Would you have bought it anyway?
That's what we seem to be asked most frequently about our 1964 Ferrari 330 America, pulled from a barn in Butte, Montana last October.
As the bills pile up, and the car remains stationary, that's a fair question.
Since taking delivery of S/N 330GT5077, we've had Nasko of Nasko's Imports put in a new voltage regulator ($80), install a new clutch and pressure plate ($1,400) and rebuild the mechanical fuel pump (parts from T. Rutlands in Georgia). Then the car was off to Guy's Interior Restorations to have the front seats recovered, new carpets fabricated, the door panels tidied up and the electrical system despooked ($2,500). New P215/70R Grand Am Radial GT tires were another $300 item, and having the shocks rebuilt by Truechoice, Inc. added $700 to the bill.
We're planning on picking up the car next week, having cleverly arranged to keep Guy working on it all winter, thereby solving our storage problem. To our knowledge, the only problem left is the Ferrari's habit of running its float bowls empty under continued hard acceleration. With partial throttle, it behaves properly. But after roaring up a freeway on-ramp, if the throttle is kept open, after a mile or so it just runs out of gas and coasts silently to the side of the road, restarting after sitting for a couple of minutes. Although the mechanical fuel pump has been rebuilt, the car won't run on it alone, and the electrical pump has to be continually engaged as well. Postulating that there may be some crud in the gas tank and lines, we may ask Nasko to drop the tank and service it, a prospect which causes him to roll his eyes and ask why we didn't buy something simple like a Maserati Ghibli. Your suggestions to our dilemma are welcome.
The Ferrari smokes at idle, which has caused at least 500 Ferrari experts to offer what seems like 650 solutions, ranging from buying more oil to installing VW Rabbit valve guide seals (the indignity, really) to spending $25,000 for an engine overhaul. However, the car doesn't seem to smoke under acceleration, and we're not fouling plugs. So at the moment our tendency is to just keep enriching the coffers of Valvoline, loan the Ferrari out to mosquito abatement programs, and otherwise not think about it very much.
A subscriber asked if, knowing what we now know, we would have bought the car anyway. The answer is a simple yes. Once all the little odds and ends are added in, we'll be in the car around $28,000 (we've learned that a Ferrari odd or end is a $500 piece; a Fiat odd or end only $50). There just aren't many options when it comes to buying 12-cylinder Ferraris under $35,000, and this car seems sound enough for the price paid. If we can get it to reliably run and drive, without spending another $5,000, then we will have a decent barn-find car that has gotten back on the road, is road-worn enough to be oblivious to a rock chip here or there, and still makes great sounds as the tach whips around towards redline.


In direct response to the comments we receive with your renewals, we're adding more features to SCM. Last month marked the debut of "Affordable Classics," a column focusing on those vintage cars that can be bought with a VISA card, and tuned up without taking out a second mortgage on your home. Next month, we'll introduce "Driving Our Classics," where SCM's esteemed contributors will keep us up to date as they attempt to convince their vintage steeds to stay on the road and out of the repair shop.


Our long-term Dodge Durango test car has, much to our regret, gone home to Detroit. As we racked up the miles during the year that we had it, it proved to be reliable and extremely user friendly. My wife, who finds our '91 GMC Suburban nearly unmanageable in urban situations, and its handling suspect even after we added a Quickor rear swaybar, found the Durango to be a far superior vehicle. She liked its seating position, pronounced it easy to park, and the third row of seats, although suitable only for small children, provided an easy way to haul daughter and friends to soccer games, birthday parties and ski slopes. The interior of the Durango is intelligently laid-out, without needless frills, and the 5.9-liter engine provided all the power we needed to haul our vintage race car around. It seems like every old car enthusiast needs a sport utility of some sort, and for the past twelve months, the Durango was the vehicle of choice whether running errands, moving children or dragging old cars around.


A slender driver sprinting towards his racer, as depicted on the official poster of the 1959 24 Hours of Le Mans, adorns our cover. The French poster artist Beligond is responsible for this artistic interpretation of the start, with Ferraris in red and Jaguars in green. The Le Mans race has always captured the imagination of the public, and hence the interest of the manufacturers. Over the decades, titanic battles between Porsche, Ferrari, Bentley, Jaguar, Ford and more have been fought on this course, with the millions of dollars invested in men and machinery resulting more often in the desolation of failure than the exhilaration of success. We have taken the liberty of removing the "24H Du Mans" and date from the poster to fit our cover format. This original (not a reproduction) poster, 15.5" inches wide by 21" high, from the 1959 event is available from Jacques Vaucher's L'art et l'automobile (516/329-8580, fax 516/329-8589). Unframed it is $650, and mounted on a linen backing for conservation, $725.

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