Forgotten Ferraris Posts

Forgotten Ferraris: Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California With Hard Top

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California Welcome back to our series looking at some of the Ferraris you might not have heard of – and the models made of them by Looksmart! Check out the Ferrari 250GT Spyder California With Hardtop.

The Ferrari 250GT Spyder California hardly qualifies as a “Forgotten Ferrari” on its own. As one of the most desirable members of the 250 family, Californias were owned by the glitterati when new – Alain Delon, Roger Vadim, and Steve McQueen, to name but a few.‚   Some 50 years later, the cars are hugely sought after by Ferrari collectors, changing hands for seven-figure sums. And, of course, the California is a bonafide pop culture icon thanks to its appearance (or at least the appearance of a very realistic replica) in the classic 1986 film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder CaliforniaWhat is barely known about the car, however, is that you could get it with a hardtop!

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder CaliforniaLooksmart was aware of this obscure option, however, and offered it in 1/43 scale. In fact, they did different colors of their diecast model.

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder CaliforniaThe California Spyder originally came about at the behest of the marque’s US distributors, Jon von Neumann and Luigi Chinetti. California was Ferrari’s best market in the US and the pair felt that a high-performance convertible named after it would be a big hit. They were right.

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder CaliforniaMade in strictly limited numbers, the car had the same engine and underpinnings as the Tour de France winning 250GT SWB – and the same 150mph top speed, blistering stuff for 1958. There are two separate series of California Spyder; the first shared the 250GT Tour de France model’s frame and wet sump V12. The later series arrived a year after the car’s launch, in 1959 and had the less flexy short wheelbase chassis – hence their being referred to as SWB California Spyders. They also benefitted from an increase in engine power and disc brakes. The cars remained in production until 1963, with a further handful apparently made in 1967.‚

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder CaliforniaThe car’s lithe body was hand-made at Carozzeria Scaglietti after a design based on the first series 250GT Cabriolet, but with new vertical tail-lights and headlamps located in scallops, covered by plexiglass on some cars.

Ferrari 250 GT Spyder CaliforniaThe interior of the Spyder was pretty Spartan, with a tiny heater being the only nod towards luxury. The roof, a functional folding fabric structure wasn’t even lined. If you wanted better weather protection, you had to opt for the optional removable hard-top, with its glass rear window but few did, hence their rarity today. But as these Looksmart models show, unlike many hard-tops, the California’s unit blended very nicely with the car’s lines and doesn’t look out of place at all. And they also prove that the California does look just as great in colours other than red!

hobbyDB will be featuring additional Looksmart models of Forgotten Ferraris over the next several weeks! Next week, an assortment of rare, one-off and custom Ferrari models.

Forgotten Ferraris: Ferrari Mythos Concept

Ferrari MythosWelcome back to our series looking at some of the Ferraris you might not have heard of – and the models made of them by Looksmart! This is the Ferrari Mythos Concept.

Pininfarina’s Ferrari Mythos concept car was one Ferrari that’s very much of its era. One of the first Pininfarina creations to debut outside Europe, the Mythos broke cover at the Toyko Auto Show in October 1989.

Ferrari MythosDesigned as a topless speedster, the Mythos harked back to Ferrari’s 1950’s Barchettas, lacking both a roof and side windows, but melded this nostalgia with very cutting edge styling. A lower lip spoiler adorned the pointy front end, while the rear overhang was even shorter than that of the Testarossa on which it was based. At the sides, two huge intake holes fed the 12-cylinder engine with air, unencumbered by the grilles that adorned the Testarossa. At the back, there was an automatic, electrically-operated spoiler, a feature shared by the front wing. And of course, the single windscreen wiper parked out of view under the front cowl while the headlamps and tail lamps were incorporated into the flow of the panels in true 80’s fashion.

Ferrari MythosPininfarina said the styling placed emphasis on the “relationship between volumes” ditching “linked panels” with the styling made up of two separate elements, one with the engine and radiators, the other with the cabin and nose, both joined together, something along the lines of a violin. Rather enigmatically, chief designer Lorenzo Ramaciotti said that the design could be “adapted to fill the needs of production… of tomorrow’s cars.”

