Special is a word for the 1966 Ferrari 330 GTC. It came from an era when Ferrari grand touring cars were coming into their own. The separation between racing and road cars was complete, and touring cars no longer suffered under the compromises imposed by competition siblings.
The Ferrari 330 GTC was introduced at the March 1966 Geneva Auto Show and was an evolution of the earlier four seat 330GT, which would henceforth be known as the 330GT 2+2. It used the chassis of the 275GTB and the 4.0-liter 330 sohc engine. The body was designed by Pininfarina and borrowed the front end from the earlier Ferrari 400 Superamerica and the rear from the 275 GTS. One might expect such a committee of parts to produce an awkward whole but, in the case of the 330 GTC, one would be wrong.
The shape is classic. The nose is drawn into an oval opening containing the traditional Ferrari egg-crate grille, the headlights set into scoops in the fenders. Behind either front wheel opening are engine air exhaust vents, and a subtle crease sweeps rearward to become the top edge of the trunk lip, defining the car’s profile and providing character to what would otherwise be a rather plain flank.
The cabin is light, with only the slimmest of A and C-pillars. The design has aged well, still looking handsome and not outdated.
The chassis of the 330 GTC is Ferraro Traditional: ladder-type welded steel tubes. Suspension is fully-independent, with unequal-length A-arms and coil springs front and rear. Power from the V-12 is delivered to a transaxle via a torque tube.
The engine itself is a Colombo-based 60-degree V-12 displacing3967cc. With three downdraft Webers and a hardly radical compression ratio of 8.8:1, it produces some 300 horsepower at 7000 rpm, according to the factory. Fitted with original-spec 205-14 tires front and rear, the coupe is capable of turning the quarter mile in just under15 seconds at 95 mph. Zero to 100 mph takes 17.1 seconds and top speed is around 145 mph.
It is without a doubt a capable performer. One expects that of a Ferrari. However, anyone so fortunate as to hear the howl of a 275 GTB from the inside might be unprepared for a ride inside the Ferrari 330 GTC. The original mufflers work, and they work too well. Hardly any of the fabulous V-12 exhaust noise is released into the atmosphere (remember, of course, that we’re comparing this to a 275 GTB) and in the cabin the predominant sounds are mechanical: the happy buzzing of two dozen rocker arms on a brace of camshafts, pistons going up and down and the driveshaft spinning around.
With the faintest of intake drone and just a hint of exhaust, it’s an internal combustion opera to make Verdi weep. Pianissimo, to be sure, but no less appassionato.
It makes an excellent Interstate car, capable of cruising all day, effortlessly and silently at 80 to 90 mph. It’s no less competent on roads of the two lane variety. The driving position is comfortable, despite the original primitive seat belts. The steering wheel is reasonably vertical and the pedals not at all too close.
The shifter is gated, and despite that it must remotely activate the transaxle, the action is precise and easy. It is possible to beat the synchros into second gear—this is a Ferrari—but if one restrains the Garlits impulse, the gearbox is a paragon of smoothness.
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Category: Times Were