Wednesday, July 1, 2020

1967 Ferrari 350 Can-Am

In the early 1960's, Ferrari was the most potent player in endurance racing. Competing in GT and prototype classes, Ferrari was building some of the fastest cars of the period. The company hovered out of reach above the rest of the racing world. None could touch the mighty Ferrari. Maranello's miracle workers were so successful that Ford showed great interest in buying the company.
The notoriously headstrong Enzo Ferrari was not willing to see through any agreements with the likes of Ford, and after the talks went sour Ford decided to devote a portion of its vast resources to developing a strong racing team. Out of a personal grudge between two men, Ford's legendary GT40 was created.
The first time Ford met Ferrari on the track was in 1964 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Reliability problems meant no Fords finished, while Ferrari placed a 4-liter 330 P in first, second, and third. For 1966, both manufacturers geared up for an all-out battle. It spelled war. Ferrari revised the 330 further. It featured innovations such as a 5-speed ZF gearbox, lightweight fiberglass doors, and a new Lucas fuel injection system. The cars were marvels on paper, but not enough development time meant reliability problems.
Ford came through with a podium-filling finish while no Ferraris completed the race. The reversal of fortunes was a devastating and embarrassing moment for the Italian sports car maker. Ferrari spared nothing in its development of the 330 P4. At the 24 Hours of Daytona race in 1967, Ferrari earned back its pride. They destroyed the Ford home team, with P4's crossing the finish line in first and second, followed closely by a remaining P3. After the 1967 season regulations were changed and there was no longer a place for the large displacement sports prototypes.

Ferrari brought two of the 330 P4s back to the factory and converted them for use in the North American Can-Am series. One example failed to change hands in 2012 for $ 10m.