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Driving a GTC v a Maranello

Discussion in 'Ferrari Discussion (not model specific)' started by Texas Forever, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Apr 28, 2003
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    Texas!
    Sorry for the delay, but I have been busier than a one-legged man at an$$ kicking contest. I gave up on “to-do” lists a long time ago, but as Jimmy Buffet sang, “I don’t like the sound of the wind spinning out of control.”

    First, I’d like to thank Gray Gregory for letting me take his 1967 330 GTC for a spin. Before I brought my Ferrari, I believed that most Ferrari types were like Alan Lambo. You know, gold chain, chest hair rug, and arrogant. (Just kidding, Alan.) What I have found instead is that most Ferrari owners are like Gray. Genuine car nuts, who will do anything for a friend. Gray, as the Pantera group knows, is a true gentleman and a first class guy. I have to say that those bitten by the Ferrari bug have been, almost without exception, the friendliest and nicest people that I have ever met.

    Second, I’m a lover, not a fighter. All I really care about is how fun a car is to drive. I have never driven a 250 GTO (and probably never will). And while I agree that it is probably one of the best looking sports car ever, I suspect that a Mini Cooper S with a works package may be more fun to drive. I don’t care about showing off on the boulevard. I’m happily married, so I don’t care whether the chicks dig it or not. All I care about is pitching that rascal into a corner and powering out with a smile on my face.

    That said, one lesson I have learned from riding old motorcycles is that if the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, then he needs to get on his camel and start humping over to the mountain. An old car is what it is. Instead of adjusting to your style, you need to learn its strengths and limitations.

    Starting slow is the key. You shake the shifter to get a feel for its movement. Push in the clutch a couple times. You then air shift a couple of times. In an old Ferrari, it is important to imprint second gear because this is always the embarrassing crunch gear.

    Gray had upgraded his fuel pump so it was possible to skip the fuel pump ritual. Turn the key and go. Well, kind of. After years of driving fuel injection, you forget about working the old right foot to wake up the carbs.

    Wait till the car starts ticking over. Then really push on the clutch. (Man is that sucker heavy. And people think the clutch in my Maranello is heavy!) Engage reverse and start backing out. (BTW, Gray’s ranch is gorgeous. You had to have been there.)

    I then realize my first mistake – wearing heavy sole shoes. In a vintage car, footwork is critical. First off, the foot well is very narrow. You need to be able to feel which pedal your foot is working. Second, and this is hard to explain, you need to be able to really feel the clutch, the brake, and the accelerator. With a sensitive foot, you can feel the clutch bearing release. Plus, double clutching is a necessity. Unfortunately, stupid feet results in a major disconnect, i.e., grinding gears.

    My next impression is that this steering wheel is w-i-d-e! It must be at least 3 to 4 inches wider than the Maranello. Sounds silly, but this difference means that you have to relearn your turning instincts.

    Once mobile, things start making more sense. The inputs start matching up and the short run from the barn (Ha! Some barn) to the road gives some time to get used to the car at very slow speeds. Remember the dumb song about listening to your body talk? Well, it’s the same here.

    Okay, first to third, life is looking good. Up shift to fourth based on ear, life is looking even better. My daughter is following in a Porsche that I just brought that she is driving for the first time. This meant that I had to be cool and not lose her. The A/C is interesting. It really cools your knees!

    Everything is great, except that where I’m expecting 3rd gear in the Maranello is 2nd in the GTC. C-r-r-r-nuch! Oh man, I hate that. But shifting is very cool. Again, I had dumb feet, and I’m still learning the car. Shifting into 2nd is one of those bonding things. You kinda feel out the gear and when it is ready, you p-u-s-h that mother in. I’m gonna skip any other analogies here.

    After a stop for some TexMex, Gray takes the Porsche and my daughter gets in with me in the GTC. Did I mention that my new toy is a 2002 Yellow Twin Turbo? Gray takes off with various puffs of dust, and I have drag in the GTC.

