Shortly after the last Ferrari 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 Calfornia 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 suspenion 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.
Christie's Sale of the
1967 Ferrari 365 Spyder California #9889
During their sale of exceptional
motorcars at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center on August 7. 2003, Christies 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 car was sold for the sum of $634 500 US Dollars.