Ferrari 330 P4

Ferrari 330 P4 – Rising to Fords Challenge

The Ferrari 330 P4 may be regarded as the greatest endurance race car of all time by many Ferrari aficionados. It was developed as a weapon to counterattack the rising success of the Ford GT40 programme.

The Ford partnership with Carroll Shelby had stamped their authority within the racing world by securing the top three places at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1966 and bringing an end to the winning streak at Le Mans by Ferrari.

Wanting to regain the crown, Enzo Ferrari instructed his chief engineer back to the drawing board. The 330 P3 evolved to the 330 P4, nearly identical from the outside but with some serious game-changing modifications.

But would the sublime handling of the Ferrari 330 P4 be able to take on the iconic Ford GT40? By probing into the motorsport history of the rivalry between Ford and Ferrari during the 1960s, a greater appreciation can be discovered in how this great endurance car came to life.

330 P4 Chassis 0856 at Goodwood driven by Jackie Stewart. Source: Goodwood, YouTube

Ford Attempts to Purchase Ferrari

In the early 1960s, Enzo Ferraris race cars dominated the car racing scene and, more specifically, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. He was victorious in the famous and exhausting 24 hour race three times in succession. However, as opposed to the success on the track, the company was in deep financial distress. So when Ford offered to acquire the whole business, Enzo took the offer seriously.

Herny Ford II
Henry Ford II- Source: Hugo van Gelderen

Ford craved to enhance its image by being champion on the race track. The only obstacle Ford was encountering was the fact that it didn’t have the expertise to build 200 mph race cars, but Ferrari did.

Early in 1963, after 22 days of negotiations, the two companies seemed very close to an agreement.

Enzo Ferrari was keen on a deal that would relieve him of the responsibility of running the mundane day-to-day tasks of the company and allow him to focus on his passion- racing cars.

Enzo Ferrari
Enzo Ferrari

With both interested parties seated around a table ready to sign the contract, Ferrari hesitated at a clause in the contract that stipulated Ford would manage all the decisions overseeing the racing team.

He underscored the words ‘submit’ and ‘to obtain’ twice with his violet ink pen and proceeded to launch a series of insults at Ford executives. After letting his thoughts be known, Enzo said to his lawyer, ‘let’s go and eat’ at which they walked out on the dumbfounded fourteen Ford executives.

The talks would never be rekindled.

Contract of Ferrari with Ford
Contract of sale with underlining ‘unacceptable’ points with Violet ink by Enzo Ferrari. Source: DriveTribe

Back in Detroit, Henry Ford II was raging with anger. He assembled Ford’s top executives into a conference room and gave a very precise and direct order to Ford’s chief engineer, Don Frey, “Go to Le Mans, and beat his ass.”

The Fiercest Years of Competition

With Carroll Shelby commanding Ford’s sports-racing program, Shelby’s first success came on their debut race with the Ford program at the Daytona 2000 in February 1965.  Ken Miles and Lloyd Ruby triumphantly secured first place with the Ford GT40. One month later Ken Miles and Bruce McLaren had success in the GT40 coming in second overall and first in prototype class at the Sebring 12-hour race.

Concerned by Ford’s 1965 rising dominance, Ferrari set out to improve the 330 P2 to suit the new regulations and bring it up to GT40 speed. Their racer for the 1966 season, the 330 P3, required a serious injection in engineering advancement if it was to outpace the Ford GT40.

Ford GT40 of Ken Miles and Bruce McLaren
1965 Sebring 12-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance. The 2nd place #11 Ford GT40 of Ken Miles and Bruce McLaren charging through the water during the storm. (photo: Dave Nicholas)
1965 Sebring 12 Hours. Ferrari 330 P3
1965 Sebring 12-Hour Grand Prix of Endurance. Bob Grossman leads Graham Hill at the second-hour mark, both in a Ferrari 330 P3. (photo: Dave Nicholas)

In respect to changes to the engine of the 330 P3, the V12 engine got new heads to take the Lucas indirection injection system that replaced the Weber carburetors found in the 330 P2’s. A new Borg & Beck three-disc clutch was combined with a ZF five-speed gearbox; most of Ferrari’s earlier “P-car” gearboxes had been constructed in-house.

