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Car Tales: A Flat Tire Won't Stop Me from Buying This '67 Ferrari 330 GTC

‘You know those days when you feel like you’ve been hit by a bus? That is how this one started out. 
‘I had an important assignment, in which time would be of the essence. I had had a tip-off: a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC was being offered for sale. And I wanted to make sure I was the first person to see it: I had made a call and been given an address to see the car. Accordingly, early on the wintry morning I had climbed into my own car and started pulling out of my driveway. Immediately I saw that something was wrong: I had a flat tire. Just what I needed!
‘But fortunately for me I had not driven a classic car home the night before: my modern Mercedes had run-flat tires that gave me about 20 miles before I had to change the tire. I quickly and slowly, all at the same time, went to the gas station to give the tire enough air to make it to the seller’s house – though I would have to drive slower than the passing traffic to not create more damage to it. And so I set off once more. My destination was the other side of Los Angeles, some distance away.
1967 Ferrari Buyer
‘About a third of the way there I got a call from the daughter of the vendor. Her father was no longer sure he wanted to sell the Ferrari. Immediately I made him an offer. And kept driving along the freeway.
‘I was almost at my journey’s end when I received another call from the vendor’s daughter, rejecting my offer. ‘I’m only five minutes away from you,’ I said, and upped the figure I had suggested. When I finally reached the vendor’s property it was as though I had found the fabled, mythological El Dorado.  
‘The white Ferrari 330 GTC was hidden in the garage of this relatively modest home. It had been there for many years waiting to be restored. I was so excited to see the car I could not wait for the garage door to be opened: this has always been the most exciting part of buying and finding exciting classic cars, the moment you arrive and wait for the door to open or to be allowed into the house of any seller to come out back to see the car for the first time. Well, when the garage door did open I saw a 60s shaped Ferrari with a car cover hiding it – which only built up my enthusiasm. Finally, the car was revealed: even if I was not able to buy it I would still be satisfied to have been able to even spend time with this unicorn.
‘The vendor didn’t appear at first. When I asked the vendor’s daughter about him, I misheard her when she told me what her father’s occupation had been: ‘Oh, so you say he was a physician?’ No, her father had not been a physician. He had been a physicist, building satellites at NASA. ‘Top secret stuff,’ she told me.
‘Now I was not only fascinated by the car, but by its owner and the vehicle’s provenance. The daughter filled me in.
‘Her father had purchased the Ferrari in 1970, three years after it had been manufactured. He loved the model, and it was exactly what he had been looking for. Moreover, it already had some past.
‘None other than Enzo Ferrari, the inspirational genius behind the Ferrari marque, would legendarily take one example off the Ferrari line of each model: rumored that for a time this very car I had come to see and hopefully buy would be the vehicle he would personally drive, chosen by Enzo Ferrari over half a century ago. Whilst it was in his possession, Enzo would loan this vehicle out to his Grand Prix racing drivers; at the time these included the legends Chris Amon, Andrea de Adamich and Jacky Ickx. The Grand Prix racer Nicky Lauda, three-time F1 World Drivers’ Champion, also had driven this very car. Unsurprisingly: ’The GTC was one of the finest machines ever from the Ferrari line,’ said Enzo Ferrari in Warren Fitzgerald and Richard Merritt’s book, Ferrari: The Sports and Gran Turismo Cars.
‘Then Enzo Ferrari sold the car on, to his close friend, the mayor of nearby Modena, only a short distance from Maranello, where Ferrari’s motors were manufactured. 
‘When the mayor sold it in 1970 this present vendor bought it and used it for his personal transport. But he would also loan the 330 GTC to his daughter. ‘I was driving the car when I was in school,’ she said. ‘I got a lot of attention from men. People would say, “It’s because you’re so beautiful.” I said that it was because it was such a beautiful machine. I had people literally following me home: you know how fanatical people can be about Ferraris.
‘I had had a Grand Prix driver teach me to drive. We were on the German autobahn and he said I’d better teach you how to do this properly. The co-founder of Robinson May, the department store chain, had driven the car and been in it a lot with me. ‘“Do it,” he would say to me, “Put your pedal to the metal.” I had it up to 120 mph going through the Mojave desert once. It airfoiled on me: I was shocked. My brother, who was with me, said, “Lift your foot off the pedal, please.”’
‘Eventually, time ordained that the ’67 Ferrari 330 GTC was in need of some care and attention. It was put in for a full restoration. For complicated reasons, this was never completed. Which is why when I got to view the vehicle some of the parts were locked away upstairs. I could see that everything was shipshape and in order, however. 
classic-ferrari-buyer-alex-manos
‘I no longer felt that I had been hit by a bus. My flat tire had not been the negative omen I had at first feared it might be. Quite the contrary, in fact. I made the vendor a further offer. Which he graciously accepted. Then I arranged to have the Ferrari 330 GTC picked up and taken to my premises. Then I followed after it.
-Alex Manos, Owner – Beverly Hills Car Club

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