Ferraris were campaigned frequently and with ferocity by both the factory and wealthy privateers, and the company’s reputation during its early days hinged on the success of its race cars. During these early years, Ferrari created a chassis numbering system that would create legends: the competition cars would be designated an even numbered chassis, whilst road going cars would receive odd chassis numbers. Whilst numerous road going “Inter” models would be built afterwards by Ferrari, this 212 Barchetta would be the final Touring-bodied, race-ready “Export” model built by the factory and fitted with the potent Tipo 212 engine. In today’s market, the “holy grail” for any tifosi is an even-numbered V-12 Barchetta, such as the Ferrari offered here.
Chassis 0158 ED remained in its native Italy for its formative years. It was purchased new by Baron Luigi Bordonaro di Chiaramonte shortly after its completion and a factory road-test on 5 February 1952. Even in the earliest days of the company, Bordonaro was already a previous Ferrari owner, as he had purchased a second-hand 166 Allemano Spider (chassis number 006I) in 1949, and he would go own to own a 750 Monza (chassis number 0530M).
Like his 166, the Count’s new 212 would be destined for the race track, with Bordonaro campaigning the car in his native Italy from 1952 to 1955. After great success at the Palermo-Monte Pellegrino Hill Climb in April 1952, where he finished 1st overall, Bordonaro entered his new car in one of the greatest motoring events in the world: the Targa Florio. For a privateer, his 10th overall and 5th in class finishes were incredibly impressive and a testament to Bordonaro’s skill behind the wheel of his little red Barchetta.
The remainder of the 1952 season proved to be equally fruitful, with the following year starting off with a 2nd overall at the car’s second outing at the Palermo-Monte Pellegrino Hill Climb. Bordonaro then entered the Targa Florio again, finishing a respectable 16th place. Following a pair of 1st place finishes at the Coppa Dei Templi and the Rigano-Bellolampo Hill Climb, Bordonaro finished 3rd at the III Circuito di Reggio di Calabria, and he would continue his winning ways at the VI Coppa Nissena Hill Climb on 27 September 1953. It is important to note that on 6 June 1952, the original Tipo 225 rear axle was replaced by a stronger Tipo 340 rear axle.
A minor accident to the rear end of the car during the Giro di Sicilia in April 1954 took 0158 ED out of contention for any major events that season. Nevertheless, the Ferrari returned to the track after it was repaired, and it was raced at the VI Gran Premio Pergusa in August, which was its last race of that year. Chassis 0158 ED returned for the 1955 season, placing 1st overall in its first and only outing for the year at the Palermo-Monte Pellegrino Hill Climb on 11 April, showing that the car could still remain competitive two years after it was built.
Shortly thereafter, the car was sold to Edouard Margairuz, of Geneva, Switzerland, and registered as GE-30550. He continued to campaign it throughout 1956, with the car’s most notable outing that year being the Mille Miglia, where Edouard Margairuz was behind the wheel and Robert Gremaud was his navigator. However, after many competitive miles, the car did not finish. This did not discourage Margairuz though, and the car was campaigned in four more events under his name.