The P3 featured fiberglass doors which was the first time the team used the lightweight material. On Previous prototypes, aluminum was chosen for the construction of the doors. In all, the P3 was greater than 200 pounds lighter than its predecessor, the P2.

front of Ferrari 330 P3
330 P3. Source: Ferrari
side profile of ferrari 330 p3
330 P3 side profile. Source: Ferrari
Engine4.0-liter V12
Valve Actuationtwin overhead camshaft per bank, two valves per cylinder
Transmission5-Speed Manual
Top Speed193 MPH
Horsepower420hp @ 8,200 rpm
Weight1,587 lbs
Number produced3
ChassisTubular steel
Front Suspensionindependent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspensionindependent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
BrakesDisc
Specifications of the Ferrari 330 P3

While the GT40 possessed a top speed of over 210 miles, the P3 maxed out at about 190mph. But Enzo Ferrari was willing to exchange outright speed for gains elsewhere. The vehicle was lighter, more agile, with Ferrari believing he could make up the difference in the bends and he wouldn’t have to stop so often to refuel.

The Lead up to 1966 Le Mans

Outcomes in the opening races of the 1966 season were encouraging. Piloted by Mike Parkes, the 330 P3 was victorious in the 1000 km races at Monza and Spa with John Surtees and Ludovico Scarfiotti respectively as co-drivers.

The scene was set for the ultimate showdown of all time at the 1966 Le Mans race. Ford arrived at the 1966 Le Mans with a fleet of eight cars, 20 tons of spares, and a crew of world-class drivers, including Ken Miles himself.

GT40s win at 1966 Le Mans 24 hours
Historic finish of the 1966 Le Mans 24 Hours (photo: Ford Motor Company)

With Ferrari down on development time due to labor problems at the factory preventing proper preparations, none of the P3s made it past the 17th hour of the race. In contrast, Henry Ford finally had his sweet Le Mans victory with a stunning 1-2-3. Ford went on further to be triumphant in the Constructors International Sports Prototype Championship, with a winning lead of 38 points to Ferrari’s 36.

The Rise of the Ferrari 330 P4

Ford’s battle against Ferrari aided in the 330 cars to achieve greatness. With a higher bar set, Ferrari went head to head with the brute power of the GT40 and engineered a car that would become a masterpiece in endurance racing.

rolling out the Ferrari 330 P4
Rolling out the 330 P4. Source: Ferrari

Despite their comparative lack of resources compared to Ford, Enzo Ferrari, and chief engineer Mauro Forghieri responded by producing four 330 P4. Three were factory 330 P4 being chassis 0856, 0858, 0860 and one was a modified p3, chassis 0846, known as a 330 P3/4. This new racer looked almost exactly the same as the 330 p3 predecessor but had some significant mechanical changes.

Engine technician Franco Rocci was responsible for the significant engine modifications of the Ferrari V12 engine. Under his supervision, the engine in the P4 remains known as the first Ferrari engine to feature three valves per cylinder and it is also the biggest long-block V12 engine ever used in a Ferrari. The engine was rated at 450 bhp at 8200 rpm. The Lucas Fuel Injection was moved from between the cylinder banks to between the camshafts.

Chassis 0846 - Ferrari 330 P3/4
The factory 330 P3/4 that Chris Amon and Lorenzo Bandini drove to first place at the Daytona 24 in 1967.
1967 Ferrari 330 P4- Chassis 0856
1967 330 P4 – Chassis 0856,

Other innovations included a chassis modification. The P4 used a shorter wheelbase chassis with a wider track to fit wider tires. The P4 came with four repositioned disc brakes which enhanced their cooling.  To address the dilemmas they were having with the unreliable Tipo 593 ZF transmission (gears prone to failure), an in-house 5-speed gearbox was created as a replacement.

