The Ferrari 330 P3/4 was one of the legendary contenders in the ferocious battle between Ford and Ferrari in the mid to late 1960's. Also called the 412 P, the Ferrari received its 330 P3/4 designation for sharing key components with both Ferrari's 330 P3 and 330 P4. Those latter two cars were instrumental in Ferrari's 1960's racing efforts, and were raced by the Ferrari works team. The 330 P3/4 was sold to private teams such as NART for competition purposes.
The 330 P3/4 can easily trace its heritage back to the first of its series, the 330 P. The 330 P was the first Ferrari to be pinned against a Ford GT40. When Ferrari and Ford first fought at Le Mans in 1964, the 330 P filled the podium while no Fords finished. Ferrari's 1-2-3 finish only encouraged Ford to put more time and money into developing its GT40, though, and the American giant prepared for a triumphant return.
While neither Ferrari and its revised 330 P2 nor Ford and its 7.0-liter GT40 realized much racing success in 1965, the following year was to be exciting and eventful. Ferrari replaced the 330 P2 with the P3 variant in 1966. Featuring such improvements over the preceding model as a stiffer chassis, ZF 5-speed transmission, and fuel injection, the 330 P3 was an impressive racer on paper. However, Ferrari could not provide enough essential development time for the gestation of the P3. Reliability problems resulted, and Ford was able to turn the tides entirely. All three spots on the Le Mans podium went to Ford in 1966, with no Ferraris completing the race.
Embarrassed and angered, Ferrari put forth all of the resources the little company could muster into the following variation of the 330. The P4 was ready for the 1967 racing season, and it was clearly the only car that could bring back some fortune to Ferrari. With a 36-valve cylinder head atop its 4-liter V12, the P4 made 450bhp. The nose of the car was elongated to reduce aerodynamic lift, a feature that also succeeded in making a beautiful car look even better. Though a Ford GT40 managed to place first at Le Mans for 1967, Ferrari placed its P4 racers in second and third places at the same event.
Ferrari's success was more notable at the 1967 Daytona race. Here, on Ford's home turf in the United States, Ferrari dominated. The prancing horses from Maranello captured a podium-filling finish. Two Ferrari 330 P4 cars took first and second, while the NART-entered 330 P3/4 took third.
The 330 P3/4 used a P3 engine mounted within a P4 body. Though not as impressive as the mechanically-advantaged P4, the P3/4 was a reliable improvement over the P3 that experienced success in the hands of skilled private teams. Its 4-liter V12, with a 24-valve cylinder head, produced 420bhp at a lofty 8,000rpm. The car was able to reach 200mph at Le Mans. Its 5-speed transaxle incorporated a limited-slip differential to better traction and handling. Independent suspension with coil springs at all corners combined with rack and pinion steering to offer excellent handling, and ventilated disc brakes for all wheels ensured that the P3/4 could scrub speed with authority. All of these mechanicals were wrapped within a tubular frame and surrounded by panels that used aluminum extensively for lightness and rigidity. Chassis 0844 was converted to an open-air P3/4 Spider for Can-Am racing.
The 330 P3/4 was a successful racer that provided private teams with a precise instrument with which to race and to win. It may not have been tied in with the famous drivers of Ferrari's renowned factory team, but its engineering and styling were both as beautiful as the rest of the 330 P series.
Dron, Tony. 'Ferrari P3/4.' Classic Driver Web.5 Aug 2009.
'Lot No. 220: 1967 Ferrari 330 P4.' RM Auctions Web.10 May 2009. By Evan Acuña
Ferrari produced just four examples of the P4 engined cars. Three were 330 P4s and one was a P3/4. The 3-valve cylinder head took their design inspiration from the Italian Grand Prix-winning Formula One Cars. A fuel injection system was added from th....[continue reading]