You can’t make this stuff up
Volume 46 Issue 6
Mar 14, 2021
Cathy falls down the rabbit hole researching a 365 GTC/4
So, I’m working on layout for the current issue and my phone rings. Which is odd enough because most folks get in touch via e-mail.
I had e-mailed this subscriber on the off chance he would be able to fill in some blanks in the database. He chose to call me rather than reply to the e-mail.
A little backstory …
I ‘subscribe’ to a lot of websites just looking for information on Ferrari. Sure, the Google alerts for Ferrari, Scuderia Ferrari, Ferrari North America, Carlos Sainz, Charles Leclerc. But also, BringATrailer, Copart Auto Auctions, even several brokers. Maybe I’ll get a new serial number here or there; sometimes it’s just about a car for sale. I’m still looking for 16 of the 70th Anniversary liveries.
Anyway, it makes opening my inbox like opening a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re gonna get.
I got an e-blast from Mike Sheehan’s Ferraris-online.com, for an engine out of a 365 GTC/4, S/N 14837 to be precise. Cool. Go to the database and make an entry with the Numero Interno.
Seems this C/4 has been modified and the original engine replaced with an engine from a 412. Hence, the original engine is no longer needed. At least the chassis is still surviving. There is an article in Forza magazine, #95 from August 2009, about the customization of this C/4.
Last entry in our database of any substance was the car being offered for sale in 1994 by a subscriber in Connecticut. “Properly restored in Rosso Bordeaux with magnificent tan Connolly leather and Wilton II carpeting. Engine, transmission and suspension completely rebuilt; engine compartment perfectly detailed. Original tool kit and manuals. Straight, undamaged car since new.”
Hmmm…doesn’t exactly sound like your typical candidate for ‘modification’, does it? But in 1994, the Asking Price Index value for a 365 GTC/4 was around $80,000.
So, sometime between 1995 and 2009, this car was customized. As Jim Weed said to me, it was like the 250 GTE of the 1970s, ripe to be something else.
I’m a fan of the C/4, and I wondered why someone would feel the need to soup it up. Oh well, not my car.
Back to the engine. In December 2020 Sheehan had the engine for sale:
1972 Ferrari 4.4 liter 365 GTC/4 engine tipo F101 AC 000 with engine # *00157* which was removed from 365 GTC/4 s/n 14837 in 2005 and was replaced by a 412i engine bored out to 5.2 liters, fitted with the carbs from engine # *00157* and built to produce 410 hp and 385 ft pounds of torque. 365 GTC/4 s/n 14837 was further modified into a resto-mod with a re-styled nose with the headlights mounted in the grille opening, a custom grille, chrome accents on the hood, subtle fender flairs, 7” wide front wheels, 10” wide rear wheels, 550 Maranello seats and much, much more. 365 GTC/4 engine # *00157* was a running and driving engine when removed in 2005 and comes all internal and cam chain tensioner. Engine # *00157* is missing the Weber 38 DCOE side draught carbs, intake and exhaust cam covers (with the built-in intake manifolds), air cleaners, exhaust headers, starter, alternator, A/C compressor and flywheel. Engine # *00157* is free and does turn over, but the cam chains are out of the engine, so the cams aren’t timed and so the engine can’t be fully turned over. 365 GTC/4 engine # *00157* would make a great display piece if painted and detailed, as a core for a rebuild, a donor engine for a Ferrari-powered hot rod or a spare engine or display engine from any C/4 owner.
Apparently, someone thought so. In February I got an e-mail from a different subscriber. Seems he owns a 365 GTC/4 and had purchased the engine from Mike Sheehan.
His request: On Bring a Trailer I recently bought a C/4 motor which belongs to 14837. Do you happen to know who owns that car? Before I take this motor apart, I wanted to see if the owner needs it. I bought this motor on a whim, probably by mistake. Either a coffee table or a few spare parts for an unknown future. As a C/4 owner, I figured it could not hurt to have a spare motor: coffee table or otherwise.
He also inquired about offering the motor for sale in the FML. “I would get it off of my chest that I tried before retiring it to the living room floor. I don’t need to make any money if it ends up with the car owner, its rightful place. Otherwise, I’d want a few grand more <than I paid> I suppose for the headache.”
You gotta love that he was going to put some effort into reuniting the engine with the chassis, although I think we all know how that story will end.
The modified car had been seen in the parking area at Cavallino in 2010, but we didn’t know the current owner’s name. What to do?
What else would I do but contact the gentleman who offered the car in 1994! See if he has records of the sale and if he would share that with me. Golly, 1994 … 26 years ago. How am I gonna find THAT guy?
Guess what … he STILL subscribes. He started subscribing in 1978. Fortunately, we have an e-mail address for contact, so I didn’t have to resort to snail mail (or the telephone).
I laid out my question and now we are back to the beginning of this article. He calls me!
We must have talked for close to an hour, of course not just about 365 GTC/4 S/N 14837, but the other Ferraris he has/had owned. Which led to my recent Information Wanted classified ad about 250 GT PF Coupe, S/N 1189 GT.
He kept meticulous records about the sale of 14837, had a copy of the bill of sale, and a keen memory for details about the buyer. All of which is now recorded in the database.
Because he too was curious about what happened to his ‘old’ car, I e-mailed him the link to another article about the customization of 14837. It goes into a lot of detail of all the work done, including engine work by Carobu Engineering, Costa Mesa, Calif. and he added “I have known of this shop for years and they do great work. Maybe if you contact shop owners Tate Casey or Bert Wehr, they could fill you in on the current owner.” The engine is basically a hybrid consisting of a later 412 block mated with the original 365 C/4s top end, to quote Casey.
I’d spent enough time down that rabbit hole, so I have not called them myself, but I did go back and read the article at retromodcars.com (www.retromodcars.com/features/subtle-but-effective-an-improved-1972-ferrari-365-gtc/4) and look at the photos. I’ll close with this quote from the article, “If you didn’t know better, you might be staring at a long-lost C/4 prototype.” Best of all, while the car at one time had been painted red and had tan interior, it is back to its original Azzurro.