This post is dedicated to the 1/18 scale reproduction of the 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 Spyder, made by American diecast maker GMP around 2008, as a Limited Edition. This car was produced in different versions, and the one shown here is probably the most famous one: car #23, driven to overall victory at Daytona by a fast driver pairing: the “kiwi” Chris Amon and the Italian Lorenzo Bandini.
The 330 belongs to the Ferrari “P” series of racing cars, a letter that indicates “Prototype”, the category in which they were intended to participate at endurance races during the 60’s: the International Championship for Sport-Prototypes.
The Ferrari “P” series started in 1963 with the 250 P. As usual with Ferrari cars, the number designates the capacity of a single cylinder of the engine, in cm3. As all the engines in this series were 12-cylinder, that meant 3L for the first car, growing to 3.3L for the 275 P and 4L for the 330 P.
Mauro Forghieri, Ferrari’s head engineer at the time, designed the initial 250 P in 1963 as an open cockpit (“Spyder” or “Barchetta”), mid engined, rear wheel drive racing car, with a tubular space-frame chassis, double wishbone suspension, rack and pinion steering and four wheel disk brakes. The engine chosen was the powerful and proven single-cam 3L 60º V12 Tipo 168 engine, designed by engineer Gioacchino Colombo and used in the front-engine sports cars of the previous years, such as the TR barchetta and the GTO coupe.
Supplied with six Weber carburetors, the engine produced 310 HP at 7,500 rpm and was coupled with a 5-speed transaxle manual gearbox with dry clutch. This engine was called “Testarossa” (redhead) due to the red painted camshaft covers, given also name to the famous 1957-1961 250 Testarossa barchetta.
Driven by a strong roster of pilots that included John Surtees, Ludovico Scarfiotti, Willy Mairesse, Lorenzo Bandini and Pedro Rodríguez, the 250 P was immediately successful on the racetrack, winning the 1963 24 Hours of Le Mans, 12 Hours of Sebring, 1000 km of Nürburgring and the Canadian Grand Prix at Mosport. The 1963 season ended with the Scuderia winning the Manufacture’s title in the top category (+2.0L), while Porsche took the category up to 2.0L.
275 P / 330 P
The 250 P was followed by the 275 P for the 1964 season. The 275 P was an improved, more powerful version with basically a larger capacity version of the same engine (3.3L). This new engine delivered 320 HP.
In parallel, Ferrari developed an even more powerful model: the 330 P, with the same chassis but a different base for engine: the 4L 60º V12 Tipo 163 also designed by Colombo and used in some road cars such as the 400 Superamerica. The 330 was 50 HP more powerful but also 30 kg heavier than the 275, so the Scuderia could choose between two options, depending on the characteristics of the race and the circuit. Chassis and bodywork also showed improvements over the previous year’s model.
The 275 / 330 P spyders were as successful in 1964 as the 250 was in 1963, ending the season again with the first position at the International Championship for GT Manufacturers in the top +2.0L category, while Porsche repeated title in the 2.0L category. Ferrari also won the newly introduced “International GT Prototypes Trophy”. The most resounding result that year was the 1-2-3 sweep at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Guichet / Vaccarella 275 P first, followed by two 330 P driven by Hill / Bonnier and Bandini / Surtees.
This is Graham Hill leading the early stages of the 1964 24h Le Mans with the 330 P #14, followed by Richie Ginther (Ford GT40 #11) and Nino Vaccarella with the 275 P #20 that finally won the race:
275 P2 / 330 P2
Two new cars were developed for the 1965 season: the 275 P2 and 330 P2, featuring a lower and lighter chassis and a more aerodynamic body, plus revamped versions of the 275 (Tipo 213) and 330 V12 (Tipo 209), now equipped with double overhead camshafts, delivering 350 HP and 410 HP, respectively.