Engine4.0-liter, rear, longitudinal 60° V12
Valve Actuationtwin overhead camshaft per bank, three valves per cylinder
Transmission5-Speed Manual
Horsepower450hp @ 8,000 rpm
Acceleration0-60mph in 5 seconds
Top Speed210mph
Weight1746 pounds
Number produced3 P4s, 1 P3/4
ChassisTubular Steel
Front Suspensionindependent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
Rear Suspensionindependent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
BrakesDisc
Specifications for the 330 P4

Piero Drogo was responsible for the body of the 330 P4. The P4 was made even wider, the front section even flatter and the oval grille was narrower than on the P3. As mentioned, the P4 had a wider wheelbase to accommodate wider tires. The new car also sported cast magnesium Campagnolo wheels and wider Firestone tires to replace the Dunlops.

The P4 reached a top speed of 320 km/h and more importantly, it was able to withstand speeds of 200 km/h and more for hours.

Endurance champion, Chris Amon, joined Ferrari as a works driver for the 1967 season. Having raced the GT40s, he had great insight into both cars.

“The P4 was a very pleasant car to drive, as it was a great deal more nimble than the Fords I was used to. Although it lacked the ultimate top end pace of the 7-litre Ford, it gave you the feeling that you could drive it to the maximum for the whole race, which really wasn’t the case for the Fords, especially the brakes … ”

Chris Amon, Endurance Chamption

The Revenge of Il Commendatore

Following the devastating loss at the 1966 24-Hours of Le Mans, where Ford won in a 1-2-3 formation, Ferrari’s forthcoming 1967 season was crucial. When it came to the racing program planned for 1967, the team changed its strategy compared to 1966: the P4 was set to accumulate as much racing experience as feasible before the Le Man’s race.

Pace lap of 1967 Daytona 24 hours race
Pace lap prior to the start of the 1967 Daytona 24-Hour race.
engine of the Ferrari 330 P3/4
The 4-liter V12 engine of the winning 330 P3/4 in the garage before the start of the 1967 Daytona race. Few in the automotive press gave these cars a chance against the 7-liter Fords.

After 560 test laps at Daytona in December 1966, the P4 was set for action at Daytona. Ferrari’s rigorous testing at Daytona paid off as they dominated at the Daytona 24 hours race in 1967. A Ferrari 330 P4, a 412P, and the 330 P3/4 crossed the finish line at the 24 Hours of Daytona simultaneously- this was known as “The Revenge of Il Commendatore.”

Dan Gurney in ford GT40
Dan Gurney gets out of the #3 Ford GT40 Mk II to let A.J. Foyt take over. Despite starting on the pole, Gurney and Foyt did not finish the race.
Ferrari 330 P4 finishes second in 1967 Daytona
Mike Parkes and Ludovico Scarfiotti finished second in this Ferrari 330 P4, three laps behind the winner.
Ferrari 412P finishes third in 1967 Daytona.
NART 412P of Pedro Rodriguez and Jean Guichet. The car finished third, 29 laps behind the winner.
Ferrari 330 P3/4 was driven to victory by Lorenzo Bandini at the 1967 Daytona
Ferrari 330 P3/4 was driven to victory by Lorenzo Bandini at the 1967 Daytona
Simultaneous finish by Ferrari
Simultaneous finish by Ferrari
1967 24 Hours of Daytona – A Ferrari Sweep. Source: Louis Galanos, YouTube

Ferrari at the 1967 Le Mans

Ferrari undertook the 1967 Le Mans with the P3/4 and two P4 Coupés from the factory as well as another factory P4 and three 412P lent to the Ecurie Francorchamps who attempted to take on Ford. Even though the Ford GT40 Mark IV took the first place again, two P4’s finished second and third. The P3/4 during the race caught fire during the 24 hours of Le Mans. It was then entirely dismantled and because of the widespread damages identified, the factory decided not to perform any repair and to write off the chassis no. 0846. 