Nevertheless, the car was fully functional, and more than just a pretty face – it was highly aerodynamic, with that electric rear wing capable of raising nearly a foot higher than its rest position while rotating through 12 degrees. This and the front spoiler popped out at anything over 62mph, then retracted again when the car dropped to 44mph. Elsewhere, the Mythos’ incorporated its swoopy lines and design in surprisingly functional ways – with no windows, the side of the body could serve as an armrest while the control panel, steering wheel, and pedals, all designed into a flowing block, could be adjustable as a whole.

Under the skin, the Mythos was pure Testarossa, with that car’s five-liter flat boxer engine and suspension setup. It did have its own bespoke exhaust system, however, as the drastically truncated rear was so small it couldn’t house the Testarossa’s standard pipes. No top speed was quoted, but downforce for the rear spoiler was given for a speed of 155mph, so the car could presumably do more than that!

LookSmart’s 1/43 scale Mythos was produced in dark metallic blue, and of course, Ferrari Red.

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In addition to LookSmart, The Mythos has been memorialized in miniature by Revell, and Guiloy.

hobbyDB will be featuring additional Looksmart models of Forgotten Ferraris over the next several weeks! Next week, the Ferrari 250 GT Spyder California Hard Top.

Forgotten Ferraris: Felber Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car

Ferrari_BeachWelcome to the first entry in our new series looking at some of the Ferraris you might not have heard of – and the models made of them by Looksmart! Meet the Felber Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car

. Ferrari’s 365 GTC/4 is little-known enough a Ferrari as is. Produced for just 18 months between 1971 and 1972 alongside the famous Daytona, the car was a 2+2 designed to replace the 365GTC and 365GT offering (tiny) rear seats and more luggage space than the Daytona.

Ferrari_BeachJust 500 were made (and for the record, there was just one contemporary model of the car, made by Mebetoys) with a welded tubular steel chassis evolved from the spaceframe used to underpin the 365GT 2+2, although with 150mm removed from the wheelbase, as Ferrari wanted the car to straddle the 2+2 and large-two-seater-touring-coupe markets, and have sportier handling. Independent suspension was fitted all round, along with power steering and a hydraulic self-leveling rear ride height. The cars rode on Cromodora alloy wheels, but customers could substitute Borrani wire wheels at extra cost. Engine-wise, the car was similar to the Daytona – both displaced 4.4 liters, although the GTC/4 had new heads, wet-sump lubrication a lower compression ratio, and six side draught Weber carburetors. Performance was similar to the mighty Daytona too, with a top speed of 163mph and a zero-to-sixty time of 6.1 seconds.

Ferrari_BeachDesigned by Pininfarina, the GTC/4 bodies were also fabricated by the designer in Turin before being shipped to Maranello for finishing (unlike the Daytona, which had the body made by Scaglietti in Modena). The GTC/4 was steel-bodied, with an alloy bonnet and boot lid and a very distinctive black front resin nosecone-type bumper. Inside, the car had a completely new interior design, with integrated dash and console, making it a far more comfortable place to be than the Daytona. The boot was bigger too, allowing far more cargo space and the tiny rear seats folded down to provide for additional luggage. Air conditioning was standard, but a full leather interior was an optional extra.


Ferrari_BeachThe GTC/4 debuted at the Geneva Salon in March 1971 but unfortunately remained in the Daytona’s shadow – the styling received criticism for not being Ferrari-like enough, and the rear seats were slated for being too small. Sales of the 500 cars were rather slow too – production ended in 1972, but the last cars didn’t leave showrooms until almost two years later in late 1974.

Ferrari 365 GTC4All this said, 365GTC/4s are unusual enough, but two became even odder. Swiss Ferrari dealer Willy Felber had a history of rebodying and restyling cars from the Autbianchi A110 to the Pontiac Firebird and turning them into neo-classic one-offs or limited production vehicles – indeed, he’d already had several Felber-Ferrari 330GTCs constructed, with the standard coupe bodywork replaced by neoclassic styling which aped the 1950’s Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa. Turning his attention to the 365GTC/4, he commissioned Michelotti to rebody two cars – one as a shooting brake and the other, shown here, as an open beach car, making it a far more expensive and luxurious alternative to the Mini Moke or Fiat Jolly. No further examples were made and Felber apparently sold the one example to an unnamed famous golfer.


It’s a strange footnote in the history of Ferrari indeed – although, thanks to LookSmart, it’s been recorded for posterity in 1/43.

hobbyDB will be featuring additional Looksmart models of Forgotten Ferraris over the next several weeks! Next up, the Mythos!