Before Ferrari’s 330 P3 ran and was beaten by the GT40 at Le Mans in 1966, Ferrari’s prizefighter was the 1965 330 P2. In anticipation of the upcoming Ford v Ferrarifilm, which will be released nationwide on November 15, Hagerty’s main office in Traverse City, Michigan, is hosting a recreation of one of these beautiful Ferrari 330 P2 racers, which is partially based on a 1965 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2.
With genuine Ferrari race cars at a premium, a recreation like this is not so much sacrilege as a documentation of history. Many race cars from the era were molded and morphed from season to season, with specification changing annually to fit an ever-changing rulebook. Whereas some recreations can be easily replicated by use of more common parts (for instance, a 427 Cobra engine can be sourced from other Ford products), Ferrari aficionados do not have the same luxury. Thus, though most of this P2 recreation was built from scratch, the 330 GT 2+2 donated running gear and some suspension components to fit out the V-12 Ferrari heart and custom-made body.
The P2 followed the trend for racing cars of the era: short, low, and mid-engined, with minimal attention to downforce. The F-cars heading into the infamous battle were the 250 P, 275 P, and finally the 330 P. Each held an increasingly larger engine, although the 330 P still had a scant 4.0 liters of displacement from 12 cylinders.
Ferrari was a 24 Hours of Le Mans powerhouse in the 1960s, following victories in ’54 and ’58 with a whopping six straight from 1960–65. This winning streak sparked a battle for the ages, as Henry Ford II’s failed attempt to purchase the Italian automaker strengthened his resolve to beat Ferrari at its own endurance game. Ford’s efforts gave birth to the GT40, but what was that iconic big-block racer pitted against? A four-liter V-12, because, of course, the company from Maranello would bring a scalpel to Ford’s cannon fight.
It was not power that Ferrari used to finish ahead of Ford in the years leading up to 1966, however; the Ferraris regularly crossed the finish line, something that the Fords struggled to do. As reliability was sorted out on the Ford GT40s, the 330 P evolved into the P2/3 P3, P3/4, and P4 in the ever-more-maddening battle to keep Ford off the podium. However, the GT40s were gaining reliability to match the Ferraris’ raw speed. The writing was on the wall.
Ford elbowed Ferrari off the podium in ’66, but that hardly detracts from the awesome power and style of this 1965 330 P2 replica. The Ferrari wears bright green, which seems like an odd choice for a Prancing Horse entry but is actually a nod to British privateer Ferrari racer David Piper. Piper aligned himself with the old trend from the Gordon Bennett Cup Race, in which each car’s color aligned with the entrant’s nationality.
If you are in the Traverse City area, be sure to drop by and have a look at this green machine… as well as a 1966 Ford GT40. (More about that car soon.)