Shortly after the last 500 Superfast was made, the 365 California was announced as the model’s successor. It was the continuation of a series of limited production cars which included the 410 and 400 Superamercas. These cars were marketed to attract premium customers who demanded a more unique coachwork on their grand touring machines. To keep costs down, but exclusivity high, the 365 California was only offered to select VIP clients of Ferrari.
To much success, the California title had been already been associated with the earlier 250 GT Series. Around one hundred 250 California Spyders were built with some light alloy competizione examples actually racing Le Mans and Sebring. Drawing on this rich heritage, Ferrari decided that new 365 Spyder would be marketed as the next California model.
Much like the 250, this 365 used a well developed chassis to provide a basis for the next California Spyder. Released alongside the 330 GTC at the 1966 Geneva Auto Salon, the long and low 365 California Spyder was basically a reworked 330 GT chassis featuring a striking Pininfarina body. As far as engineering was concerned the 365 California Spyder was uninventive, having a wishbone front suspension and live rear axle held by leaf springs.
Powering the 365 was a Columbo long block V12. This engine was common in the 365 range, being an enlarged version of the unit found in the 330 GT. Other evolutions of this engine powered the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, GTC/4 and standard 365 GT coupe.
The area in which the Spyder was the most developed was styling. Most of the costs associated with the project went into designing and building an appropriate form that could carry the evocative California name. Working for Pininfarina, Tom Tjaarda was responsible for styling of the 365 California. He used a culmination of design cues from the 500 Superfast and 330GTC to create a harmonious cabriolet of grand proportions. Unique elements to the car include its covered headlights, popup driving lights and door handle treatment which faked a mid engine air intake. Especially unique was Tjaarda’s treatment on the rear area on the car which was a departure from Ferrari’s traditional design language. The rear was very angular and even payed homage to the Kamm tail as found on cars like the 250 GTO and Breadvan.
In total only 14 examples of the 365 California were made. Each featured the identical bodywork which kept the already high production costs down. The limited production run can be attributed to such costs and the fact that Ferrari wanted keep this model exclusive, much like the 500 Superfast.
Specs & Performance
Limited Production Car
Type 217B 60 Degree V12
DOHC 2 Valves / Cyl
3 Weber 40 DF/1 carburetors
4390 cc / 267.9 in³
81 mm / 3.19 in
71 mm / 2.8 in
238.6 kw / 320.0 bhp @ 6600 rpm
72.89 bhp per litre
213.33 bhp per tonne
343.02 nm / 253 ft lbs @ 5000 rpm
body / frame
Steel over Type 598 Tubular Steel Chassis
RWD w/ZF Limited-Slip Differential
A-Arms w/Coil Springs, telescopic Shock Absorbers, Anti-Roll Bar
Live Axle w/Coil Springs, Semi Elliptic Leaf Springs, Telescopic Shock Absorbers,
During their sale of exceptional motorcars at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, Christie’s auctioned chassis number #9889, the light metallic blue car seen above with black leather interior. Being a very original car with 20,350 miles on the odometer, the cat fetched $634 500 USD.
1967 Ferrari 365 California Spider 10327 – sold for $2,970,000 The Last of the Great Coachbuilt Ferraris. One of Only 14 Examples Built. Spectacular Pininfarina Design. Outstanding Uninterrupted Provenance. Matching-Numbers Example with Less than 40,000 Original Miles. Featured in Cavallino No. 6 and The Ferrari Legend: The Road Cars. Eligible for the Finest Tours, Rallies, and Concours. Offered with Extensive Documentation. Documented by Ferrari Historian Marcel Massini. Auction Source: Gooding & Company’s 10th Anniversary 2013 Pebble Beach Auction
1966 Ferrari 365 California Spyder 08347 – sold for €844,979. The prototype of only 14 examples built. Completely original and in superb condition. A matching-numbers car with known history from new, it has been Ferrari Certified and is unquestionably one of the finest examples of the limited few 365 California Spyders built. Still in pristine condition, this is one of Ferrari’s rarest coachbuilt road cars. With its competition derived 320 horsepower 4.4-litre engine and gorgeous Pininfarina body, it would be welcome to all the great Ferrari events around the world and, given its rarity and prototype status, is certainly worthy of close consideration. Auction Source: 2010 Automobiles of London by RM Auctions
1966 Ferrari 365 California Spider 9631 – sold for $880,000. This elegant 1966 Ferrari 365 California Spider, chassis 9631, was selected for display on Pininfarina’s stand at the Geneva Motor Show on March 9-19, 1967. Immediately following its Geneva debut, 9631 was flown to the US where the well-known Ferrari importer, Luigi Chinetti Motors, proudly took the delivery in late March the same year. For its second show appearance, it was displayed on Chinetti’s stand at the 1967 New York Auto Show, held in early April at the Coliseum. In May that same year, this sensational show car was leased through the Transamerica Car Leasing Company to its first caretaker, a doctor believed to be from the New York area. It remained registered to Transamerica until April 1971 when a Mr. Fred Sweet purchased the car. Shortly after, William Nicholson of Seattle, Washington, acquired this Ferrari. In 1976, this California Spider became a part of another Seattle-based collection when it was acquired by Sam Allotta. Not long after Mr. Allotta had purchased 9631, it was involved an unfortunate accident when it was hit in the rear while parked on the side of the road, damaging both the rear and front of the car. Understandably, the discouraged Mr. Alotta offered it for sale immediately thereafter.
Renowned Ferrari collector Greg Garrison most likely read about this car when it was advertised for sale in the Los Angeles Times and realized that it was just what he was missing from his collection. Mr. Garrison, a great client of Ferrari and personal friend of Enzo himself, thought the best professionals to restore and rebuild this damaged Ferrari would be Ferrari and Pininfarina themselves. He shipped the car back to Italy and the original craftsmen at Ferrari and Pininfarina set to work. To repair the bodywork properly, Pininfarina used the last NOS front and rear body pieces they had, most likely pieces intended for use on one of the 365 California prototypes, as they had a distinctive three-lamp set-up on the rear and no pop-up headlights at the front. All mechanical aspects of the car were redone by Ferrari. For color, Mr. Garrison chose the stunning Oro Chiaro (light metallic gold) – the same color as the 1973 Daytona Spider he owned. The restoration took more than two years to complete.
When finished, the now one-off 365 California Spider returned to America and Mr. Garrison’s great collections of Ferraris in Southern California. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, 9631 was featured in the magazines Prancing Horse and Ferrari Klassik, in articles written by distinguished Ferrari historian Marcel Massini. This beautiful California remained a cherished part of Greg Garrison’s outstanding Ferrari collection for many years, and even when Mr. Garrison began to thin out his collection several years ago, he kept this particular car. In 2004, 9631 was invited to Pebble Beach where Mr. Garrison proudly displayed it in the M-1 class. After Mr. Garrison passed away in 2005, 9631 was sold at the 2007 Pebble Beach Auction among the remaining Ferraris from his famed collection. Since then, it has resided in a Bay Area collection, being exercised regularly on sunny days. A recent service performed by renowned Ferrari specialists at the Patrick Ottis Company ensures this car is in outstanding mechanical order. The preservation of this fine and important 365 California Spider with its special long-term position in the Garrison collection, its extreme rarity and strong ties to Pininfarina and Ferrari, surely make it one of the most desirable Ferraris of the era. Auction Source: 2010 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction