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Fly Yellow is just wrong on a C/4. The black bumpers at each end blend
perfectly on a black car but make a yellow one look like a bumble bee



1972 ferrari 365 gtc 4 coupe


Launched at the 1971 Geneva Motor Show, the Ferrari 365 GTC/4 ostensibly replaced the 365 GT 2+2. Technically a four-passenger car, its eight-inch-shorter wheelbase and lower, sloping roofline made the tiny rear seats token at best. Ferrari compensated by having the rear seatbacks flip down to make a storage tray.

Pininfarina's coachwork featured a swooping fenderline and flush-fitting glass. The V12 had the DOHC displacement of the Daytona's engine, but the C4's hood was lower because its six Weber carburetors were horizontally mounted, rather than set vertically atop the engine. Horsepower was listed at 320, vs. the Daytona's 352.

Finished in vivid yellow with black leather seats recently re-covered, this car boasts a fresh engine rebuild, correct jack and tool roll. After longtime ownership by a Ferrari enthusiast, it shows 92,000 km.

{analysis}{auto}1278{/auto} This 1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Coupe sold for $74,500, including buyer's premium, at RM's Collector Cars of Fort Lauderdale auction, held February 6-8, 2009.

The 365 GTC/4 has to be the best value in the Ferrari kingdom. It's a classic Ferrari from the Enzo era. It has a 12-cylinder engine mounted right in front, where Enzo thought it should be. It has two seats (almost), a 5-speed manual transmission, and maybe the best sound of any street Ferrari. Its performance is respectable; its appearance is neither over the top nor dowdy, so why does the Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Coupe sell for less than half of its nearest competitor?

The silhouette features Ferrari's familiar long hood and fastback roofline but with a flatter horizontal surface and more angular lines. The result is an attractive, modern interpretation of Ferrari's trademark design, ruined by a black rubber molding outlining an overly large grille area. It was like someone cut off the front end of the car, slapped the molding on the sharp edge, and filled in the front with lights and a grille. Replacing the traditional chrome bumper with a rubber end cap may have been avant garde at the time, but it was unattractive then and still is now.

The bloodline was evident



The model name 365 GTC/4 is Ferrari's designation for a Grand Touring Coupe with a 4-cam, 365-cubic-centimeter-per-cylinder (4.4 liter) engine. A coupe fits on the luxury side of Ferrari's line up opposite the Berlinetta, the performance side of the line. A coupe trades some performance for a little more room, a softer ride, and more conservative styling. The Lusso, 330 GTC, and the America/Superamerica series are all examples of Ferrari coupes.

The C/4, as the 365 GTC/4 is normally called, is often mistakenly described as a luxury version of a Daytona. Although it was built at the same time and shares the 365 model designation of the Daytona, the Daytona inherited its rear transaxle, dry-sump engine, and manual steering, from the 275 GTB, and its genes from the racing side of Ferrari. The C/4, meanwhile, inherited the wet-sump engine, self-leveling suspension, power steering, front-mounted transmission, and milder tune of its predecessor, the 365 GT 2+2, and its genes come from the Grand Touring side of Ferrari.

While not a true 2+2, the bloodline was evident and would not be suppressed. Behind the C/4's front seats are tiny jump seats. The space is a great place to put groceries or luggage, but not even small children can comfortably sit there. While the seats were useless, they were an indicator of things to come. Only 500 C/4s were built over a two-year run, but the concept would linger for another 16 years. When the C/4 was discontinued, eight inches were added to the C/4 chassis, a new body was styled, and the 365 GT4 2+2 was born. The new car shared the same mechanical underpinnings as the C/4, and even the interior was a continuation of the model. The 365 GT4 2+2 evolved into the 400 and then the 412 before finally being replaced by an entirely new car, the 456 GT.

Selling 500 C/4s over two years is not insignificant, but it was a disappointment to Ferrari. As the years went on, the popularity never increased. I've been involved in the sale of several of them, and they are always a tough sell. Everybody agrees they drive great and are a great value but they balk at writing a check. While a Daytona can break $300,000 and a 330 GTC can get above $200,000, C/4s flounder around the $100,000 mark. Excluding the 365 GT4 2+2 and 400/412 series, every front-engine 12-cylinder Ferrari can bring more money. Even a 365 2+2 or 330 2+2 can outsell it, which I will never understand.

Plagued by the reputation of being costly to service



The Ferrari 365 GTC/4 was always plagued by a reputation of being expensive to service. The reputation was deserved, as the side-draft Webers must be removed before the valve covers can be removed to adjust the valves. The water pump design requires a major disassembly of the front cover to replace a failed bearing. This requires the removal of the engine from the car and adds the temptation to perform expensive "while we're in there" upgrades. The self-leveling rear shocks are prone to failure and expensive to repair. While significant in comparison to other Ferraris of the C/4 era, several modern Ferraris will cost more per mile for service.

The RM C/4 was owned by a Ferrari enthusiast who also brought a 512 Boxer to the auction. The car was Fly Yellow, a very unusual color for a C/4, with black leather interior. Painting an elegant car a flashy color is seldom a good idea, and this car is the poster child for the point. A C/4 in black, silver, or even a light metallic blue looks good, and red or white are acceptable, but yellow is just. wrong. The black bumpers at each end blend perfectly on a black car but make a yellow one look like a bumble bee.

This 1972 365 GTC/4 Coupe was a European model that apparently had been in the States for a long while. The paint was decent but short of nice, the seats had been re-covered recently, but the rest of the interior showed age. The engine was described as recently rebuilt. A jack kit was present but the tool kit and books were AWOL. It would be a nice driver as it sat but would require a big check to make it any nicer.

Bidding stalled at $67,500 and the car left the stage unsold, with the visibly disappointed seller shocked by the result. The next day buyer, seller, and auction house struck a deal at $74,500, including commission. The result was certainly below expectations, as C/4s have sold during the recent boom for as much as $160,000. The sale price was also $10k under SCM's low price in the Price Guide. The price reflected ambivalence about the car, rather than a market trend. Good mechanics are important, but looks sell.

The yellow paint was too good to redo, but it's a color that doesn't flatter the taste of the owner. It would be a tough sell to most end users and poison to a dealer. I suspect the buyer decided he couldn't get hurt at the price and the seller decided to cut his losses. An engine rebuild would have been $30k or so and the seats another $4k. The owner may have come to like the color, but he had to recognize its limited appeal.

Compared to the recent restoration expense, selling the car short of the market was not terribly significant. It wasn't a good sale for the seller, but it wasn't a great deal for the buyer, either. The redeeming factor was the buyer got a lot of car for the money. If he's one of the few who likes the color over the long run, he won't get hurt.{/analysis}

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