GTO 3987 on Mulholland

GTO 3987 on Mulholland

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Ferrari 365 California spider

This from my friend Serge Dermanian in France:


Remember the Citroen SM? In 1973, I was awarded the franchise for that french car for my High Performance Cars dealership in Waltham, MA. In Fébruary 1974, Mr Paul McDonald came to my showroom with his friend Skip Barber to test drive my own company car, a brown Citroen SM. After the test drive, Skip gave his approval, for Mr. McDonald to purchase my car. Great! But not so great because, "I have a car I am asking you to take in trade." What was it? A 1967 Ferrari 365 California spider (s/n 9849)

I told him "OK" but I had to see the vehicle. I knew about the California spiders and a few had passed through the store. That was a time when a NY Bronx car broker was bringing in lots of Ferraris from Italy as the strength of the dollar was convincing overseas owners to get rid of their cars. I remember having a rare Michelotti-bodied, blue 250 GT in the NY warehouse.

The California was brought in for a test drive and appraisal It had good oil pressure, the gear box shifted well without any second gear grinding. However, the steering was very hard! The odometer showed 31,074 miles. The problem was that the paint was terrible; a partially faded burgundy. The Borrani wheels were slightly pitted. I noticed that the front pop-up fog light doors were welded shut and under the hood, the power steering pump was missing. Upon further investigation, I found all the missing items just thrown into the trunk! It looked like a junk yard with lots of small parts including the two pop-up light assemblies. That was good! I inventoried all the parts and thanked God they were there. Some small items I had to order from Ferrari and we were fortunate in those days to find practically all parts in the States.

The California's original teak dash was in good order and the Blaukpunkt radio & power antenna and power windows were all working. The black leather seats were fine. The convertible top was in fair condition but this car had been sitting outdoors on a used car lot in New Hampshire and the rear plexiglass window had chalk traces of a dollar sign & would you believe it? The price was $3,500!

I started the restoration work, doing it myself and making a list of parts. I still have today the original parts layout of the power steering system, driven by the left bank camshaft. As I dismantled the car, I found that all the trim pieces, handles, grill, etc. had the 9849 number inscribed--even windshield posts, inside the chrome! When stripping off the paint we found green paint and, under that, the original white paint.

If anyone has the 1990 first quarter Prancing Horse N°94, I had written the story of that car, in that issue, for David Seibert. I am not going to redo my old story, but will add this: the windshield was broken while in storage in Abko Auto body. No one had a windshield in stock, not FAF (the Ferrari store of Atlanta), not the factory. What to do?

I had found an advertisement in Autoweek magazine from someone offering to re-manufacture any windshield as long as you send them the old glass. I air-shipped the broken glass with no word as to how long it would take. After many attempts, I failed to reach them on the phone because the phone had been disconnected! Luckily enough, I had a customer, a Khamsin owner, who had a body shop supply business with an office close to the windshield specialist. There he found that the doors had been locked by the police because they were using the windshield business as a front to bring drugs in from Mexico! My friend succeeded in convincing the local sheriff to release my glass, which was then sent to a glass company in Pittsburgh.

I had chosen light silver, since I was told by the factory it was originally white with two-tone white and blue hide. I had the original brochure from 1967 showing this car in that configuration. The result was superb with new Borranis and a new black mohair top. The pop-up lights were now working and the power steering as well. I had replaced the Borrani wheels with the original, correct sizes, as noted on the SEFAC rim sizes notice. I was pleased with the result

On June 10, 1977, I sold 9849 to a man who had promised that he was buying
it for his personal use, since it was a 4-seat convertible and he could safely take his 2 children on trips. Therefore, I was very upset when just about a month after purchasing 9849 he had advertised my car in a half-page, back cover, color picture at more than 3 times the price he had paid to me, falsely stating that the restoration was done under his friend's supervision. They had removed the trapezoidal back-up lamps replacing them with two large, round tail lamps. I've seen many of the 13 365 Californias and none had that type of tail lamp. Also, only one of the 13 produced ever had pop-up lights originally. I think that should set the record straight.

Voilà, Stephen! I hope you can use it with all the pictures!!

Serge Dermanian

Yes I can, Serge. Thank you very much!

This just in from Larry Crane:


Are you aware this is one of the cars Tom Tjaarda did for Pininfarina? I always liked this car. It was huge, but a pretty shape—like the Queen Mother 365 GT 2+2. Tom did that one and the 4-lite 330 2+2 as well. I have a digital Tom portfolio I assembled for a future issue of AUTO Aficionado, but the magazine didn't survive long enough to publish it.

Thanks for these fascinating posts.


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