Not much action going on here, guys, but still one of those special occasions that rarely happen. Yes, because seeing this Sci-Fi UFO moving is always something amazing and that would never have happened if the American collector James Glickenhaus hadn’t bought it in 2014. The Modulo was unveiled in 1970 as a pure concept car/mockup without any mechanical component. It was designed by the Italian designer Paolo Martin of Pininfarina starting from a Ferrari 512S chassis that was given by Ferrari itself after the engine and transmission were removed for this purpose.

Inspired by the space exploration and futuristic themes very popular at the time, Martin designed a vehicle with an unusual shape, equipped with graphically specular solutions considered even too futuristic for the time, for example the absence of any typical door, replaced by that one-piece windshield and roof which was manually moved forward to allow entry. This solution allowed to have a very low car (only 93 cm from the ground) with a unique design typical of the Wedge Era. Even interiors were cutting edge: just look at that particular sphere in which all the controls are arranged with buttons facing the driver. At its unveil the car was painted in a metallic black but later re-painted in white. The Modulo managed to win 22 awards for its design.

It was kept in Pininfarina hands until 2014 when Glickenhaus wanted to buy and restore it to full operating conditions. With the help of the Italian company Manifattura Automobili Torino the 512 S Modulo was able to grind the first kilometers. For the engine, they managed to find an original Ferrari Type 261C 5-litre 60° V12 originally mounted on the 512 S Group 5 race car and which was able to produce around 550hp at 8,000 rpm. Aiming to use the Modulo on the streets (mainly for the brief dynamic parts of some Concours d’Elegance) the racing engine has been fitted with a big single muffler. You can see it in this video I made at Villa d’Este in 2019 at 2 min and 33 sec:

As I said at the beginning of the description, the 512 S Modulo was built as a static show car so in its design process some solutions to cool a possible engine weren’t really studied and develped but just outlined and integrated with the car’s design (circle holes on the black engine hood and the two small lateral air vents for radiators). After the Italian Villa d’Este Concours d’Elegance, James entered the Modulo in the Elégance et Automobile à Monte-Carlo in June of the same year, an event that has some very dynamic parts with some driving required on public roads up on the hills around Monaco. Probably helped by the heat of the summer season, the rear of the car was melt and damaged by that huge single muffler which got too hot being not enough cooled. Here’s a picture of the aftermath:…

The Modulo was immediately put into a repair process and last February it was brought to James Glickenhaus at Cremona Circuit where Glickenhaus’ crew was testing the new 004C race car, in order to show the car to James and have a brief shakedown on the Italian track. The V12 engine has been also fitted with new mufflers (one for each of the 4 final exhaust pipes instead of the big one) in order to move away the hot exhaust from the bodywork. As much I desired and still desire to see this car being driven quite fast on track, you can understand the amounts of money involved on this machine, so with a bit of good sense I think even those slow few laps were more than satisfactory.