2018 Ferrari California T
Monterey Jet Center Auction | Estimate $250,000 - $300,000
Chassis no. ZFF77XJA8J0231161
After an interlude of some 45 years, Ferrari revived the fabled California designation in 2008 with its first ever front-engined V8 car of the same name. A shared tag with the 250 GT California Spyder and the even rarer 365 California, decreed that expectations were high, and certainly in technical terms Ferrari did not disappoint.
At its heart lay a normally-aspirated four-cam 4.3 liter V8 engine which employed Bosch Direct Fuel Injection to achieve a remarkable output of 453 horsepower at 7,750 rpm, and a correspondingly healthy maximum torque figure of 358 lb-ft at just 5,000 rpm. Significantly, this specific output equated to almost 106 horsepower per liter; the figure of 100 for any normally aspirated engine having been the holy grail of many race car - let alone road car - designers for much of the 20th century.
Technical firsts abounded elsewhere on the car: its seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox was the first such unit used on a Ferrari road car, while its 599 GTB-derived traction control system and HELE (High Efficiency Low Emissions) stop-start technology ensured superlative levels of grip and emission control respectively. Styled by famed Japanese Industrial Designer Ken Okuyama during his time as Creative Director at Pininfarina, the California also featured an ingenious retractable hardtop; the car being able to transition from accomplished open-top tourer to all-weather enclosed GT in a mere 14 seconds.
After four years in production, Ferrari introduced the revised California 30 model in 2012, offering an additional 30 horsepower and correspondingly improved performance. 2014 saw a far more significant revision with the launch of the turbocharged California T; the first Ferrari to feature a forced induction engine since the era-defining F40 of more than a quarter of a century earlier. The resulting power hike, courtesy of its new 3.9 liter twin-turbo V8 engine, to 553 horsepower was accompanied by an increased maximum torque figure of some 557 lb-ft; both conspiring to push top speed up to 196 mph and reduce 0-60 mph time to just 3.6 seconds.
Ingeniously, the California T's torque was managed electronically to preserve its character and, hence, the purity of the driving experience. With maximum torque now more than 50 per cent greater than that of the 2008 car, it was modulated in the indirect gears to simulate power and torque delivery more akin to that of a normally aspirated supercar; its full complement only being made available in top gear. Unsurprisingly, noticeable improvements were made elsewhere on the car, with ride quality, traction and steering response all being areas in which the new version was heralded as a noticeable improvement upon that which it replaced.
In celebration of Ferrari's 70th anniversary in 2017, each of the five models in their lineup was selected to represent a limited run of 70 special liveries produced by the company's Tailor Made division; each evoking famous one-off Ferrari customer cars and liveries of the past. The source of inspiration for this Taylor Made California T was the glorious ex-Ingrid Bergman 375 MM Coupe Speciale by Pinin Farina; the car having been commissioned from the factory by the actress' then husband, director Roberto Rosselini, in 1954. Assigned the chassis number 0456AM, it was finished in a distinctive grey-gold hue known simply as Grigio Ingrid, with contrasting tan leather interior. The car also featured several novel design features including retractable headlights and highly distinctive twin flying buttress rear quarter panels.
For reasons never satisfactorily explained, Bergman never actually took delivery of the car - her divorce from Rosselini, after a tempestuous seven-year marriage, was not granted until 1957 - but it is with the Swedish three-time Academy Award winner that the car is universally associated. Whether attributable to its stunning design, its romantic backstory - or more likely a combination of the two, 0456AM certainly remains among the most revered and significant of all coachbuilt road going Ferraris.
The car which Broad Arrow Auctions are proud to offer here represents a fitting tribute to 0456AM; its exterior and interior color selections both reflecting those of its inspiration. In recognition of both Ferrari's 70th anniversary and the highly exclusive Tailor Made Collection of which it forms part, a plaque on its centre-console lid is inscribed: 1\1 inspired by 375 MM Pinin Farina berlinetta 1954.
Originally delivered to Ferrari of Central Florida in late 2017, the car came with an only marginally less arresting price tag of a little over $373,000, this figure including a premium of some $55,600 attributable to the Tailor Made 70 Anni association. Factory fitted optional extras included in the purchase price included a special handling package, full electric seats and an additional US-specification enhanced visibility package.
Remarkably the car has covered just 124 miles since passing through the hallowed gates at Maranello; a fact which, predictably, renders it practically as new. Offered with two keys and corresponding display box with die-cast car model, owners manuals, 70th Anniversary materials, scale model with display case, and Ferrari Classiche White Book Certification.
The California remains a significant car in Ferrari's history, not least for being a car of technical firsts and huge versatility. In the case of the California T, its original concept was intelligently refined and sympathetically re-engineered, with great care being taken to ensure that such technical innovation was not achieved at the expense of driving pleasure or dynamic feel. Arguably the most practical and adaptable Ferrari model of recent times, when considered in the context of this immaculately presented 70th anniversary model - its inspiration itself being one of Maranello's all-time greats - it is evident that it really is possible to have the very best of all worlds.