These cars continued the successful history of the “P” series, with the 275 winning at Monza and Targa-Florio and the 330 at Nürburgring. These successes were complemented by four more victories of the 250 LM, a car presented by the Scuderia in 1963 to replace the victorious 250 GTO in the GT category, but that had to be raced in 1964 and 1965 as a prototype due to homologation issues (insufficient number of units built). Different “customer” LM won at Spa-Francorchamps, Mugello, Enna-Pergusa and, above all of them, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a car inscribed by N.A.R.T. with Jochen Rindt, Masten Gregory and Ed Hugus at the wheel, in what would be the last overall victory of the “Cavallino Rampante” at the French classic.
For 1966, Ferrari focused on the 330 with the P3, which a new fuel injection system and a new transmission. Despite victories at Monza, Targa-Florio and Spa, the Scuderia lost the Manufacturer’s title in the top category to Ford and their mighty GT40 Mk II, by just two points, but the lowlight of the year was the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where the previously dominant Italian team could not rank higher than 8th (with a customer 275 P) and had to witness the resounding 1-2-3 result from the American GT40. The two official 330 P3 had to retire: Ginther / Rodríguez with a broken gearbox and Scarfiotti / Parkes due to accident.
Ferrari increased their efforts in 1967 to try and retake the International Championship, producing the protagonist of this post: the 330 P4, last one of the early “P” series. The engine was again revisited, this time to add a 3-valve cylinder head modeled after the winning Formula 1 cars from Maranello. Combined with the Lucas fuel injection system introduced with the P3, the engine could deliver now up to 450 HP. There were two versions of the body: open (Spyder / “Barchetta”) and closed cockpit (Coupe / “Berlinetta”), which would be chosen depending on the needs of the race.
The P4 had an immediate impact, producing a resounding result at their debut race, the 24 Hours of Daytona, with the #23 Spyder of Chris Amon and Lorenzo Bandini first, followed by the sister #24 Coupe driven by Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti. #26, a 412 P Coupe (“customer” version of the 330 P3) completed the clean sweep of the podium, with Pedro Rodríguez and Jean Guichet at the wheel. Ferrari also won the 1000 km at Monza, again with the Amon / Bandini pairing at the wheel, but tragically the Italian was killed at his next race, the Formula 1 Monaco GP at Monte-Carlo, when he crashed his Ferrari while running second.
Struggling to overcome the tragedy, Ferrari could not win any other race that season at the Sportscar Championship, although it managed to take the Manufacturer’s title. However, Le Mans was lost again to Ford and the Porsche menace was becoming evident, with the German maker taking four overall victories with the 910, and second overall position in the Championship, just 2 points shy of the Scuderia. At least, the 1-2-3 result at Daytona made the “Commendatore” Enzo Ferrari very happy, allowing the Italian team to return, in American soil, the 3-car photo finish that Ford managed to take at Le Mans the year before…
For 1968, the FIA changed the ruling of the championship to limit engine capacity to 3L, leaving the 330 out of contention; Ferrari, convinced this action was taken to favor rivals like Porsche or Alfa Romeo, decided to boycott the Championship. The “P” cars from Maranello returned to the Sport / Prototype racing in 1969 with the 312 P, roughly a Formula 1 car with prototype bodies, also with Barchetta and Berlinetta configurations.
This model of the 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 is made by GMP, with reference 1804102. It’s part of a series that includes several versions, including two plain color prototypes and a 412 P which actually was a 330 P3 with carburetors instead of fuel injection, built for “customer teams” such as N.A.R.T., Filipinetti or Maranello Concessionaires:
|1804101||#6 – 330 P4 Spyder, second at the 1967 6 Hours of Brands Hatch (Chris Amon / Jacky Stewart)|
|1804102||#23 – 330 P4 Spyder, winner at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona (Chris Amon / Lorenzo Bandini)|
|1804102FL||“Dopo Gara” (finish line) version of the Daytona winner, dirty after the race|
|1804105||#21 – 330 P4 Coupe, second at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans (Ludovico Scarfiotti / Mike Parkes)|
|1804106||330 P4 Coupe, prototype red|
|1804110||330 P4 Coupe, prototype black|
|1804113||#24 – 330 P4 Coupe, third at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans (Willy Mairesse / “Jean Beurlys”) – Kyosho exclusive|
|1804114||#25 – 412 P Coupe, N.A.R.T., DNF at the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans (Pedro Rodríguez / Giancarlo Baghetti)|
The two Le Mans Coupes from this list are also in my collection and will be shown in their own posts in due course.
