Saturday 23 June 2012
The Ferrari P series were prototype sports cars in the 1960s and early 1970s.
Although Enzo Ferrari resisted the move even with Cooper dominating F1, Ferrari began producing mid-engined racing cars in 1960 with the Ferrari Dino-V6-engine Formula Two 156, which would be turned into the Formula One-winner of 1961.
Sports car racers followed in 1963. Although these cars shared their names (based on engine displacement) with road models, they were almost entirely dissimilar. The first Ferrari mid-engine in a road car did not arrive until the 1967 Dino, and it was 1971 before a Ferrari 12-cylinder engine was placed behind a road-going driver in the 365 GT4 BB.
1967 was a banner year for the Enzo Ferrari motor company, as it saw the production of the mid-engined 330 P4, a renowned V12 endurance car meant to replace the previous year's P3.
Only four Ferrari P4-engined cars were ever made: one P3/4 and three 330 P4's. Their 3-valve cylinder head was modeled after those of Italian Grand Prix-winning Formula One cars. To this was added the same fuel injection system from the P3 for an output of up to 450 hp (335 kW).
The P3/4, one of the P4's, and one 412 P electrified the racing world when they crossed the finish line together (in first 0846, second 0856, and third place 0844) in the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona, for a photo finish to counter Ford's photo of the Ford GT 40 MK II's crossing the finish line together First, Second, and Third at Le Mans in 1966.
Since then, the fate of the these four nearly legendary cars has been the subject of much attention. All of the P4's built are accounted for. By chassis number:
0846 the only P3/4 was originally built as a P3 by Ferrari. It was modified in December 1966 to accept a P4 engine and it's wheelbase was changed P3 2412mm to P4 2400mm. It retained its P3 nose and chassis becoming a P 3/4. This vehicle was damaged in an accident at Le Mans and was discarded by Ferrari. Recently, many components of the original P3/4 0846 have resurfaced in the possession of exotic car collector and enthusiast James Glickenhaus, a former movie director and stock exchange magnate. Although both he and David Piper (from whom he acquired the car) thought it one of four replica chassis constructed with the blessing of Enzo Ferrari in the late 1960s, it appears that nearly all of the tube frame chassis and other components from the wrecked P3/4 0846 are part this car. This discovery has stirred debate. Ferrari Market Letter recently reported: "While Ferrari insists that 0846 was scrapped and is no more, a car exists with strong claims to be the resurrection of that car." Its tube frame chassis appears to be a P3 modified to hold a P4 engine, as was the case with 0846 exclusively, and the damage from two contemporary racing accidents appears in the frame as well. The car's transmission, engine heads, and steering rack also include the correct Le Mans scrutineering marks, linking them to P3 0846 and P3/4 0846 of 1966 and 1967. P3/4 0846 was road tested by Car and Driver magazine.
0856 remains in its original state and is owned by Lawrence Stroll
0858 was converted into a 350 Can-Am by Ferrari
0860 was also converted by Ferrari to a 350 Can-Am but is presently wearing a P4 Spyder body and is in a French automobile museum.
- engine: V12
- capacity: 4000 cc
- horsepower: 450 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 290 km/h