The Ferrari 330 series belonged to a long line of Ferrari road cars with front-mounted V12 engines, cars that were members of a bloodline whose history is still being written by the 612 Scaglietti and 599 GTB Fiorano. The 330's name derived from the then-familiar Ferrari practice of naming cars for their per-cylinder displacement in cubic centimeters, indicating that the engines used to power this series of cars displaced a total of 12x330cc, or about four liters. Preceded by the 275 and replaced by the 365, the 330 was caught right in the middle of a glorious era for Ferrari road cars.
The 330 spawned the vaunted 330 P series of mid-engined racers, which battled Ford's GT-40 in sports car racing throughout the mid-1960s. A successor to the legendary 250 GTO was also created using the 330 motor, named the 330 LMB. Ferrari produced only four of these latter models.
The 330 road cars were decidedly more relaxed and less exhilarating than the racing cars mentioned above, but their relatively high sales numbers and use of race-bred components meant that they were still important cars to Ferrari's history. Ferrari produced the 330 road cars primarily in four guises: the 330 America, the 330 GT 2+2, and the coupe/spider couple named 330 GTC and 330 GTS.
Ferrari introduced the 330 America first. It was a transitional model, essentially a 250 GTE 2+2 with the new 330 motor. The 330 GT 2+2 followed in 1964, and was a more thoroughly revised grand tourer built on a chassis stretched by 50mm compared to the America. This newer model, though still closely related to its predecessor, wore a controversial body design by the familiar Pininfarina. Its front end styling used an unconventional quad-headlight arrangement that mounted the two lights per side in clusters canted down toward the egg crate grille, creating an aggressive but cumbersome appearance of slanted eyes. The Mulliner Park Ward-bodied Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud III of the mid-1960s used a similar frontal treatment, also with questionable results.
A more harmonious front end debuted on the 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2, reverting to a more traditional twin-headlight approach. Other changes for 1965 included the replacement of the four-speed with overdrive gearbox by a 5-speed unit, and the introduction of power steering and air conditioning as options. Production of the 330 GT 2+2 continued until late 1967, by which time Ferrari had produced some 1,075 examples of the model. This was an excellent figure for a 1960s Ferrari, especially when compared to the 50 examples of the transitional 330 America that the company produced.
At the Geneva Motor Show of 1966, Ferrari introduced a two-seater 330 coupe called the GTC. Also styled by Pininfarina, the GTC looked surprisingly sultry given that its design was an amalgamation of prior cues. From the front the GTC aspired to 500 Superfast or 400 Superamerica greatness, while from the back the car looked like a 275 GTS with a fixed roof. Somehow the look came together remarkably well, though, creating an iconic Ferrari design without the hand-me-down flavor that could have resulted from the borrowed styling features.
Later in 1966, at Paris, the spider version of the 330 appeared. Named 330 GTS and clearly an open version of the GTC, it too was a lovely design. Production of both the GTC and GTS ended in 1968, after Ferrari produced approximately 600 coupes and 100 spiders.
The engine common to all 330 series road cars was a 60-degree V12 of 3,967cc displacement. The block and heads were cast silumin, an aluminum and silicon alloy. A chain-driven single overhead camshaft per cylinder bank operated two inclined valves per cylinder that opened into hemispherical combustion chambers. Ferrari employed three Weber carburetors and an 8.8:1 compression ratio in the 330 motor to create a power plant that was capable of 300bhp at 6,600rpm in street tune. The V12 was bolted to a 5-speed gearbox in all 330 road cars, excepting the 330 America and early 330 GT 2+2, which used 4-speed gearboxes with overdrive.
Double wishbones and coil springs suspended the front end of all 330 road cars. The GTC and GTS used independent rear suspensions, but the 2+2 models retained live axles. Brakes were assisted four wheel discs on all models, using an unconventional dual-circuit design that incorporated two master cylinders and two servos.
Pininfarina styled and bodied all four standard versions of the 330 road car, though there were bespoke examples crafted by other coachbuilders including Michelotti and Drogo. The 330 chassis was made of tubular steel, and the Pininfarina bodies too were primarily steel, but with opening panels in aluminum.
As witnesses of Ferrari's finest days, the 330 series road cars have become historically important and commensurately collectible. The GTC and GTS remain the thoroughbred sophisticates of the series and command high prices. The 2+2 models, though, especially the oddly styled early 330 GT 2+2s, represent good value and are some of the most attainable machines to emit the distinctive mechanical symphony of a 1960s Ferrari V12.Sources:
'Ferrari 330.' CarsfromItaly.net n. pag. Web. 27 Dec 2010. http://carsfromitaly.net/ferrari/index.html.
'Specifications.' 330 Register n. pag. Web. 27 Dec 2010. http://www.330register.com/models.cfm.
Tyer, Ben. 'Ferrari 330 GTC.' Supercars.net n. pag. Web. 27 Dec 2010. http://www.supercars.net/cars/551.html.By Evan Acuña