The Ferrari 330 P4 – A design icon built to race.

 Two weeks back, I spent a couple of hours with a Ferrari 330 P4. I’m still losing sleep over her. 

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Beauty means different things to all of us. For some of us, a new-born baby is beautiful. For others, it’s scenery and for petrolheads, it’s a well-designed car. Standards of beauty change from time to time. Yet, there are some things, which defy trends to remain beautiful, in everyone’s eyes. They are considered truly timeless.

IMG_1232I encountered the Ferrari 330 P4 for the first time when Petrolicious released a video featuring the car in summer 2014. I was interning for Crank and Piston at the time and I wrote a piece on the car, including the video as supporting content.

Turn the clock forward a couple years, and I find myself standing at the Dubai Autodrome technical area, as a Ferrari 330 P4 is unloaded from a recovery truck. Granted, the car is a Norwood replica, but essentially the same as the original, of which only four were ever built.

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Every angle on the car seems well thought out, and when one steps back to take in the whole thing, it looks like a work of art. Several times, I had to lift my jaw off the ground as I ogled this four-wheeled machine.

Looks aside (I can’t believe I am saying that), the car has no shortage of motorsport history to its name. Most know the bitter rivalry between Ferrari and Ford, which resulted in the birth of the invincible Ford GT40. Il Commendatore was not impressed, and decided to devote all resources to building a car that would beat the American usurper. The 330 P4 was the result of that all out effort and it did not go in vain. Ferrari won the 1967 World Sportscar Championship, returning the hard-won title to Maranello.

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A rulebook change in 1968 reducing engine displacement to 3 litres effectively ruled out the P4’s involvement in that year’s motorsport season. The P4 had a 3967cc V12 and Ferrari decided not to race that year.

History lesson over, I still can’t believe how good this car looks. The four fenders rise significantly above the rest of the car, creating an image of a machine that could come only from the 1960s. A similar design language can be seen in the Maserati Birdcage concept and the very new Redbull/Aston Martin AM-RB 001. However, neither of them can pull it off the way the P4 does.

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Having taken my photos, I was still mesmerized by the car two hours later, when I was kindly nudged by the recovery truck driver asking whether I was done. As I saw the car disappear under the canopy of the truck, I sighed.

The 330 P4 has etched its name in motorsport history, can be rolled into a Milan fashion show and replace the show-stopper and has an engine note that would make an orchestra conductor quit his job.

I mentioned beauty earlier, but I think we’re closer to perfection here…

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Special thanks to Dubai Autodrome for their hospitality and for allowing us to shoot the P4 at their pitlane. 

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