Unique 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Coupe was acquired by one of the most famous leaders of the 20th century – Juan Perón will be offered on sale at RM Sotheby’s Arizona sale.
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.
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.