2017 Ferrari California


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Offered from the estate of the late Peter Phillips
2017 Ferrari California T Hardtop Convertible
Coachwork by Pininfarina
Registration no. BL17 ZHU
Chassis no. ZFF77XJC000227728

"The Ferrari California might just be the firm's most radical model. It's the first Ferrari road car to have a front-mounted V8 engine, the first to have a dual-clutch gearbox and, although not the first to have a removable hard-top, is the first to follow the current trend of having a fully retractable one that electrically folds into its boot." - Autocar.

Introduced in March 2014 at the Geneva Motor Show, the 'T' was an updated version of the landmark California that had represented an entirely new departure for Ferrari on its arrival six years previously. Formerly used for a limited series of exclusive coachbuilt soft-tops created on the 250 GT chassis in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the evocative 'California' name was revived by Ferrari in 2008 for its new 2+2 hardtop convertible. As well as the 'firsts' listed above, the new California's multi-link rear suspension and direct fuel injection had never been seen before on a Ferrari road car, while its hunched rear wheel arches, single bonnet scoop and slatted wing vents were styling cues borrowed from the original.

Featuring just two key sections, rather than the more commonplace three, the retractable roof was a particularly neat and compact example of the type, though the car had to be stationary before it could be operated. With the top in place, the California achieved the remarkable drag coefficient figure of 0.32, making it the most aerodynamic Ferrari to date. Inside, the customarily well appointed Ferrari cabin featured an electronic handbrake and roof/gearbox controls on the curved centre console.

In its original incarnation the California's 4.3-litre V8 engine produced 453bhp, though from 2012 this was increased to 482bhp. A 'Handling Speciale Package' of suspension upgrades became available at the same time. Transmitted via a dual clutch to the seven-speed semi-automatic gearbox, those 453 horses made for a 0-62mph time of just 3.9 seconds and a top speed of 193mph. But these days even Ferrari cannot focus on performance alone, and so the California incorporated HELE (High Efficiency Low Emissions) technology including 'stop start', enabling it to achieve a CO2 emissions figure of 270g/km. Performance was restrained by ceramic disc brakes all round.

One of Ferrari's aims with the California was to extend its appeal to a wider customer base, so the car was deliberately made less hard-edged and more user-friendly than many of its more track-focused siblings. Autocar: 'The first surprise is how well the California rides. We tried both the passive dampers and the optional Magneride units, and both (even with the latter set to Sport) coped impressively well with our road network, and especially so for a convertible. Such is the California's comfort that you could easily use one to travel significant distances.'

Britain's esteemed motoring magazine concluded its review by rating the California ahead of the Bentley Continental GTC, Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder and Aston Martin DBS for its blend of everyday usability and outright enjoyment. Praise indeed.

The California T's major technological advance was the adoption of forced induction in the form of twin turbochargers on the new 3,855cc V8 engine. Although smaller in displacement than the normally aspirated '4.3' it replaced, this new blown V8 was 100bhp more powerful, producing a mighty 553 horsepower, though the difference this made to the car's on-the-road performance was marginal. In addition there was changes to the gear ratios, suspension settings, and the F1 Trac traction control system, while the bodywork was extensively restyled and the interior revised.

Owned by Peter Phillips since 2018, this immaculate, low-milege California T is finished in Tour de France Blue with Crema/Nero leather interior. Noteworthy features include front and rear parking cameras, diamond-cut alloy wheels, full carbon-fibre interior zone, steering wheel with LED rpm readout, and Scuderia Ferrari shields.