The story of the relationship between Henry Ford II and Enzo Ferrari is absolutely fascinating. The two great men of the auto industry had what appeared to be a burgeoning friendship until Ferrari pulled out of a deal to sell his company to Ford in the ’60s. The latest car featured in Jay Leno’s Garage is a 1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta that tells the very beginnings of that story.
This Prancing Horse was a gift to Ford from Enzo when the two companies were first thinking about merging, according to the curator of the Petersen Automotive Museum. Ferrari really wanted to show off its best so instead of the 212’s normal V12, this car was fitted with the larger 2.7-liter unit from a Ferrari 225. The car has been almost unaltered since then. It still wears its original paint, and it’s tires date back to 1954.
The great thing about the Petersen is that unlike a lot of auto museums, the people there actually drive the cars and keep them in working order. Once on the road with Leno behind the wheel, this Ferrari really sings. Unfortunately, he can’t open it up too much because the 60-year-old tires really hold things back. Scroll down to watch this amazing piece of automotive history and learn it’s possible effect on the styling of the original Ford Thunderbird.