    From here, it is really hard to describe the driving sensations. I’m still dealing with my dumb feet and learning the car. It got so bad that I was tempted to pull off my shoes while driving. But then I remembered the time when I tried to adjust the carbs on my Triumph motorcycle while tooling down the road. I still have grass stains on my leather jacket. I motor on, trying to keep up with Gray (Meanwhile, I know that he is loafing in the TT. You can carry on a conversation with your grandmother while doing the ton in a TT.)

    So what’s it like? Clearly, it takes some bonding time. My guess is that you would need to put, maybe, 500 miles on the clock before you really start getting comfortable with a GTC. It is much more engaging that the Maranello. But, and this is a big but, you quickly realize how spoiled you get driving the Shark. This may sound silly, but the Maranello is one of the easiest cars that I have ever driven at speed. Everything just seems to fall into place so quickly that, well, you get spoiled very fast. With the GTC, you need to slow down and bond with the car. Don’t misunderstand, a GTC is a very forgiving car. But it is unrealistic to think that it will respond as well as a Maranello.

    Will a 330 GTC work for me? You betcha. I like cars that are challenging. To me, this is a big part of the fun. But like the song says, “Why did the bear go over the mountain? To see what he could see.” I’m hoping to drive a 365 GTC next. Then, I’ll try a Daytona. I don’t think that I’ll fit into a Boxer so that’s out. I don’t think that I have the patience or the pocketbook for a 275. (A friend of mine had his catch on fire twice. Both times while crossing the George Washington bridge in NY.)

    If there is any interest, I’ll keep reporting from the road....

    Dr “Winds of the Old Days” Tax
     
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  3. F SPIDER

    F SPIDER F1 Rookie
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    Dale,

    Great post. It felt like I were sitting next to you in the car. I have not driven a 330 GTC, but if it compares to a 365 GT 2+2, you will have much more space in a Daytona. Still, I often take off my shoes when I drive. I just like the feel better. In the Elise I have to (or use racing shoes), but in the Daytona there is room enough for your feet, including space for your left foot.

    Rijk
     
  4. EVartanian

    EVartanian Formula 3

    Mar 19, 2002
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    Eric
    Thanks for the right-up, Dale. Enjoyed it!
     
  5. sherpa23

    sherpa23 F1 Veteran
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    May 28, 2003
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    "Before I brought my Ferrari, I believed that most Ferrari types were like Alan Lambo. You know, gold chain, chest hair rug, and arrogant."

    Hey, I have a gold chain (which my wife attributes to my third world upbringing) and my chest probably has a little more hair than I would like. I would hope I''m not arrogant. But to address another Ferrari/Lambo sterotype: I am not a hair dresser or have any desire to be.

    :D
     
  6. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Rijk, Thanks for the kind words. I don't mean to imply that the GTC's foot well is too narrow. I just had dumb feet. It's funny, isn't it, how much feel you gain from your feet.

    As a postscript. It is, of course, not right to compare a GTC to a Maranello. I'd be very disappointed if after almost 40 years if Ferrari had not made significant improvement in their GT cars. The main point is that driving a vintage car requires a commitment. It is like the old saw about being involved versus committed. In making a plate of ham and eggs, the chicken was involved, but the pig got committed.

    One last thought. The turn ins in the GTC were not as crisp as the Maranello. I suspect that this is due to the wider tires on the Maranello? Gray's car had the period correct XMXs (or whatever they are called). If I owned the car, I might experiment with wider tires to gauge the results.

    Finally, Gray's cars are drivers. This doesn't mean that they are beaters, far from it. But if upgrading the fuel pump makes a better car, then he does it, even if by doing so this gets the purists upset. My kinda guy. (PS, Gray's family also has a 250 SWB that they exercise regularly.)

    Oh, and one more thing... The Maranello is roughly 1,000 pounds heavier than the GTC. (3,000 v. 4,000). I'm wondering where the extra weight went. Some of it must be the bigger tires and wheels. Some of it must be the soundproofing and what not. But a 1,000 pound difference is a lot. Just imagine a Maranello after it has been to the gym for a few months. "Hey, hey Mama, have you heard the news, gonna make you sweat, gonna make you grove!"

