Removing the engine

Pressure plate cover was loose

Note serious hot spots!

Flywheel was machined and surfaced

We dealt with several gearbox leaks while
we had the transmission removed

Corey removed the timing chain cover to
seal up the front of the engine

Luke going back with the rebuilt clutch

Going back in with the engine

Time for a test drive!

Update report - October 6, 2022
Time to reinstall the cylinder heads!

Custom head gaskets made
specially for this job

Update report - October 4, 2022

Cylinder heads were resurfaced prior
to final assembly

Reassembly underway

Measuring valve lash

Heads now fully rebuilt and assembled

Update report - October 3, 2022
Cylinder head machine work underway.

Cam saddles were out of alignment so cylinder
heads required align honing

A view down the cam saddles

Corey align honing one of the heads

Designing and blue printing new custom valves

Corey machining the requisite tapers in the
new valve stems

Honing valve guides

Trial fitting new exhaust prior to ceramic
coating black

Update report - September 23, 2022
Removing the cylinder heads and removing the exhaust for replacement. The exhaust had been contaminated with decades worth of oil and fuel and was really beyond saving, so we decided to fabricate a new stainless system for the car, which we will ceramic coat satin black, per the original.

Elaborate leather insulating pads for the exhaust tips

The old exhaust is compromised after
decades of oil and excess fuel
had built up internally

Headers will be cleaned out internally and
ceramic coated

Evidence of significant oiling inside headers

Time to remove the cylinder heads
for rebuilding

Both heads now removed

Measuring extreme wear in the original valve stems

Huge stem to guide clearance no
doubt the cause of oiling issues

3 valve seats have been replaced in the
past, everything else looks original

pdate report - August 18, 2022
Initial inspection revealed lots of fuel leaks, significant oil leaks and a lot of exhaust smoke! The main reason the car has been sent to us was excessive smoking through the exhaust. It is quite likely that we will end up removing and rebuilding the cylinder heads in order to cure this issue, although having observed an extremely rich tune we decided to rebuild and tune the Webers first to establish how much of the smoke was oil and how much could be attributed to an overly rich mixture. Unfortunately, although rebuilding the carbs certainly reduced the exhaust smoke, the fundamental problem remained.

Compression test was healthy and consistent
across the board

Several fuel lines had significant leaks and
will be replaced

Rebuild of the Webers underway

Update report - August 11, 2022

It is a real privilege to be entrusted with such an important piece of history.

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