4 Cam Touring in a Grand Style

By: Tino Mingori

Many of you own Ferraris which carry the designation GTB, GTS, GTC, GT 2+2, etc. We all know that the letters GT mean that these are cars were designed for Grand Touring, but how often do we use the cars for that purpose? Not often enough. Last spring Patrick Ottis in Berkeley California decided it was time to encourage some serious Grand Touring and the focus of his attention was the fabulous 275GTB/4. It is not surprising that Patrick picked the 4 cam as the model to be featured on this back road adventure. He has owned a 4 cam himself for quite a few years and this model has always held a special place in his personal Ferrari lineup. As the writer of this article I should admit that I share this assessment, so the comments you are about to read are not likely to be objective. Lynn and I have enjoyed owning and driving our 275GTB/4 for over twelve years and it is still exciting to open the garage door, remove the cover and embark for an hour or two (or ten) of 4 cam automotive pleasure. You can always tell the big time 4 cam lovers. They are the people who purchased their cars prior to 1985 and still own them. But I digress.

In addition to his affinity for the model Patrick had another reason for selecting the 4 cam as the featured car for this drive. Most of these cars were built during the single year of 1967, so 1997 is the 30th anniversary of their construction. When you consider the anniversary aspect and think about the fact that these wonderful cars are rarely seen on the road any more, it becomes natural to dream about seeing them once again doing what they were created to do. Patrick put out the word and received numerous responses from 4 cam owners all across the country. As often happens, the numbers shrank as the departure date drew near, but when the first hint of daylight filtered through an overcast sky on August 12, 1997, there were still six 275GT'B/4's fueled up and ready to roll from a secure warehouse near PatrickÕs well equipped restoration and repair shop in Berkeley, CA. The drivers included Mike Higgs, Tom Garber, Patrick Ottis, Brandon Wang, Eric Zausner, and myself. We were accompanied by wives, relatives and friends who either rode along as passengers or traveled in the backup car, an Alfa Romeo 164. It was comforting to know that we had a professional mechanic tools) on the drive. Guy Mangiamele, a journalist affiliated with Cavalino Magazine was also with the group. (An interesting fact I learned on the trip is that Mangiamele means "eat apples".) While waiting to depart my thoughts turned to serial numbers which indicated that our car was built directly behind Patrick?s on the Maranello assembly fine all those years ago. It had been almost 30 years since these two cars were together in the same room

The first 30 minutes or so of our drive were spent negotiating the morning traffic on the San Rafael Bridge and in Southern Marin County. Then things thinned out and we were off on Highway 1 tracing our way along the winding coast and listening to the wonderful V12 sound that only Ferraris make. We passed through Stinson Beach and Fort Ross on the way to our lunch stop at the historic Gualala Hotel. After lunch we continued to track the mainly wild and undeveloped coastline to our evening destination in Little River, just south of Mendocino. When we arrived we filled up the main parking area in front of the Little River Inn and spent an hour or so admiring the cars and checking them over to see that no problems had developed. (None had.) Then it was off to the hot tubs to relax and get mentally prepared for a marvelous meal awaiting us in the dining room of the Inn.

We were hoping for sun the next morning, but no such luck. The morning photo session had to be conducted with the overcast skies which are apparently common to the area at this time of year. Other obligations made it necessary for three cars in our group to turn south af