Tom Wood Photography, courtesy of Bonhams
At the 1971 Geneva Salon de L’Automobile exhibition, Ferrari launched another new model. This was the GTC/4 as offered here, which was presented as a more sober and discreet alternative to the blisteringly high-performance Daytona. But the GTC/4 was really more closely related to the 365 GT 2+2, which it had replaced on the Pininfarina assembly line. The GTC/4 had two small rear seats tailored for small children or perhaps for short-distance use by one adult, sitting across the car. By general consent, the GTC/4 proved to be a far more user-friendly car to drive than the Daytona, and its power-assisted steering made a tremendous difference. Combined with the plush Pininfarina interior with reclining seats for driver and passenger, here was a Ferrari of great appeal to the successful businessman or the wealthy parent with a small family who considered the muscle-bound Daytona perhaps just too much Ferrari for them to handle. The great majority of the 365 GTC/4 cars produced were sold on the American market, and production was ended around October 1972, when the replacement 365 GT4 2+2 was launched at the year’s Paris Salon. This replacement model was in effect just a longer wheelbase version of the 365 GTC/4. Because its production run was so confined, the 1972 365 GTC/4 is one of the rarer of all “modern-era” Ferraris, and it also occupies a special place today as one of the last of the front-engined V12 sporting cars of Maranello’s classical progression from 1947 into the mid-1970s. This Ferrari 365 GTC/4 was completed June of 1972.The first owner was a baron living in Milan. It was then sold to a man in Como before passing to Fabrizio Violati’s Bellancauto SpA of Rome, which later became the Collezione Maranello Rosso. The car is now presented here today as it left the Maranello Rosso Collection. It has survived in its original Azzuro Hyperion paint with black interior and original blue carpets. Its odometer showed 60,013 km (37,290 miles) upon delivery to Bonhams. All the car’s major number stampings are absolutely correct, matching engine number and internal block and chassis numbers. It is in every way considered a highly original and authentic example of its kind.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1972 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Coupe
Years Produced:1971–72
Number Produced:500
Original List Price:$27,500
SCM Valuation:$175,000–$300,000
Tune Up Cost:$6,000
Distributor Caps:$500
Chassis Number Location:Stamped plate in the engine compartment on inner left fender; top of steering column
Engine Number Location:Left side of engine block
Club Info:Ferrari Owners Club, Ferrari Club of America
Alternatives:1970–72 Aston Martin DBS V8, 1965–74 Iso Grifo, 1974–82 Maserati Khamsin, 1970–76 Lamborghini Jarama
Investment Grade:C

This car, Lot 205, sold for $275,145, including buyer’s premium, at Bonhams’ Goodwood Revival Auction in Chichester, U.K., on September 13, 2014.

You have to remove about 100 nuts before you can start to do a valve adjustment on a Ferrari 365 GTC/4. There are eight nuts holding on each air cleaner and another eight holding the carburetors to the intake — and yes, the carbs have to be taken off to remove the valve covers.

Then you have to take off another 30 or so nuts to remove the valve covers. When you’re done with those, there’s another head to do. Of course there are fuel lines, carb linkages and a host of hardware to contend with, all of which add up to how the 365 GTC/4 got its reputation as a car to stay away from.

Completing the major service in a United States C/4 required the adjustment of 24 valves, the syncing of six evil 2-barrel Weber side draft carbs — plus setting up points in two distributors to advance in unison.

Most decent mechanics could do the steps, but the job shouldn’t be attempted at home. The procedure takes far less time than a 40-hour Testarossa major service, but it requires a much more talented technician to get it done right. In period, C/4 maintenance was costly enough to scare more than one potential owner away — and certainly quenched C/4 values.

More popular in Europe

Europeans tend to live in close quarters, where parking space is precious and one car often has to fill dual purposes. In the United States, we often have multiple garages and different cars for different purposes. In Europe four-place and 2+2 Ferraris have long had a following, where in the United States they take the back seat to their two-passenger kin. This is another reason why C/4 values have trailed other Ferraris.

Closer to cousins than siblings

As Bonhams pointed out, the 365 GTC/4 probably had more in common with the 365 2+2 than the Daytona. The Daytona and C/4 shared an engine block but little else. Besides the obvious completely different body and interior, the C/4’s tipo 591 frame was similar to a 365 2+2-style frame — cut down to 2,500 mm, rather than the Daytona’s type 605 2,400 mm frame. The C/4’s transmission was mounted directly to the engine like the 365 2+2, while the Daytonas featured a rear transaxle. The C/4 uses a self-leveling rear suspension like the 365 2+2, whereas the Daytona does not.

On the road the C/4 reaches 60 in a lazy 6.7 seconds, with a top speed of 163 mph. The Daytona hits 60 in 5.6 seconds and tops out at 173 mph.

A great driver singing a beautiful song

In fairness, the C/4’s position is more akin to a luxury coupe, such as a Lusso or 330 GTC than a 2+2 or a hot Berlinetta. Used as a luxury coupe is where the C/4 really shines. The combination of the exquisite exhaust note and the induction noise of the side draft Webers gives the C/4 the most beautiful song of any production Ferrari. Power steering makes normal driving in the C/4 far more pleasurable than the non-assisted Daytona. Even the ride quality and ergonomics of the C/4 are tuned for comfort over sport.

Few GTs of the era can compare with a C/4.

Known history, few owners

365 GTC/4 number 15985 came out of the same Maranello Rosso Collection as the $38 million Ferrari 250 GTO that Bonhams sold at Quail Lodge in August.

The car has a known history from new, very few owners and about 37,200 miles on the clock. It also has sat relatively unused for many years and might require extensive recommissioning before it is ready for prime time. It appeared to be in good condition, with a very nice interior. The radio is missing, and the car has mags rather than the more popular wire wheels. There was no mention of a tool/jack kit or books, which would cost nearly $20,000 to replace.

One — maybe two — happy buyers

The winning bid was just over $270,000 including commission. Top examples have recently sold well into the $300,000 range, so the sale was probably a disappointment to the seller. C/4s can be devilishly expensive to refurbish, and there were a few unknowns with this car. That said, if it drove across the block, the buyer got the best of the deal.

The last time that I wrote about a C/4 was 2009 (May 2009, p. 34), and the sale price of that car was $74,500. I reported how C/4s were hard to sell and appealed more to speculators than collectors.

Actually, I probably stressed that nearly every client I talk to about C/4s cites potential appreciation over love of the car as their purchase rational. The speculators were right: C/4 values have nearly quadrupled in just five years. I’m thinking that even if he didn’t drive the car an inch, the $74,000 buyer must be pretty happy right now. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Bonhams.)

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