Tuesday. We dawdle over breakfast, show up at Junior?s late morning. The owner is expected in town around 1:30. We hang out, trying not to be in the way and not be too obviously nervous. However, there are only so many times you can read the same old FAF and Automotion catalogs. There?s a 250GT engine apart in the next room, waiting for some parts to come back from the machine shop, and I stare at that for a while. Sigh.
The owner finally shows up at 5:30. It?s too late to call my bank to do the transfer, doesn?t matter, he has a file of papers and an extra set of keys on the original fob, unused. He says, sure, go ahead and start working on it, these folks want to get home! But first he shows us what he?s brought and tells us a couple of stories about the car.
First he pulls out a leather folder. It?s just a simple stationery set, except that it has a cavallino rampante embossed in gold on it. "Dr. Manicardi said I was paying $1000 for the car - the rest was for this folder." In it is the original owner?s manual, the warranty, the dealer list, the instructions for the Blaupunkt radio - everything.
Next he pulls out a photo - of him, and the car, and Mac, and a KLM jet plane. OK, so that wasn?t just a story.
330 GT 2+2 s/n 9161 in Italy as it is loaded up for shipment to America in the late sixties. Standing near the car are the original owner and Dr. Manicardi. (Remember from the January issue: supposedly the owner knew that KLM was about to institute direct flights from Rome to New York, and he knew someone at KLM. So he arranged for the car to be shipped direct - it was the first piece of freight off the first KLM flight. Apparently it was shipped free of charge, for the publicity.).
Then he tells a slightly different version of the story involving the Catholic Church: it?s largely the same except no mention of the Spanish royal family, the owner?s assistant (Mac) is the one with a good connection in the Church, and the owner went to Rome looking to get a discount on the car. The end is much the same, he paid his deposit, got a 5% discount and picked up the car later.
"But you know, I always wondered a little about why Mac knew this guy in Rome, and why he negotiated a discount for a stranger. Years later, I found out that Mac wasn?t just working for me - he was really working for the CIA. And the fellow at the Church was a married man, but, well, he?d been indiscreet. And the CIA had photographs. So when Mac said ?Jump?, he didn?t even bother to ask ?How high??".
The other story he told was of chasing a Miura on the Autostrada. (This actually seems rather unlikely, since the first Miura was delivered in March of 1967, and by then 9161 was already back in Houston - but it could have been a different Lamborghini, or one of the two 330 GTCs that this guy also owned...) "I saw him off in the distance, I was doing a good 130 or so, and thought I?d try to catch him. As I got closer, I noticed that he was putting out some puffs of exhaust and not going very smoothly; I figured it was vapor lock, because it was a hot day. I had switched on the aux fuel pump earlier. Anyway, I just put my foot down, and flew by him at 150. Boy did he look upset."
The owner goes away. Junior and Pat and I run up to Hi-Lo, the local Pep Boys equivalent, and get some Gunk and head over to the car wash. Two cans later, we can see the suspension and the front of the engine again.
We take the file of papers with us that evening. Receipts from about 1968 on. Lots of documentation about the dropped va
For a complete look at Sempre Ferrari, you may want to check out the rest of the articles from Volume 3, Issue 3 - April/May 1996