Sleeping Beauty Nº21: Ferrari 365GTC/4

Few cars can have been as dramatically different from their predecessor as the 365GTC/4. Compared with the ‘Queen Mary’ 365GT 2+2, the new Ferrari was much more compact, with distinctive razor-edge styling and energy-absorbing rubber bumpers.

It is, perhaps, an unfair comparison as the 365GTC/4 was more a successor to the elegant 330 and 365GTC ‘mid-size’ models of the 1960s rather than the big, Superfast-like 365GT 2+2. The foldable occasional seats in the rear were sort of okay for children, and allowed a little more overnight luggage to be stowed when on the move. When the 365GTC/4 was superseded by the 365GT4 2+2 barely 18 months after its Geneva show launch, Ferrari abandoned the front-engined ‘occasional seat’ market until the introduction of the California in 2008.

During its 18-month lifespan, just 500 cars were built, although such was its popularity that it split V12 production 50/50 with the ‘Daytona’. It was the first Ferrari to carry emissions and safety equipment specifically for an American market becoming ever more concerned with air quality and accident survivability.

Its 4390cc V12 was, in essence, a ‘Daytona’ engine with revised valve-timing (for more torque), a wet sump and six side-draught 38 DCOE Webers replacing the classic down-draughts. The effect of the latter was to give the car its characteristic low, flat bonnet and allow emissions equipment to be located inside the vee. American-specification cars had slightly revised carburetion, again for ‘anti-smog’ legislation.

The interior of the car is dominated by a massive central console that housed the now front-mounted 5-speed gearbox (the 365GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ has a transaxle). Power steering was standard, so the car was much easier to drive over big distances compared with the less compromised - with its notoriously heavy steering - ‘Daytona’.

The car is best known for its rubber bumpers fore and aft. The car's lines are unusual and imposing and, compared with some truly awful treatments seen during the 1970s, the concessions to North American regulations were elegantly executed by the masters at Pininfarina.

In fact, ‘elegance’ sums up the Ferrari 365GTC/4. You can add ‘practicality’ (2+2), ‘rarity’ (only 500 built...) and ‘performance’ (330-340bhp at 6800rpm) to that, too; the perfect V12 Ferrari and available from 70,000 euros.

You'd like to be able to take your small children out in your classic V12 Ferrari, wouldn't you? Have a look in the Classic Driver car database to see what's available.

Text: Classic Driver
Photo: Naito Auto Engineering Co Ltd.

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