    Best, Dr "Back in Time" Tax
     
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  8. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Hey, watch it Ryan. Bill Rose frequents this site, and if he reads this, he might come up there and kick yo butt! :)
     
  9. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Eric, some folks like to brag about their cars (0 to 60). Some folks like to show off their cars. Some folks like to use their cars to pick up dancers. Other folks are just looking for love in all the wrong places.

    Me, I like to drive em. Going through the startup phase with a car that I have never driven before, getting rolling, and then finding the groove, is what's it all about. I imagine that it is like playing a new band. You try this. You do that. Figure out where the edges are. But, then, when you can lock down a groove, it sure feels so right.

    Dr "Groovy" Tax
     
  10. Matt LaMotte

    Matt LaMotte Formula 3

    Oct 30, 2002
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    Great write up as always and cograts on the drive. YOU GOT A TWIN TURBO PORSHE NOW?!!!! Quite a little stable you got going there Dale! Is your daughter married? :)
     
  11. whart

    whart F1 Veteran
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    Dale: i think the Boxer will suprise you. You have to cant the seatback back, and drive Italian style, but you should fit, its a more "modern"drive in some ways, and ohh, the torque. Not as well balanced as your 550, but very involving.
     
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  13. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Texas!
    Interesting, which verison interests you the most and why?
     
  14. Challenge

    Challenge Formula 3

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    Sounds like Dr. "April is a great month to buy toys" Tax
     
  15. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    There no such thing as having too much fun...
     
  16. Varenne

    Varenne Formula Junior

    Nov 8, 2003
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    Dale, That was a beautiful post - not just for your description of the experience, but also for your skills as a writer. It reflects a reverence for these cars specifically as well as the marque in general. Just wanted to say thanks. It's guys like you - and all the others out there, you know who you are - that make me keep coming back here all the time. Once I have my house, kids upcoming college, etc. straightened out, I hope to be out there with you one day.

    Thanks,

    Mark
     
  17. wax

    wax Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Doc - thanks for well-done presentation of what expectations/requirements there are for a vintage GT driver.
     
  18. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    #15 Texas Forever, Mar 24, 2004
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Thanks all for the kind words. BTW, I belive that Gray is interested in selling his car. If you want, I can confirm this with him and get a price. Here are some pics of the car, his ranch, and my daughter with the Yellow Zonker. (PS, I threw in a mystery pic also.)
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  19. Teenferrarifan

    Teenferrarifan F1 Rookie

    Feb 21, 2003
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    Thanks Doc it was a great read. Will someone let the Doc drive their classic ferrari so we can read about it now????
    Erik
     
  20. Tspringer

    Tspringer F1 Veteran

    Apr 11, 2002
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    Doc can have a go at my Daytona anytime he comes to Atlanta...

    So, whats the story with the 250SWB? Real? Did you get a ride or a chance at driving it? THAT is a car I would swap the Daytona for!

    I remember reading about the ex-Lord Brocket 250GT SWB replica that was so perfect in every detail it fooled all the experts at concours level. IT was sold as an original car and accepted by everyone until the REAL car with that vin was discovered.... and the fraud was exposed. (he did jail time). I would love to own that car! I think it once sold for like $165K, not bad for replica that is THAT good....


    Terry
     
  21. F SPIDER

    F SPIDER F1 Rookie
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    Terry,

    you have to be pretty small to fit in a SWB. The steering wheel sits in your stomach. I couldn't even get in.

    Rijk
     
  22. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
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    Gray's dad brought the 250 SWB in 1984 and raced it for over 10 years before moving on to a open-wheeled vintage racer. It is a really cool car, BUT it is a 40+ year old car. Gray says that by today's standards, it is like driving a truck. It gets driven about once a month or so, and I believe that they may be taking it to Monterey, but I'm not sure on this. The really neat thing is that Gray and his dad drive ALL their cars. No stinkin trailer queens here.

    Dr "Looking in the rear view mirror" Tax
     

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