Ferrari Test drives

I spent a day with a customer driving a number of Ferraris back-to-back last week, a gorgeous day about 55 degrees with slight wind. We got to compare a 365 GTC/4 with a 365 GTB/4 Daytona and 330 GTC with a 275 GTB/4. We also drive some other cars like a 246 GTS and a BBI.

What is amazing is how different the Pininfarina built cars are from there Scaglietti counterparts. The Scaglietti cars offered a much more thrilling driving experience in every regard. My customer described it best when he called the Daytona and the 275 GTB/4 as the more “athletic” cars.

The 365 GTC/4 is an excellent and civilized car with a firmly planted feeling as you travel at high speed. The overall build quality of the C/4 is amazing with perfect door fit and a Mercedes-Benz like solid feel. The visibility out of the car is tremendous and the car is a breeze to drive with power steering and great driving position. The engine noise and power is addictive especially when lugging the car through town or out of the door yard when you can take advantage of the low end torque.

However, the car does feel a bit like a German luxury car, a great drive that is not particularly thrilling because it does everything so well, even the power steering is direct and does not feel “numb” as other Ferraris with power assist steering. It is truly a car that needs to be driven for hundreds of miles to appreciate how wonderful the car really is.

The Daytona is a thrill. The car we drive was a converted to Spyder some time ago but was in excellent overall condition (like the C/4) and felt just as solid as a Daytona Coupe. I believe that Stramann did the conversion on the car and it has a few small reinforcements which disallow any “cowl shake” typically associated with convertibles.

The driving position is totally different, you sit further back in the chassis, and it feels that the driver is sitting in a deep soup bowl. The dash and steering wheel are much higher and you have to point your nose high to see over the hood! The build quality leaves alot to be desired, interior details are not as sturdy, doors feel lighter and overall the car feels rivited and glued together versus welded. The beautiful thing is that the car is still very heavy feeling similar to the C/4 and feels planted and stable going down the road.

The engine on the Daytona is amazing, instant throttle response, slick shifting trans-axle and immediate brakes. The non assisted steering is tolerable at slow, not as bad as all of the driving reports claim but at speed the steering is more direct and positive feeling than the C/4. The car has a reported 20 extra horsepower but feels like it has 100 extra HP! What a thrill, from the second you fire up the engine you know that the car is thrilling and you immediate satisfaction and is exactly the opposite the C/4 whereas the more you drive the Daytona the more you want to get out of the uncomfortable seats driving position and overall intensity.

The 330 GTC and 275 GTB/4 are very similar to the comparisons of the C/4 and Daytona except they share the same basic chassis and trans-axle layout. The GTB feels like a race car with tighter suspension and different driving position. They have totally different engines and the GTB engine is more tightly wound and the tachometer needs to be pointing nearer to red line to overtake another car. The GTC can pull from idle to red line in perfect linear progression where you can feel a definite power curve in the GTB’s engine.

The difference in overall build quality between these cars is obvious immediately. The GTB has light doors that close without a solid thud and body work feels shaky even though it is on that wonderful oval tube chassis. The GTC feels more like a car built by adults.

My customer was more moved by the Scaglietti cars, enjoying the thrill because after all, isn’t this why you buy a Ferrari in the first place? He enjoys the confidence of having that extra power on tap and feels the same way as the majority of Ferrari fans, the Daytona and 275 GTB/4 are some of the most beautiful and thrilling cars that have rolled out any production line.

I tend to enjoy the Pininfarina cars more, I like a car that you can get in and drive without feeling beat up and I am not interested in high speed driving. I like to enjoy the sensory element and listen to the noises without having that desire to test the more thrilling elements and get in trouble. I guess I am the boring guy!

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