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.Sources:
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
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