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1970 Ferrari 512S #21

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The 1970 12 hours of  Sebring was won in a storybook finish by Mario Andretti in the #21 1970 Ferrari 512S (5litre 12-cylinder, chassis 1026), and it was just the beginning of the legendary battle between Ferrari and Porsche. The Porsche 917 took the remaining 9 championship wins. From 1969-1970 twenty five Ferrari 512S (the minimum build to be homologated) were built under the direction of designer Forghieri, and to keep up with Porsche, Enzo Ferrari derived the funds for the project by selling a one-half interest to Fiat. After 227 laps at Sebring, Mario Andretti who had started at pole in the #19 Ferrari 512S was forced to retire with a faulty gearbox but jumped into the #21 512S of teammates Giunti/Vaccarella. Two Porsches led Andretti by more than a lap. One of those, the smaller 908 Porsche, was driven by Peter Revson, the cosmetics heir, and Steve McQueen, the movie star known as "The King of Cool." McQueen, driving with a bandaged foot broken a week earlier in a motorcycle race accident, was the center of attention even though his partner Revson was the workhorse, racing for more than eight hours.  The incessant announcements, "Steve McQueen, Steve McQueen, Steve McQueen," over the public address system fired up Andretti to the point of no return, and near the finish he made up the lost lap and passed the 908 Porsche again to win by 22 seconds. By 1972 the 5 litre class was abandoned, and the Ferrari 312PB became World Champion repeatedly.


1970 FERRARI 512S #21 model by Michele Conti 1:11 scale

The fabled #21 car that Andretti drove to victory at Sebring was changed to #7 at  the 24hr of Le Mans with the great Derek Bell and Ronnie Peterson as co-drivers. On the 39th lap after only an hour and a half, the car's engine broke on the Mulsanne straight due to excessive rpm avoiding a crash. Meanwhile, the passion for racing had touched Steve McQueen's heart closely. "Racing is life," he said, "before and after is just waiting. You use the car and yourself as one unit like an umbilical connection between man and machine."  He set out to race, produce and act in his movie at the 1970 24hr of Le Mans, but ​McQueen's insurance company forced him to stop racing. He chose the film over the race, but he still saw plenty of action!  In 1971 the feature film, Le Mans, was released. Derek Bell had agreed to be in the film and narrowly escaped death. While Bell was readying the car for a film take, the former glory of the #21 Sebring car went up in flames. The Porsche 908 that had captured second at Sebring was used as a camera car like never before, competing in and finishing the actual race (51 cars started, but only 16 completed 24hrs).  Steve's relationships with many of the drivers were a focus of the film. Ahead of his time, he personified reality media, and the dramatic consequences were so intense that another film, the Cannes-selected documentary Steve McQueen: The Man & Le Mans (2015), immortalized this famed sportscar story of 1970.  


Provenance:


W. H. Feber, Switzerland


Michele Conti (1931-1996)


Anthony Goldschmidt (1942-2014)


Included with a Michele Conti Certificate of Authenticity of March 27, 1971

15 ¼ l. x 7 ¼ w. x 3 ¾ h. in.