I walked up to the white-bearded, happy looking guy standing next to the car and practically shouted, "That's my car!" He was naturally alarmed, probably thinking frantically about where he could find the title, until I explained to Judd Goldfeder that I was the first U.S. owner of the small-bodied, big-engined beauty. Well, second, actually, having bought it in 1975 from a friend in New York City, where I lived. He and his wife were the U.S. end of a small, informal importing arrangement her father ran from Milan, and I had gone to the port at Newark with them a couple of months earlier to pick up their latest Ferrari acquisition. I already had a 330 GT 2+2 from their earlier "collection", but as soon as I saw the rare 365, I knew the 330 had to go.
The car was a '69 but was somehow registered as a '67, which seemed to make the wheels of the New York State bureaucracy run smoother. My friend drove the car for a couple of months on the Italian papers (an MI number plate I still have) but he always had luck with the law that eluded me. I took delivery of the car in Bridgehampton, Long Island, 100 miles from New York City, and while driving it into the City, was stopped twice (but only ticketed once) for improper licensing. After that was sorted out, the car then resided in a 4-story public garage at 80th and Broadway, from where it got regular weekend family use to Bridgehampton and back (where I operated the race track, and still own a home), first with one new baby, then 3 and a half years later, with two kids, comfortably stowed in the luggage area behind the only two seats. And it did that for the better part of eight years!
Earl's son asleep in the back of the 365 GTC. Note the car seat held in with bungee cord and the luggage straps. Where is Ralph Nader when you need him? The kid is in college in Boston now, the car is here in California. The car looks the same (or younger) -- the kid doesn't.
Naturally, using a rare, 325 horsepower Ferrari for a New York City family driver resulted in some interesting experiences over the years. (Scouting around Queens at night looking for bootleg fuel during the '79 gas shortage comes to mind, as one). But the worst was when I blew the engine on the 59th Street Bridge during a summer Friday rush hour. Ultimately, it was the best thing to happen for the car's sake, but it didn't do my nerves or wallet any good at all.
I was using my boss's visit from California as an excuse to leave work early. I offered to drop him at JFK on my way to Bridgehampton and beat the rush. As I drove up to the office at 45th and Madison, he saw oil leaking under the car. We decided it was something to be concerned about, so he said goodbye, and jumped in a cab. I noticed that the oil gauges were normal, so I reasoned that I could get to Joe Nastasi's shop in Long Island City before real trouble set in. Very wrong.
Joe was, and is, a genius with anything Italian. Nastasi Racing Cars was home to a lot of people with cars that needed his tender care at a time when they were driven<