Shortly after the last FERRARI 500 SUPERFAST was made in 1967, the Ferrari 365 California Spyder was announced as the model's successor. It was the continuation of a series of limited production cars which included the 410 AND 400 SUPERAMERICA'S.
These cars were marketed to attract premium customers who demanded a MORE UNIQUE COACHWORK on their grand touring machines. To keep costs down, but exclusivity high, the 365 California was only offered to select VIP clients of Ferrari.
To much success, the California title had been already been associated with the earlier 250 GT SERIES . Around one hundred 250 California Spyders were built with some light alloy competizione examples actually racing Le Mans and Sebring. Drawing on this rich heritage, Ferrari decided that the NEW 365 SPYDER would be marketed as the next California model.
Much like the 250, this 365 used a well developed chassis to provide a basis for the next Calfornia Spyder. Released alongside the 330 GTC at the 1966 Geneva Auto Salon, the long and low 365 CALIFORNIA SPYDER was basically a reworked 330 GT chassis featuring a striking Pininfarina body. As far as engineering was concerned the 365 California Spyder was uninventive, having a wishbone front suspenion and live rear axle held by leaf springs.
Powering the 365 was a COLUMBO LONG BLOCK V12 . This engine was common in the 365 range, being an enlarged version of the unit found in the 330 GT. Other evolutions of this engine powered the 365 GTB/4 Daytona, GTC/4 and standard 365 GT coupe.
The area in which the Spyder was the most developed was styling. Most of the costs associated with the project went into designing and building an appropriate form that could carry the evocative California name.
Working for Pininfarina, Tom Tjaarda was responsible for styling of the 365 California. He used a culmination of design cues from the 500 Superfast and 330 GTC to create a harmonious cabriolet of grand proportions. Unique elements to the car include its covered headlights, pop up driving lights and door handle treatment which faked a mid engine air intake. Especially unique was Tjaarda's treatment on the rear area on the car which was a departure from Ferrari's traditional design language. The rear was very angular and even payed homage to the Kamm tail as found on cars like the 250 GTO and Breadvan.
In total only 14 EXAMPLES OF THE 365 CALIFORNIA SPYDER were made. Each featured the identical bodywork which kept the already high production costs down. The limited production run can be attributed to such costs and the fact that Ferrari wanted to keep THIS MODEL EXCLUSIVE , much like the 500 Superfast.
Tom Tjaarda standing next to 'his' Ferrari 365 California Spyder.