Ferrari Modulo Concept drives for the first time

The beautiful and futuristic Ferrari Modulo concept by Pininfarina is now running under its own power after a several-year effort by Jim Glickenhaus and his team.

The Ferrari 512 S is a beautiful, V-12-powered Group 5 racer that captured a win at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1970 and had a prominent role in Steve McQueen’s film Le Mans. Perhaps the most famous 512, however, is one that was never raced. In addition to the 17 cars it completed, Ferrari built enough 512 parts to assemble eight additional cars in order to satisfy the homologation minimum of 25 vehicles. Ferrari had more 512s than it had teams to race them, so it gave one chassis to Pininfarina, in whose hands it was transformed into the Ferrari Modulo concept. The Modulo was unveiled to much acclaim at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show.

Pininfarina designer Paulo Martin is credited with the elegant, futuristic design. The incredibly low car has no doors; instead, a wraparound panel that encases the windshield and side glass slides forward parallel to the thin beltline, supported by two struts between the fender and the hood. The rear wheel is nearly entirely encased in bodywork, with a partial fender skirt revealing the top of the tire. Similarly, almost all of the front wheel is behind the fender, with a trapezoidal opening allowing for at least a few degrees of steering angle. However, it’s alleged that the original concept didn’t even have functional steering.

Under the radical rounded wedge bodywork was the race-bred 512 chassis and the same V-12 engine design that conquered Sebring. The catch? The Modulo never ran. It served perfectly well as a show car and was far more complete than the literal sculptures made of clay that often sit on auto show stages, but the car came to Pininfarina incomplete, meaning the V-12 was never functional. Until recently.

Jim Glickenhaus bought the Modulo in 2014 after the car was on display at Pininfarina for years. The process has taken nearly four years, but the results were obviously worth it, as the clip from Road & Track’s Máté Petrány shows. Now the car is purring along, and although the video shows it without its gorgeous canopy, we can already picture it weaving through New York at night, the closest thing we have to Blade Runner.

We can only imagine the hurdles that Glickenhaus had to clear while making such a rare piece of machinery roadworthy. Our hats are off to him and his team.

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