Ferrari, mere mention of the name evokes images of fast cars, exotic locations, exotic women and the nouveau rich. Pininfarina, Ferrari's collaborative design partner, were responsible for clothing some of the most beautiful cars ever made.
Pininfarina's patriarch Battista 'Pinin' Farina famously said, "The interrelation between the body of a beautiful woman and that of a Farina-designed car is that both have simplicity and harmony of line, so that when they are old, one can still see how beautiful they were when they were young."
But that wasn't true of all Pininfarina designed Ferrari's, the Mondial from the eighties era, for example, is often cited as being one of least attractive Ferrari's ever.
Which brings us to 1971, where the 'ugly duckling' Ferrari 365 GTC4 2+2 was first revealed to the public at the Geneva International Motor Show.
The 365 GTC4, released in the middle of the life cycle of one of Ferrari's/Pininfarina's arguably greatest design triumphs, the Ferrari 365 GTB4 Daytona. The 365 GTC4 was for all intents and purposes supposed to be the family man's Daytona, accounted for by its 2+2 seating arrangement, where small children could be sat in the rear.
The Daytona lineage didn't stop there, both cars shared the same glorious 4.4litre V12 engine, albeit detuned to 340bhp (as opposed to 352bhp for the Daytona), similar suspension and brakes, and the same five-speed transaxle transmission.
To say it received a rather lacklustre reception is an extreme understatement, here in Aus when something considered aesthetically way off, 'Pig Ugly' is often used to describe it. You could bet your bottom dollar if the conservative Swiss knew of the term it would have been bandied about at the Ferrari stand that year.
Until a few years ago I would have been inclined to agree. Being a dyed in the wool Ferrari fan tends to make you a little one-eyed, but from images I had seen, pretty wasn't a word that I'd associated with the 365 GTC4, that is until I saw one in the metal.
It seems the ugly ducking is indeed a beautiful swan; pictures can't convey the abject beauty that is the 365 GTC4. Stylistically it was way ahead of its time, throwing many people off, the front and rear bumper treatments in resin, (a first for a Ferrari) were considered odd, disrupting the flow of the design.
Remembering this is a very rare Ferrari, only 500 in total produced, the chance of seeing one are small. However, I was lucky enough to, not only see one but to see and hear it in motion. If you haven't listened to the sound of a Ferrari V12 in full song and you're a fan, do yourself a favour, put it on your bucket list, it is aural bliss.
Why is the 365 GTC4 beautiful? The sensuous curves present on the 365 GTC4 is faithful to the ethos that Battista 'Pinin' Farina tried to put forward in all his designs, but it has to be seen with your own eyes to appreciate it. The particular example I saw had its black resin bumpers colour keyed to the bodywork, exquisite. It's a big car, much larger than I had expected, it's intimidating; as a result, its pronounced feline haunches make it look ready to pounce. A case of looking fast standing still without a doubt.
Forty-six years on a Ferrari that was considered an also-ran is now highly sought after, reputed to be a better drive than the Daytona, a pristine 365 GTC4 is now heading north of $590,000 AUD. I remember seeing a metallic silver-grey example for sale on carsales.com.au in 2005 for the relatively paltry sum of $98,000 AUD, God if I only had a crystal ball, how many other investments do so well? The reality is I couldn't afford it then, and I certainly can't afford it now, doesn't stop me dreaming though.
Engine: Front mounted 4.4litre V12 petrol, DOHC
Max Power: 340bhp @ 6200rpm
Max Torque: 423Nm @ 4000rpm
Transmission: Rear wheel drive 5-speed transaxle
Suspension: Fully independent double wishbone with anti-roll bars, telescopic dampers, front and rear
Tyres: 215/70 VR 15" all round
0 to 100km/h: 6.5 seconds (European spec)
Max Speed: 260km/h