Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

After three years of tremendous success with the 250 GTE, Ferrari planned its interim replacement, which was powered by the new 4.0-liter Colombo V12, the 330 America. According to marque expert Marcel Massini, only 50 were built before production was ended to make way for the all-new 330 GT 2+2 in January 1964.

Chassis 5113 was the 48th 330 America built, leaving the Ferrari factory in mid-November 1963. Specified with imperial instrumentation, this Ferrari was dispatched to Luigi Chinetti Motors in New York, and arrived in the Big Apple on December 16, 1963, prior to being sold through Ferrari Seattle.

On May 5, 1984, chassis 5113 was advertised for sale and purchased by Dr. Charles Kirkpatrick of Denver, CO. He restored this 330 America, refinishing the car in Rosso Cordoba and trimming the cabin in Fawn leather, with the work carried out by Bob Raub. Cherishing this 330 America until his passing in 2014, Mr. Kirkpatrick displayed chassis 5113 at multiple concours and Ferrari Club of America events.

The current owner acquired this Ferrari 330 America at auction in August 2014, and by December that year had received Ferrari Classiche certification. The “Red Book” notes this example retains its matching-numbers chassis and engine. Today, this 330 America presents a unique opportunity to acquire one of Ferrari’s rarest grand tourers.

SCM Analysis

Detailing

Vehicle:1963 Ferrari 330 America 2+2
Years Produced:1963
Number Produced:50
SCM Valuation:$366,000–$494,000
Tune Up Cost:$3,500
Chassis Number Location:Left frame member below the steering box
Engine Number Location:Right rear above the motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America
Website:http://www.ferrariclubofamerica.org
Alternatives:1954 Bentley R-type Continental coupe, 1956 BMW 503 coupe, 1956 Facel Vega FV
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 134, sold for $435,750 (€420,000), including buyer’s premium, at RM Sotheby’s Munich, Germany, auction on November 26, 2022.

Ferrari introduced the 330 America to zero fanfare. There was no auto-show unveiling, no glossy sales brochure, no appearance on the cover of the popular car magazines. The car just showed up in dealers’ showrooms. Even to this day, Ferrari hardly recognizes the model.

Four-seat favorites

Looking at the list of early Ferrari production numbers, one entry sticks out: 954 250 GT 2+2s. That number represents a milestone in Ferrari’s history, as the largest production of any model prior to that was a scant 353 cars. The number is truly remarkable as it’s attached to a 2+2 model, the last configuration anyone would expect for the most-popular Ferrari. It would be 10 years until the Daytona’s production would surpass that number.

Capitalizing on the success of Ferrari’s 250 GT series, in 1960 a 2+2 model was added to its line of sports, grand-touring and racing cars. The addition of a four-place model may have seemed incongruent to Ferrari’s traditional offerings, but it made perfect sense in the evolution of the company’s production models. Originally founded to produce only race cars, Ferrari soon began building road cars to help fund those racing efforts. Road cars proved to be popular, and Ferrari adapted production to meet the demand. This meant finding efficient ways to build production models and engineering them to be both reliable and easy to drive.

The production 250 GTs were excellent road cars. The 3.0-liter V12 was capable of starting from a stop in top gear while delivering brisk performance throughout its range. The 250 GT 2+2 features telescopic shock absorbers, disc brakes and an electronic overdrive that allowed effortless high-speed touring. The Pininfarina-designed body was attractive, while the interior was plush and spacious enough to comfortably seat four passengers.

A rare beast…

The production 250 series started with the 250 Europa GT in 1953. A decade later, it was time for an update, based on a new engine. Two new engines, the 275 and 330, were introduced in 1963. Most early Ferrari engines were named for the displacement of a single cylinder in cubic centimeters (i.e. 275 times 12 equals 3,300 cc, or 3.3 liters, of total displacement). The 330 multiplies out to roughly 4.0 liters.

That 330 engine would go on to be used in a coupe, the 330 GTC, and an open version, the 330 GTS. It would also power a new four-place model, the 330 GT 2+2, but not before being used in the little-known 330 America.

The list of heritage models on Ferrari’s website does not even include an entry for the 330 America. In describing the 250 GT 2+2, Ferrari declares, “The last 50 were fitted with the 4.0-liter V12 engine from the 330 America.” That should say, “The last 50 were fitted with 4.0-liter V12 engines and renamed the 330 America.” It’s unknown if the 330 engines were ready before the 330 GT 2+2 bodies or if Ferrari ran out of 250 engines before they ran out of bodies, but the end result is the same.

…Yet underappreciated

“All,” “never” and “always” are words not used in Ferrari discussions. While certain cosmetic attributes are credited as being unique to 330 Americas, those attributes may also be found on the last 250 GT 2+2s or not found on all 330 Americas. Nevertheless, the 330 America produced 300 hp, a bump of 60 hp over the 250 2+2. This is where a model would usually develop a cult following, but in my 40-year Ferrari career, I’ve never had someone ask me for a 330 America or hear anyone wax poetically about one.

The general apathy over the model is understandable. There were no contemporary road tests, so there are no professional accolades to quote. Additionally, the 250 Ferraris are arguably the most desirable series of cars on the planet. Everybody has an idea what a 250 GT is, while a 330 America takes some explanation.

One more thing: “America” was a term Ferrari used for its best cars. The America and Superamerica (and Superfast by extension) were flagship models. They were produced for Ferrari’s best and wealthiest clients. Americas were built in small quantities to the highest standards. They received Ferrari’s largest engines and most-luxurious fittings. By traditional Ferrari standards, then, a 330 America was not a true America.

A fair sale

Our subject is just the eighth 330 America to show up in SCM’s Platinum Auction Database, illustrating the rarity of the model. The highest price listed is a $505k sale of this very car back in 2014. By comparison, 250 GT 2+2s have sold as high as $685,000, with the majority bringing less than $400k. With such a small sample size, it’s hard to pinpoint a value, but the price here seems about right.

In 1999, Publisher Martin pulled a 330 America (s/n 5077) out of a barn in Montana. He bought it for $22,000 and put another $25k to $30k in it. Unfortunately, he sold it too soon to put the kids through college. He had an insightful observation on the experience.

“I ended up putting a few thousand miles on a relatively rare car — one of 50 built — and got to experience a 4.0-liter, 300-horsepower engine in that most attractive of Ferrari 2+2s, the 250 GTE body. If I’d gotten a ‘better deal’ on a different car, say a four-headlight 330 or a 400i, it wouldn’t have been the same experience.”

There’s certainly a difference between buying something common and having something special. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Sotheby’s.)

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