• Year of manufacture 
    1967
  • Car type 
    Other
  • Lot number 
    136
  • Reference number 
    MI24_r0135
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Location
    United States
  • Exterior colour 
    Red

Description

To Be OFFERED AT AUCTION at RM Sothebys' Miami event, 1 - 2 March 2024.

  • Brilliantly presented example of the uber-rare coach-built luxury California Spyder
  • The ninth of 14 examples built
  • Certified by Ferrari Classiche with a Red Book authenticating the continued presence of the matching-numbers chassis, engine, gearbox, rear axle, and body
  • Short ownership chain of only four private caretakers, including two long-term owners
  • FCA Platinum Award winner at the 2004 Cavallino Classic at Concorso Italiano
  • Restoration to the original color combination of Rosso Cina over Bianca Molitan leather completed by the highly regarded Paul Russell and Company in 2009
  • An exquisite and rare example of Maranello’s last great vintage flagship luxury grand touring spider
  • Unique opportunity to acquire a celebrated model that has not been publicly offered in the US for over 10 years

CRÈME DE LA CRÈME

High-end luxury and sporting brands often have a tradition of creating a limited-edition halo product, something so special that it almost makes their core products seem commonplace by comparison. For Ferrari this tradition often involved naming the product after its intended market, beginning with the 212 Export of the early 1950s, which was intended for American privateer use and specified with a hotter mechanical set-up than the concurrent Inter cars bound for European homes.

But Maranello’s supercar tradition was truly established with the 340 America, which offered well-heeled customers the opportunity to own a model made in smaller numbers, equipped with the ferocious Lampredi racing engine, and cosmetically trimmed to rival the finest luxury touring cars. This in turn led to the 342 and 375 America models, which segued into several series of large-bore Superamerica models.

Amidst this evolution of the Lampredi-based flagship models, in 1957 Ferrari more quietly took a similar approach with the Colombo-engine 250 GT model line. In an echo of the highly successful 250 GT Tour de France racing berlinetta, Ferrari began to offer a racing spider that was specifically conceived for the United States’ west-coast market. The 250 GT California Spider was equipped with race-bred mechanical components for the avid SCCA privateer, but many were trimmed with great panache, featuring high-quality leather interiors that belied the model’s true dual-use purpose. Built in a modest quantity of 106 examples through two different iterations on the long and short-wheelbase chassis, the 250 GT California Spider evolved into a verifiable legend, and is today regarded as one of the most collectible Ferraris ever built.

By the mid-1960s both the 250 GT platform and the large-bore Superamericas were essentially out of production. But Maranello had one more ace up its sleeve, a model that would basically combine the two concepts into one fabulous boutique product.

At the 1966 Geneva Salon, on Pininfarina’s stand, Ferrari unveiled a new open-top model built in the tradition of both the Superamerica and the California Spider. This top-shelf offering proved to be the final entry in Ferrari’s long and distinguished vintage tradition of building limited-edition supercars for very well-heeled customers and preferred Ferrari clientele.

The new model’s primary attraction was its exquisite open coachwork, which was designed and built by Pininfarina. The front end was visually similar to the 500 Superfast, with a small oval nose, faired-in headlamps, and two elegant pop-up driving lamps set inboard of the main lights. An impossibly long front deck led to a steeply raked windscreen, while the beltline gave way to a triangular cosmetic flourish that integrated into the door handle, a speed-strake cue that became iconic (and functional) in future models such as the 206 Dino and the 308 series. The design concluded distinctively with the sweeping lines converging into an angular Kamm tail.

This masterful coachwork was one of the most fetching designs in Pininfarina’s extensive history, and it was mounted on a derivation of Ferrari’s type 598 chassis, the 2,650 milimeter-wheelbase platform also used for the 330 GT 2+2. Power was provided by a development of the single-overhead-cam 330 engine, which was enlarged to 4.4 liters. This was Ferrari’s first 365-engine road car, presaging such classics at the 365 GTC and GTS, not to mention the dual-cam 365 GTB/4 Daytona and Spider, and the 365 GTC/4. Desirable performance components like power steering and Borrani wire wheels were standard-equipped, while a bevy of other accessories were available as optional equipment.

