1966 Ferrari 365 California

Presented at the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, this was one of the most memorable interpretations of the Italian open sports car theme.

Pininfarina enclosed the sophisticated 4.4-litre V12 engine in a body of rare beauty, making it the benchmark in the high performance luxury sports car category.

The car’s high price and exclusive image meant it was destined for the most elite section of the market, and only 14 were built.

Chassis number 08347 was the prototype for the series built on a 330 GT 2+2 type 571 chassis, whereas the production series started with serial # 09127, using a chassis with type reference 598.

Like the 500 Superfast, the chassis’ were sent to Pininfarina who bodied and trimmed them at their plant in Grugliasco, and then returned them to Ferrari for the fitment of the mechanical components.

Apart from cosmetic ancillary details, like the standard Plexiglass covered headlights, hidden swivelling driving lights in the upper nose panel, a lack of vents on the wing sides, the provision of a central bonnet bulge, and a body side crease line, the 365 California was visually similar to the 500 Superfast model from the windscreen forward.

As with the 500 Superfast the 365 California featured tail light assemblies that were unique to the model, being angular units to suit the shape of the tail corner, with triple circular lenses in a reflective surround. However, there were differences between the reflector colours and even the lens units on individual cars.

Again, as on the 500 Superfast, quarter bumpers were provided to each corner, although one example, chassis # 08631, was fitted with a full width rear bumper, and concurrently an amended tail light layout, when refurbished at the factory in 1970. The Borrani wire wheels stayed in place on this model, even though most of the mainstream Ferrari production cars had cast alloy wheels as standard equipment.

The bodies were mounted on a 2650mm wheelbase chassis that had factory reference number 598, and all were numbered in the odd chassis number road car sequence, without any suffix letters. They were constructed along similar lines to the concurrent 330 GT 2+2 model, and featured similar independent front suspension, rigid rear axle with leaf springs and telescopic shock absorbers, four wheel disc brakes, with separate front and rear hydraulic circuits, and the model was fitted with the power assisted steering that was optional on late series 330 GT 2+2 models.

Ferrari 365 California Technical Specifications

Year of Manufacture – 1966

type front, longitudinal 60° V12
bore/stroke 81 x 71 mm
unitary displacement 365.86 cc
total displacement 4390.35 cc
compression ratio 8.8 : 1
maximum power 235 kW (320 hp) at 6600 rpm
power per litre 73 hp/l
maximum torque
valve actuation single overhead camshaft per bank, two valves per cylinder
fuel feed three twin-choke Weber 40 DFI/5 carburettors
ignition single spark plug per cylinder, two coils
lubrication wet sump
clutch single-plate
frame tubular steel
front suspension independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
rear suspension live axle, radius arms, semi-elliptic springs, coil springs over telescopic shock absorbers
brakes discs
transmission 5-speed + reverse
steering servo-assisted recirculating ball
fuel tank capacity 100 litres
front tyres 205 x 15
rear tyres 205 x 15
type two-seater spider
length 4900 mm
width 1780 mm
height 1330 mm
wheelbase 2650 mm
front track 1405 mm
rear track 1397 mm
weight 1320 kg (dry)
top speed 245 km/h
acceleration 0-100 km/h
0-400 m
0-1000 m

Ferrari 365 California Servicing