Veteran to classic

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Ferrari 330GTC and 330GTS, a cut above

The 1930s are often regarded as an era of outstandingly elegant cars, with the coach-builders leading the way. By the end of the decade, however, mass production had changed the face of the car. No longer was it viable for most manufacturers to produce lovingly hand-built machines, and their demise saw the advance of the box on four wheels — a cheaper and easier shape to produce.

Naturally there were some manufacturers who tried to resist the change, but unless they had an established name for top quality, and could therefore charge high prices, they were destined to fail. Since the war, however, a select bank of manufacturers with their spiritual roots in the Thirties has been established, and these have managed to carve for themselves a special niche in the market as purveyors of some of the most expensive and desirable cars, despite their comparative youth. Foremost amongst them is Ferrari.

Yet the company produced fewer than 600 road cars in the first decade of its existence, Enzo Ferrari himself being rather disdainful of them and preferring to concentrate on his racing activities. It was not until he realised their potential for making money, as well as enhancing his reputation, that he really turned his attention to producing road-going cars. Until then they had been made only for individual customers, but there was soon a plethora of models, each with a limited production run and nearly every car different.

The turning point was the 250 Europa, first shown at the Geneva Salon in March 1956. Its success led to other models and lengthier production runs, so that by 1963 there were more than 500 cars a year being made, though their manufacture was still more akin to the Saville Row suit than an off-the-hanger number. The variety of models available, such as the 250GTE 2+2, the 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta, the short-wheelbase 250GT, the 400 Superamerica, the 330 America and the 330GT 2+2, suited most tastes if not all pockets.

By 1965, however, the model line-up had been slightly rationalised. There was now a gap in the range between the sporting 275GTB and the touring 330GT 2+2. The 330GTC thus came into being, a model with a clear evolution trail.

In the 275GTB, Ferrari had a good chassis which had the benefit of all-independent suspension, the first on any road-going Ferrari and derived from the competition 250LM, and a transaxle five-speed gearbox which had been relocated at the rear to redistribute the weight and offset the heavy nose.

It was into this chassis that the new single-overhead-camshaft 60 V12 engine was installed, after some modification to the block to adapt it to the rear transaxle layout. The magnificent 4-litre unit, a development of the 400SA designed by Gioacchino Colombo, with a piston displacement of just over 330cc from which was derived the model designation, first started life in the 330GT 2+2. Fed by three 40DCZ6 carburettors, it developed 300 bhp at 7000 rpm, which gave it a reputed top speed of over 150 mph.

It was already technically a cut above most road-going machinery, but it was Pininfarina’s beautifully elegant body which was really its most admired feature, from the long graceful nose as seen on the Superfast 500 to the tail treatment as seen on the 275GTS. The grace of the car continued a relationship between manufacturer and coach-builder which extended back to 1952, when the Torinese company first erected a body on a 212 Inter Cabriolet.

Although it was primarily a sports-car, Pininfarina built into the 330GTC a number of items considered as luxury additions at the time, such as electric windows and heated rear window (a very rare feature over twenty years ago). Additional sound-proofing added weight to the car, although at 3050 lb (250 lb lighter than the 2+2) it was still respectable.

The car was shown to the public in March 1966 at the Geneva Salon and was the first of 600 produced. With very few exceptions, all were made by Pininfarina at Grugliasco between 1966 and 1968. A drophead version, the 330GTS , followed a few months later , making its debut at the Paris Salon in October 1966.

The 330GTC and GTS developed into the 365GTC and GTS in 1968. Although some exterior changes were made, such as the vents on the side of the bonnet being re-located on the top near the windscreen, it was the enlarged engine, as denoted in the model type number, which was the big difference.

It was not so much the quest for a higher top speed that saw the adoption of a 4.4-litre capacity, but the need for greater torque. There were now 20 more horses willing to be unleashed to help propel the heavier (3350 lb) car. Unfortunately its arrival on the market was badly timed, for new regulations in the United States, for which this car was principally produced, although few ever reached there, forced it prematurely out of production in 1970 — by which time only 170 had been made, 20 of which were the GTS. It remains a most sought-after model for rarity, its good looks, and a performance which almost matches that of the Daytona coupe.

As is confirmed by Michael Fisher, Ferrari dealer based in Sunningdale, right-hand-drive models are very rare. There were 21 such 330GTCs made, and according to Maranello Concessionaires’ records only three of the 330GTSs, although only two are known about. In the 365 series, there were 22 right-hand-drive GTCs and no GTSs, although David Clark of Graypaul converted a 365GTC into a Spyder between 1979 and 1983.

The desirability and rarity of these cars is reflected in the sums they now command. £170,000 would be the asking price for a 330GTC and £275,000 for a 330GTS, while a 365GTC is in the region of £200,000. In each case this is for right-hand-drive models. For a left-hand drive 365GTS you could expect to pay £300,000.

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