There are some other replicas of the 330 P4 at 1/18 scale, made by Jouef, but they are much older and really far from the quality of this reproduction. Jouef produces versions including plain color prototypes, Spa, Daytona and Le Mans. Two of these versions are in the collection and will be shown here at some point: Jouef 3017 – #21 Le Mans second, and 3030 – #24 Le Mans third.
As most GMP series, this version of the Daytona-winning car was produced as a Limited Edition, although there’s no Certificate of Authenticity so the actual number of units built is unknown (probably in the range of 1,000 – 2,000). The unit number is engraved at the rear part of the bottom of the model, just below the spare tyre.
GMP is known for the high quality of their diecast models, which puts them not far from Exoto or CMC in this aspect, at a level similar to Minichamps or the special series from AutoArt or Kyosho, and well above volume production makers such as Mattel or Norev. From a quality point of view, the Ferrari 330 P4 is at the higher end of the GMP range, with an amazing level of detail, especially in the engine department, including all the fuel pipes and electric wiring made at a very realistic scale. This model is composed of more than 700 individual pieces.
The model comes in a big box, perfectly packaged and secured, with the bonnets stored separately. It feels robust and heavy when taken out of the box, but there are many small and delicate parts so it needs to be handled with a lot of care. The model’s first impression is excellent, as beautiful as the original car, with a great stance and smooth body lines that immediately suggest speed. If anything, the ride height of the model looks a bit excessive, you can see in the period photos that the actual cars rode very low, almost stuck to the tarmac…
The Rosso Corsa painting is perfect and decals are also at a top level, including correct version details such as the Daytona “verification sticker” attached to the left of the windscreen. This model’s decals will not peel-off or detach over time, as it sadly happens with lower quality diecast replicas.
The front and rear bonnets can be removed (the rear one even has removeable locks), the two small doors open and even the tiny covers of the two fuel caps (located on both sides at the front of the cockpit) can be open. Suspension and steering works (but they are very tough so don’t try too hard…) Windscreen and side windows are made of very clear, realistic thin plastic. The perfectly reproduced Firestone grooved tyres with golden magnesium rims can be removed by turning the single (plastic) nuts counter-clockwise, to show detailed brakes and working suspension arms and dampers with metal springs. The model is full with photo-etching details, and many pieces bolted instead of glued.
The Spyder body, with no roof, is perfect to display the detailed cockpit, which includes leather-like seats complete with nylon seat belts and photo-etched locks, Ferrari’s typical “Prototype” steering wheel, tiny pedals and gearbox lever, and the spartan instrumentation typical of the era. Even the rpm counter is reproduced. Like most prototype racing cars, the steering wheel is at the right side of the cockpit, making the pilot change operation easier in the majority of circuits, which are driven clockwise.
Possibly, the main drawback of the model is that many pieces and components are very delicate and can be easily detached or even broken if they are not handled with utmost care, especially when manipulating the opening elements or removing the tyres. This delicacy is common not just to GMP but also other high-end makers, and it’s the price you have to pay for something that is not a toy, but a valuable collection item.
The model comes with a big lever to hold the rear bonnet open, showing engine, transmission, rear suspension and the (mandatory by regulations) spare wheel in all its glory. As a final touch, a heavy plaque with the model’s designation is included in the box. Overall, a great diecast representation of what was car racing in the 60’s, a beautiful and very relevant model in the history of motorsports that should take prominent position in any collection.