With eyes once again set on the American buyer, and hoping to evoke the competition triumphs and aesthetic mastery of the 250 GT California Spider, the new model was dubbed the 365 California Spyder. Only 14 examples were ultimately built during 18 months of boutique production, and they were generally sold to a jet-set list of clients that included prominent businessmen and lesser royalty.

365 California Spyders only rarely become available on the open market today, leaving the model somewhat shrouded in mystery, and subject to oft-repeated mistruths. The fact remains, however, that despite being trimmed for the luxury market with little aspirations to racing, the 365 California delivers the kind of robust performance that has impressed many owners over the course of long-distance tours and events, as testified by an admiring caretaker in a past issue of Prancing Horse magazine.

For the enthusiast of Ferrari’s long and fruitful collaboration with Pininfarina, there can be no higher watermark than the 365 California. Exquisitely designed, indubitably rare, and appointed for the likes of royalty, this outstanding model constitutes the last of Ferrari’s vintage flagship open touring models—and what an extraordinary statement it was!

CHASSIS NUMBER 9935

Claiming a short chain of ownership including two long-term caretakers; a 2009 refurbishment by one of the niche’s most respected restoration concerns; and authentication of its matching-numbers chassis, engine, gearbox, rear axle, and body by Ferrari Classiche, this breathtaking 365 California is a particularly desirable example of Maranello’s mid-1960s flagship spider. According to the research of marque expert Marcel Massini, which is corroborated by a deep file of documentation, chassis number 9935 is the ninth of the 14 examples built.

Completed in May 1967, the 365 was evidently ordered new by Waldorf Leasing on behalf of Los Angeles resident Nancy Tewksbury, who already owned chassis number 6919, a 275 GTS. The California was trimmed with a Bianco Molitan “M” white leather interior that matched her 275 GTS, and it was appointed with a passenger headrest, air conditioning, and instruments in miles. In addition to the standard power steering, the car was equipped with an uprated Bendix fuel pump. While the interior was complemented by a matching white soft top, and contrasting red carpets, the curvaceous coachwork was finished in Rosso Cina (China Red) paint, combining for a very striking color scheme.

After a factory certificate of origin was issued in mid-June, the Ferrari was shipped to Chinetti Motors in New York, and subsequently dispatched to Mrs. Tewksbury, who officially leased the car from Waldorf Leasing. Oddly enough, the first owner kept the Spyder for only a few months, after which Waldorf sold the car in 1968 to its second private owner, Charles Garretson of Detroit, Michigan.

During 1969 the California was sold to a succession of two very well-known and respected dealers, first passing to Kirk F. White Motorcars, which in turn sold the car to famed competition driver and sports car importer Bob Grossman. In March 1971 the 365 found a much more lasting home when it was purchased by Dr. Donald Grove, a physicist on the faculty of Princeton University, in New Jersey. While not a typical collector, Dr. Grove was extremely bright and more than mechanically capable, and he performed many of his own repairs while enjoying the Spyder as a reliable daily driver, as clarified by his correspondence and a handwritten service log on file.

In late 1978 Dr. Grove submitted the Ferrari to The Motorcar Company of Cranbrook, New Jersey, for a comprehensive restoration. Following completion of this work, the 365 was displayed in September 1982 at a Ferrari meeting in Bel Air, Maryland, organized by the well-known marque enthusiast Ron Spangler, proprietor of the Prancing Horse Farm. The California remained in Dr. Grove’s possession through at least 1998, accounting for a remarkable period of over 27 years of fastidious single-owner care. In 2004 the car was finally sold to a Florida-based dealer who presented the Ferrari at the Cavallino Classic staged at the 2004 Concorso Italiano in California, and the car took home a Platinum Award.

In June 2006 the Ferrari was sold to the current owner. Though the California was admirably complete, the prior restoration was beginning to show its age, so the new owner decided to commission a top-shelf refurbishment by one of the best names in the business, Paul Russell & Company. As confirmed by a host of photos and correspondence on file, this restoration addressed every mechanical and cosmetic element, including a refinish in the original color scheme of Rosso Cina paint over a Bianco Molitan “M" leather interior.

Upon completion of this important work in 2009, the California was presented a


RM Sotheby's
5 Heron Square
Richmond
TW9 1EL
United Kingdom
Contact Person Kontaktperson
Title 
Mr
First name 
Augustin
Last name 
Sabatie-Garat

Phone 
+44-2078517070