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The Red 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4

Like most red-blooded young men, I wanted a red Ferrari. I did my research and decided I would buy a 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4. Road and Track had a great shot of the dash, showing the tach at 7,000 rpm and speedo at 170 mph to declare it was the fastest car at the time. I couldn’t hand over a check fast enough. But, when I got to the lot to pick up my car—no red Ferrari.

By Jeff mason

March 3, 2021

A Young-Blooded Young Man Signs the Paperwork

I’d ordered my car from Bob Cozza at Bobcor Motors on Main Street, Williamsville, NY. When I met Bob, he reminded me of Dean Martin and I loved his passion for Italian cars. He was a total Alfisti (Alfa Romeo lover) whose daily driver was a rare cherry red Alfa Romeo Montreal Coupe. That car wasn’t exactly legal as it was never officially imported into the country. How and why I ended up with that car about a half year later is another story.

Bob was on board with my plans for the Ferrari. “It’s time you got yourself a real man’s car. The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 is the best sports car in the world.” He wasn’t wrong on either score. You needed some muscle to push in the clutch, shift the gearbox, or turn the steering wheel. You were definitely involved in the driving experience behind the wheel of this car.

I was sold. I was also charmed rather than put off by the décor of the dealership, which was too small fit more than one car, and that car was not a Ferrari. Definitely not purpose-built for high-end automobiles, the space might have spent its previous life as a deli. A giant Alfa sign illuminated two utilitarian desks near that lone car and Mario headed up the service department in one of the small buildings out back.

As nonchalant as I was about my surroundings, Bob was definitely interested in the 1972 BMW 3.0 CS Coupe I was dangling before him as a trade-in. He declared, “Bobby, I’ll give you ALL the money in trade for that Blue BMW you’re driving!” Like a great handmade pasta makes you feel real good but costs you in calories, Bob’s final offer was very generous.

The Not-So-Red 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4

1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4

Photo courtesy of Wake Forrest Ferrari.

As I mentioned, there wasn’t a car to take at Bob’s dealership. A week after my meeting there, we flew to Algar Motors in Philadelphia where I was assured I’d meet up with my red Ferrari and my dream would come true.

I walked past a Daytona Coupe in Silver and a pale yellow Daytona Spyder with barely a glance at either as Bob greeted the Algar service rep in Italian. Words and the hands flew as the story was told, then translated for my benefit: the red coupe had been sold but I could have my pick from the silver or yellow cars.

I Buy a Silver Ferrari

1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4

Photo courtesy of Wake Forrest Ferrari.

I based my decision on gut reaction; I couldn’t stand the yellow. So, I drove away with the silver coupe, serial number 16447 and one of roughly 1,200 made. I’d paid $23,000 less the $13,000 I got for the BMW. That was a good chunk of cash then but, when the silver Ferrari sold in 2017, it fetched north of $800,000 for the owner. Not me, of course. The yellow spyder I had scoffed at? It would sell for about $3 million today because it was an original spyder and not one of the many cars cut and reworked as a convertible.

Red 1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4

Photo courtesy of  Classic Driver.

After adding between 10,000 and 12,000 miles on my silver Ferrari, I sold the car in 1976. I thought I had some fun with the car, stuffing it with the high-end stereo equipment I was selling and showing it off at shows. But, my car had quite the adventurous life after we parted ways, with it ending up in Arizona, California, and the UK (twice).

I didn’t know what’d happened to it until 2011 when I found out that Wayne Carnini had purchased it. And that it was red. Somewhere in that hidden history, my red Ferrari actually became red! Then, Wayne, who is renowned for the quality of his shop’s paintwork, returned the car to its original silver.

The car is currently for sale at Wake Forest Ferrari. Me, I can’t buy the same red Ferrari twice if it won’t be red either time.

Robert P. Minnick is founder and CEO of the Piston Foundation. The cars in his life and the people he calls friends because of those cars inspired him to create a national fundraising platform to preserve car culture. He’d like nothing better than to know future generations can have car experiences as memorable as his own. He’d like nothing better than to know future generations can have car experiences as memorable as his own.

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