Other significant results of the Ferrari P4 include the success at 1000 km of Monza in Italy where the P4 came first and second.

The last and perhaps the most significant race of the 1967 racing season was the Brands Hatch 500 miles, the final world championship race. Three of the four P4 Coupés were converted into Spyders (the P3/4 Spyder was written off after Le Mans). A P4 came in second behind the Chaparral and the other two P4’s finished 5th and 6th. Drivers behind the wheel of the second place P4 were Chris Amon and Jackie Stewart.

Overall, Ferrari was victorious in 1967 for the sportscar World Championship making it the 12th time in 14 years.

Premature End of the 330 P4 Career

Rule changes at the end of the season left the 330 P3, 330 P4, and 412 P obsolete. This prematurely ended the career of one of the best-looking racers of all time.

Two of the 330 P4s were converted to ‘350 Can-Am’ specifications by cutting down the body and fitting a slightly larger version of the twin-cam V12 engine. The third 330 P4 was retired.

At the end of 1967, the modified cars were campaigned in the Can-Am Challenge but proved unable to take on the much larger engined and lighter competition. Chris Amon’s best result was a fifth in the Monterey Grand Prix at Laguna Seca. At the end of the year the two cars were sold to privateers, who continued to race them around the world with considerable success for several more seasons.

Where are the 330 P4 now?

Chassis 0846

The first P4 built was made under the chassis number 0846. This was the so-called P3/4. As of today, Ferrari claims the 0846 no longer exists. It was heavily damaged in a fire that burst out after an accident at the 1967 24-Hours of Le Mans. Due to the damage, Ferrari decided to scrap the chassis and write off the chassis number from their books.

The existence of chassis 0846 is surrounded by controversy.

In July 2002 James Glickenhaus purchased a car from David Piper that both he and David believed was a replica P4 built on a replica chassis to P4 chassis blueprints that had been given to David Piper by Enzo Ferrari.  After removing 1000 rivets, dissembling everything, stripping the chassis, researching the Ferrari build sheets and comparing the frame with 412P 0844, 412P 0850, 412P 0854, P4 0856, and P4 replica chassis 0900, 0900a, and 0900c Glickenhaus alleges that the car he had bought contained almost 80% of the original P3 chassis of 0846 modified to accept a P4 engine exactly as described in: “TECHNICAL DATA SHEET’ of “330 P3/P4 Chassis n.0846”.

On November 10, 2017 The Fédération Internationale des Véhicules Anciens (FIVA) issued FIVA Passport Identify Certification for 1967 Ferrari P 3/4 Chassis 0846 based on through investigation and several physical inspections of 0846 as it exists today. More information regarding the history of Chassis 0846 that eventuated after the 1967 Le Mans can be found at Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus.

Some filming of this restored car can be seen in this short video:

1967 Ferrari 330 P3/4. Source: DownShiftRecords, YouTube

Chassis 0856

Ferrari 330 P4, chassis 0856 was originally built as a Berlinetta but was later converted into a roofless Spyder for the 1967 Brands Hatch 500 race we mentioned earlier. The 0856 is currently owned by Canadian Businessman, and father of Williams F1 junior driver Lance, Lawrence Stroll and remains in its original, and beautiful, state. Here is a short film by Petrolicious with 0856 in action.

Ferrari 330 P4, Chassis 0856. Source: Petrolicious, YouTube


Chassis 0858

Both and final Ferrari P4’s the 0858 and the 0860 started off as Berlinetta’s but were later converted into Spyders for the 1967 Brands Hatch race. Both of them endured another adaptation for the 350 Can-Am racing series in the early 1970s.

In 1971, chassis 0858 was acquired by American collector Walter Medlin. He had the car restored to its late 1967 Can-Am specification during the 1990s.

