A 1970s Christmas with two naughty angels and a heavenly Ferrari

It's 1978. You're 19 years old and the rest of your family has just flown to Martinique for the holidays. Never mind: you know where your father keeps the keys to his Ferrari – and what time the local keep-fit class finishes. So Christmas might not be so bad after all…

Home alone; but not for long

It was supposed to be a punishment: you spent most of the last six months hanging out with surfers and bikini-clad girls on the beach in Antibes, rather than studying hard in college, so you’re not allowed to fly to Martinique. But your home-alone Christmas is less of a drag, and more of the answer to your dreams. The instant the taxi whisks your family away to the airport, you play 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' by Plastic Bertrand at full blast, and start the search for that hidden box in which your father keeps the keys to the Ferrari. It's a Ferrari 365 GTC/4 – not quite as cool as a ‘Daytona’, maybe, but even the ‘orange tow truck’ in your garage is the envy of half the college. You’ve only had your licence for a year but hey, on the third attempt the engine fires up and you’re away, into the mild December night, pop-up headlights showing the way.

Full moon over St. Tropez

The Ferrari slides along the coastal road, the sound of the 12-cylinder filling the air as the full moon shines on the sea. On the passenger seat is your new Canon A-1 – a Christmas present from Uncle Jean-Pierre in Paris. You happen to know that after their keep-fit class, the local girls go for an Orangina at a bar in the old harbour. So you turn off onto the narrow streets that lead down to the water but, when you arrive at the bar, the girls are gone. You buy a Dr. Pepper, go out again – and discover Françoise and Victoire, standing at the bus stop in their workout clothes. What can you do? You have no choice. You amble over and offer to drive the two of them home. And so you find yourself sitting casually behind the wheel, your two passengers laughing and joking in the passenger seats. Then Victoire discovers your Canon – and suggests that instead of going home, you head to the beach, for a “friendly photoshoot with classmates” in the moonlight. As your tyres screech towards Antibes, you have no idea that this warm December night in 1978 will be a powerful memory, 36 years later. Well, you still have the photographs.

Time travel in good company

Wondering what prompted Classic Driver to come up with this mischievous fantasy? First there was the French, bright orange Ferrari 365 GTC/4 from 1972 in our editorial garage. Then we happened to re-discover a photo-gallery compiled by the Hamburg photographer Ben Bernschneider, set in the 1980s, with pictures of a DeLorean (and two frivolous young ladies as time-travel companions). Persuading Ben to extend his trip back to the 1970s wasn’t difficult. The result was the sizzling set of photos you see here.

Photos: Ben Bernschneider (benbernschneider.com)

The Ferrari 365 GTC/4 has not only pulling power, but investment potential, too.