Yesterday, while test-driving an XK 120, the gearbox magically decided that second gear was NOT an option. What is it about test drives that makes cars do things they have never done before? I’ve driven 500 miles in that XK 120 and they’ve all been free of the tension and worry that I associate with Jaguars of any year. I’ve become Jaguar-phobic after all of these years and find myself preparing for a drive in a brand new one the way I would for a drive in an E-type. I wouldn’t drive a brand new one without comfortable walking shoes, a full cell phone battery and more than a few Benjamin Franklins in my pocket – just to be safe. We survived the test drive, the neurosurgeon bought the car and I committed to “making the gearbox work as designed” regardless of cost. Ouch. I don’t know whether I’ll be in the red or black on that deal, but it’s the right thing to do.
After completing a difficult sale, I do what I always do – walk to my local sushi restaurant. They have decent fish and thanks to the language barrier, they don’t talk to me. It’s the one place in town that a local business owner (me) can go where he isn’t required to answer questions about inventory, give a full report on sales, advertising strategies and all things local. While I enjoyed the silence, I thought about fifteen years of memorable test drives. During my favorite one of all, I was the perspective buyer. The seller was so confident in the capabilities of his car and the merits of the model in general, that he pushed me to put the car through its paces on a beautiful mountain road in Colorado. The seller was Tom Barbour and his car was a silver Ferrari 365 GTC. Ever since that drive in 2002, I have been a strong supporter of the Ferrari 330 and 365 GTC. In the January 2010 issue of Sports Car Market Magazine, I was quoted as saying that GTCs would show strength in the market in the upcoming auctions Arizona auctions. It was true then, and at that point a good car was trading for $200,000. Since then, they haven’t just marched, they have sprinted up in value. Sure, all Ferraris are doing well, but percentage-wise the GTCs have really gained in value.
When you examine the model, I’m surprised it works so well visually and mechanically. Ferrari took the chassis from a 275 GTB, the engine from a 330 GT 2+2 and covered it with a Pininfarina body that took the front of the 400 Superamerica and the rear of the 275 GTS. The 300bhp 330 and 320bhp 365 are very capable and comfortable Grand Touring cars generously clothed in leather and available with air-conditioning. The view is nice and thanks to independent suspension all around, so is the ride. Production lasted from mid-1966 to the end of 1968, at which time the engine was enlarged to 4.4 liters, and the car became the 365 GTC. The 365 GTC was produced through the end of 1969. There were 598 330s and 168 365 GTCs produced. Visually the two cars were identical except for the placement of air vents, which moved from the fenders on the 330 to the hood on the 365.
As is always the case, the increase in value has drawn some really great cars to market. I have read all the recently arrived Pebble Beach auction catalogs from Bonhams, Gooding & Company and RM Auctions. Believe it or not, there are four 330 GTCs and two 365 GTCs. Based on the catalog descriptions, pictures and estimates, I don’t think you will be disappointed with any one of them and you have several colors to choose from. The 330s have low estimates ranging from $425,000 to $500,000 and the 365s are both $800,000. That’s a big spread for two models which are so similar, but the 365 has a very low production number to brag about (for a production car). Since I’m forecasting, I will bet the 330s sail beyond their low estimates well into the 500s and 600s, while the 365s stay pretty close to their number ($800k). Either way, the cars have officially arrived and will be a regular fixture in the marketplace.