330 GT Registry

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25 DECEMBER 1982 - VOL. 7 No. 26

330 AMERICA

Perhaps the most “neglected” Ferrari production type is the 330 America, with only Dean Batchelor’s Illustrated Ferrari Buyer’s Guide giving it much attention while many of the more prestigious reference books on Ferrari either ignore the type altogether or give it, at best, only cursory and often erroneous attention.

The type was, quite simply, an interim model. It had the chassis and body of the 250 GTE 2+2, which was ending its production run in late 1963, and the engine of the 330 GT 2+2, which was to begin its production run in 1964. No more than fifty examples were produced, all in late 1963, and even the reasons for their existence are shrouded in some mystery. Why did Ferrari make such a short production run? Was Pininfarina not yet ready to produce the new 330 GT 2+2 body (several prototypes appeared before the 330 America was produced) or did the coachbuilder insist that Ferrari take the previously agreed upon 1000 examples of the 250 GTE 2+2 body (of which only 950 had been produced with the 3-liter engine)? Was the type a regularly catalogued model (no factory literature pertaining to it has yet turned up) or was It built at the insistence of Ferrari’s American distributor, Luigi Chinetti (hence the name plus the fact that most, if not all, of the examples produced wound up on this side of the Atlantic)?

To produce the car required more than just installing a larger displacement engine into the 250 GTE 2+2 chassis, for the new 330 GT 2+2 engine, Ferrari Type 209, was an all new engine. For the first time with the “small block” or Colombo V-12 the bore centers were at 94 mm. The original 90 m dimension of the original Colombo V-12 had reached its limits with the 77 mm bore dimension of the 4-liter 400 SA engine (Type 163). While the 400 SA engine might have been easier to fit into the 250 GTE 2+2 chassis, the decision was made that further displacement increases required a new block. The early Type 209 engine, however, retained the Type 163 timing case, leading many Ferrari observers to guess, in error, that the 330 America was powered by the 400 SuperAmerica engine. Interestingly enough, this basic block remains in production today, as the basis for the 4.8-liter 400i GT and Automatic with the bore dimension now up to 81 m. The addition of 4 m to the bore center dimension resulted in a physically longer engine, requiring some modifications to fit it into the old engine compartment designed for the shorter engine. The change was not too difficult, however, and over the years a number of private owners have made the same change--fitting a 330 GT engine into a 250 GTE 2+2 chassis.

Externally, there was nothing to distinguish the 330 America from the 250 GTE 2+2. Despite what has been written elsewhere, the presence of the built-in fog lights is not an indication of the 330 America type, as this feature first appeared on the late 250 GTE 2+2 bodies. The only mark of distinction was the presence on the trunk of some (but it appears not all) of the 330 Americas of an identifying emblem, either “330 America” or just plain “America”. Existing examples have been seen with either emblem as well as no emblem at all.

Three years ago, when I last covered this type on this page, I listed the serial numbers of “all fifty examples.” As seems to be the case with all “definitive” lists of Ferrari serial numbers, several errors have been noted. One of the fifty has been positively identified as a 330 GT 2+2, several other are in doubt, and a few additions, as yet unconfirmed, have been reported.

Finally, a quote from Dean Batchelor concerning the type. “This model, I think, is a sleeper for investment purposes. It won’t appreciate as much or as fast as the competition oriented cars, but it should do better than the normal 250 GTE.”
 

Published& Edited by Gerald Roush 850 Maxey Hill Court Stone Mountain, Ga. 30083-2399
1982 G. ROUSH