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1969 Ferrari 365 GTC

1969 Ferrari 365 GTC

Editor’s Note: You’ll soon learn that I have a personal anecdote for just about every cool car. In this case, it goes back to my high school days. A buddy of mine had a very astute dad. His pop’s bought a Ferrari 365 GTC. Mind you, this was back in the latter 1970’s, but look how much a restored one is estimated to be worth now. The 365 GTC here went across the block on January 18, 2013 at RM Auctions’ Arizona event. These babies look so sleek and sophisticated. They’re just the sort of Prancing Horse businessman’s coupe that would make an ideal Redline Review road rocket.

Photo Credit: Pawel Litwinski ©2012 Courtesy of RM Auctions

$500,000-$600,000 US
320 bhp, 4,390 cc SOHC V-12 engine, three Weber twin-choke downdraft carburetors, five-speed manual rear transaxle, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 94.5 in.

• Ferrari Classiche certified; matching-numbers engine
• Mechanical restoration and cosmetic freshening completed in 2012
• Single ownership for over 30 years; well-documented
• Beautifully restored example of Ferrari’s premier late-’60s grand tourer

Unveiled at the Geneva Salon in March 1966, the Ferrari 330 GTC (Gran Tourismo Coupe) was designed to complement Ferrari’s sporting Berlinetta, the 275 GTB, in much the same way that the 250 GT Pininfarina Coupe had complemented the 250 GT TdF. Combining many design elements of the most beautiful Ferrari automobiles, the 330 GTC offered the latest development of Colombo’s legendary V-12 engine and a chassis closely patterned after the 275 GTB. Legendary racing drivers Phil Hill and Paul Frère both proclaimed the model to be the best Ferrari built to date, and one of the best GT cars ever made.

In 1968, the 330 GTC received a batch of modest upgrades, including an increase in engine displacement (good for an additional 20 horsepower), resulting in the 365 GTC. The new model was immediately identifiable by the relocation of the front fender vents to the hood. The improved engine featured greater power at a lower range of the rpm band, with strong torque developing as low as 2,500 rpm. In addition to offering better mechanical performance than its predecessor, the 365 GTC was built in a far smaller quantity, with just 168 examples produced between 1968 and 1970.

This handsome example of Ferrari’s refined late-’60s grand touring coupe claims ownership by just one collector for over 30 years, as well as Ferrari Classiche authentication of numbers-matching authenticity and a since-completed mechanical restoration. According to copies of original factory build sheets that are included in a rich file of documentation, chassis 12059’s V-12 engine was assembled on December 12, 1968, followed four days later by a full build order for the car.

Based on these specs, the 365 was completed on December 24, finished in the unusual shade of Celeste Gainsborough (Gainsborough Sky Blue) and trimmed with a Nero Franzi (Franzi Black) interior. Completed as a European-specification model with instruments in kilometers, the car was dispatched in June 1969 to the well-known Belgian dealer Jacques Swaters, whose famous Garage Francorchamps sold some of the day’s best Ferraris. Indeed, an unusual piece of original documentation indicates that Mr. Swaters registered the car with a Certificate of Conformity on May 28, 1973.

Soon after, this car was acquired by Ennio Gianroli, an Italian residing in Flemmale, Belgium, who kept a number of early blue-chip Maranello cars, including a 1953 Ferrari 212 bodied by Vignale. Chassis 12059 had the good fortune to remain in Mr. Gianroli’s collection until 2008, ensuring that it received the same consistent attention of just one owner for well over 30 years.

Purchased in 2008 by a respected East Coast enthusiast, 12059 was treated to some mechanical freshening as well as a repaint in the lovely shade of Grigio Notte (Midnight Grey), while the interior was reupholstered in Pelle Rossa (red leather). In 2010, the car was formally submitted to Ferrari Classiche for factory authentication. Examining component stamps and comparing them to original factory records, Classiche certified s/n 12059 as an authentic example still possessing its original engine, suspension, and body. Based on this evaluation, the factory issued the highly desirable Classiche certification book on June 9, 2010, endowing the car with the utmost benchmark of authenticity.

In March 2011, this 365 GTC was purchased by a Southern California owner who quickly set about a substantial mechanical restoration. The well-respected Santa Barbara mechanic Jack Bianchi was retained to conduct the most difficult and exacting work, including rebuilding the carburetors and the mechanical fuel pump, re-coring the radiator, and refinishing major components such as the intake manifolds, distributors, and the brake master cylinder. Cosmetically, Mr. Bianchi restored the elegant interior center console and detailed the engine bay, including such exacting measures as re-chroming the gearshift lever and cad-plating the valve-cover nuts and carburetor screws.

On the back of this comprehensive freshening, this car was presented at several Southern California concours d’elegance of note. On May 6, 2012, the 365 garnered Meguiars’ Award for Outstanding Paint Presentation at the Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance, while on June 6, the car won Second in Class at the San Marino Motor Classic. Following these competitive exhibition awards, the owner continued to supplement his fine restoration with additional measures, such as rebuilding the starter and muffler, installing a new clutch disk, and balancing the flywheel and pressure plate assembly. Furthermore, the well-known Ferrari specialist Jens Paulsen was retained to conduct a complete rebuild of the transaxle, including a full set of new synchros, bearings, and seals.

This outstanding 365 GTC is accompanied by extensive documentation, including the Ferrari Classiche authentication, copies of original build sheets, and a thorough log of the recent mechanical restoration. The car also benefits from the presence of a toolkit and an owner’s manual, supplementing its desirably original presentation. With the market for premium 1960s Ferraris continuing to heat up and showing no signs of slowing down, it is a near certainty that values for quality 365 GTC examples such as this car will continue to appreciate, suggesting that 12059 offers a long-term investment as much as it does an exhilarating performance or award-winning display.

Currently showing approximately just 91,000 kilometers, 12059 is a breathtakingly restored and mechanically authentic example of the rare 365 GTC. It offers authentic details and strong performance, and it would bring a welcome dash of refined sporting elegance to any collection of Maranello thoroughbreds.

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