In May of 2009, it was consigned to RM Auctions’ Maranello sale but bidding stopped short of the reserve.

Since the unsuccessful sale, it has been restored by David Piper to its 330 P4 Barchetta configuration for dealer Talacrest. It has been revised again by the Franco Meiners’ Tradex to its Le Mans configuration, using numerous original panels found in Italy. This work was finally finished early in 2020 and the car was presented for the first time at Retromobile.

Ferrari 330 P4 Chassis 0858 at 45th Paris Retromobile.
Ferrari 330 P4 Chassis 0858 at 45th Paris Retromobile. Source: Automobile
Ferrari 330 P4, chassis #0858 starts up for the first time, under the watchful eye of John Collins, David Piper and Stubbs – David’s chief mechanic. Source: YouTube

Chassis 0860

The last P4, the 0860, was converted back into its P4 Spyder body by a French owner in whose family it remains today.


The Ferrari 330 P4 remains the most iconic race car of the exciting 1960s racing era. These were the years where performance was taken to new levels, and Ferrari was at the forefront. With Ford stamping its authority at endurance races, the 330 P4 served as an answer for Ferrari, replenishing its iconic racing status.

Show Comments (9)

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  1. It’s interesting that the final race of 1967 at Brands Hatch was won by Chaparral, designed and built by an oil man / racer in Midland, Texas.

  2. Many interesting technical details regarding the Ferrari 330 P4’s and the non-agreement between Enzo Ferrari and the Ford Corp.

  3. Shelby seems to get all the plaudits for the Ford racing programme but I seem to remember that John Wyer developed the first GT40 in England by installing a 4.7Litre V8 Ford engine in a Lola chassis. Because of the agricultural nature of American engineering it eventually took millions of dollars to produce a car with a 7 litre engine to defeat a 4 litre Ferrari in 1966. In 1967 the tiny factory in rural Italy fought back and won the world sportscar championship without the huge resources of their American competitors but because of their engineering sophistication.

  4. Yes, Ford poured money into achieving their goal of beating Ferrari. But, that money also brought a lot of new sophistication to the sport that became the standard for everyone. Ford undertook wind tunnel testing. Their race 2x race distance testing of the drivetrain to prove reliability. Ford funded Hewland so they could finally have reliable gearboxes. Probably the only “agricultural nature” was the pushrod engine. The chassis certainly was highly sophisticated as were their aerodynamics. Ford had to painfully learn the reliability requirements that came from long distance FIA racing versus the typical American sprint distances.

  5. With the hindsight of time it’s little wonder the 1967 World Endurance sports car series is held in high regard. From an engineering/design standpoint there were 3 distinct approaches from the competitors – Ferrari refining its well-established platform of a lightweight chassis, high-output but smaller displacement V-12 with sophisticated multi-valve heads & fuel injection, Ford aiming to re-define actual monocoque tub construction with its bonded aluminum chassis in the Mk IV powered by its NASCAR-based 427 pushrod V8, and Chaparral literally revolutionizing race car design with their driver-controlled suspension-mounted wings, split radiator pods on the sides of the car, automatic transmission, and powerful but lightweight aluminum-block Chevy 427 V8s. Nobody but Chaparral was even thinking about downforce in those days. Now it’s constantly in racer’s jargon & this is with the watered-down body-mount only regulations. I’ve read elsewhere that apparently there were no shared components between Ford’s MkII & MkIV GTs other than the 427 V8 – I would think at least brake discs & pads could have been common to both cars especially considering the MkIV was supposed to be 300-600 lbs lighter!! It’s been recorded that Shelby American & Ford continually tested & strengthened its GT powertrain until it could last over 41 hours in LeMans-based simulations. Unlike Ford , Chaparral was willing & able to show up anywhere @ any track on the Championship series circuit to compete – not bad at all for a small “one-man” team with no factory sponsorship!!!!