Ferrari 365 P Fathered the Dino…
Rumor has it the first guy to own a Ferrari 365 P bitched because it didn’t have air conditioning and was too hard to drive in Manhattan traffic. Promptly returned to Luigi Chinetti’s shop, he purchased a much more civilized 365 GT 2+2.
I saw the car last year in Nashville, and couldn’t help but wonder how many times that original owner has kicked himself. Ah, hindsight.
Originally conceived as a Le Mans contender, the Ferrari 365 P was Ferrari’s only road going mid-engined V-12 in the 60’s.
Triple carbs, 4.4 liters, the internals of the engine were from Chinetti’s 365 P2 race cars that were campaigned by NART, the North American Racing Team. With an aluminum body, and full integrated roll cage, Enzo Ferrari thought it to be simply too much car for the street, and only two were ever built.
The 365 P gives hints to the race car under the aluminum body. Competition pedals, single center-mount windshield wiper taken off the racing 365 P2 cars, and NART badges are subtle signals that it’s a beast at heart. In fact, Chinetti had to modify the fuel tank to keep the owner from having to fill the car from inside the cockpit like the racing version.
But the thing that makes the 365 P really special is the unique three across seating with the driver in the center, slightly ahead of his two passengers.
When Road & Track first reviewed the Ferrari 365 P tres posti back in 1965, they included a cartoon with the 365 P driver sitting centered, while his two female guests held a fist fight by the side of the road. With no accompanying text, there is still speculation as to what’s going on.
The Tre Posti was Sergio Pininfarina’s brainchild and enjoyed a yearlong world tour to major auto shows.
Although Enzo Ferrari never went forward with the development of the Ferrari 365 P, he later incorporated many external styling designs into the Ferrari 206 and 246 Dinos, but it wasn’t until 1973 that Enzo saw the justification for another mid-engine V-12 and Ferrari produced the mid-engined 365 Boxer Berlinetta.
And that second car? Built for Fiat Boss Gianni Agnelli, the car had a 250LM platform. Bet he never gave that one back.