Ferrari’s 70th Anniversary in Fiorano attracted some of the finest examples of historic Ferraris ever gathered in one place. Not a huge surprise given that, for Ferraristi, this was the go-to event of a very significant year.
Yet even here certain cars stood out. The yellow 412 P parked up alongside the slightly uphill turn six on the circuit represented a fabulous confluence of compelling factors, the most obvious of which – to anyone who passed by as Ferrari Classiche’s Gigi Barp started it up – was the unholy noise it made. Ferrari has never created a car that didn’t sound good, but this truly was something else.
Its colour is also important, for that yellow is the hue used by Belgium’s famous Ecurie Francorchamps. This was the team run by Jacques Swaters (he was also involved with Ecurie National Belge, whose exploits overlap), one of Enzo Ferrari’s most celebrated friends, dealers and brand adherents.
A customer version of the sainted 330 P3/4 endurance racer, the 412 P had a modified chassis and used six Weber carburettors to feed its 4.0-litre, 414hp V12 instead of the newer Lucas fuel injection.
It was meant to be slightly less demanding to drive, and capable of scoring points finishes without challenging the factory-run cars for top honours, but these things are all relative.
Chassis number 0850 duly raced in the 1967 Daytona 24 Hours, with Willy Mairesse and “Beurlys” (otherwise known as Jean Blaton, who raced under that pseudonym), although sadly without being able to add a fourth-place finish to the celebrated 1-2-3 victory that Ferrari scored that year (it retired with gearbox trouble).
There was a second overall in in the 1967 Paris-Montlhéry 1000km, and a further four competitive outings in 1968.
But perhaps unusually for such an important Ferrari racing car, it’s what happened next that marks chassis number 0850 as a unique proposition. Dean Martin Jr – the fifth of the legendary Rat Pack entertainer and bon vivant’s eight children – was just 18 when he bought the car and had it converted to the Spider configuration for road use.
The denizens of West Hollywood became used to the sight of this fearsome beast driving up and down Sunset Boulevard. It’s notoriously difficult for the offspring of the rich and famous to stand out, but this was certainly one way of achieving it.
(In fact, Dino Jr was highly versatile; a singer, tennis player, actor and aviator, he was killed aged just 35 when his Air National Guard F-4 Phantom crashed in a Californian mountain range in 1987.)
Martin sold it in the mid-1970s, and its next owner, Paul Pappalardo, displayed the car regularly. Lawrence Stroll, well-known Ferrari collector and father of Ferrari driver academy alumni and now F1 pilot Lance Stroll, was the next custodian (it probably sat well alongside his red 330 P3/4, 250 Testa Rossa, and many other Ferraris).
Following a comprehensive restoration and return to its original specification by Ferrari Classiche in 2017, it's now resides in the collection of US entrepreneur Harry Yeaggy. May its 12-cylinder engine never be silenced.