The estimates currently range from $16 million to $20 million. But when it comes to the auction of this sensational 1966 Ferrari in Pebble Beach, California in a couple of weeks time, the sky is literally the limit.
That’s because this is the 1966 Ferrari 365P Berlinetta Speciale - the car they nicknamed “Tre Posti” for its unique three-across seating where the driver sits in the middle. It’s simply one of the rarest, most important Ferraris of all time.
Designed by Sergio Pininfarina as a one-off show car, it was built for Ferrari’s first U.S. importer, Luigi Chinetti in New York City.
Chinetti, a passionate and accomplished racer, wanted the car based on one of his Ferrari 365P2 race cars with its screaming 380-horsepower 4.4-liter V12 engine positioned behind the driver. Hence the car became the first-ever road car with a mid-mounted V-12, adding considerably to its rarity and value.
In many ways it’s a thinly-disguised race car, with its chrome roll-over cage, competition pedals, gated shifter and race-car suspension. But befitting its show-car status, its interior features a huge bronze-tinted glass moonroof, black leather upholstery and bright red carpets, and subtle Gardenia White exterior paint.
Why the three-across seating, no one is quite sure. But when the car debuted at the 1966 Paris auto show, Road & Track magazine produced a lovely cartoon showing both of the car’s doors open, a man sitting in central driver’s seat, and two women fighting on the Italian roadside, no doubt over his affections.
After the car spent a year with Pininfarina doing the rounds of the world’s auto shows, it was shipped to Chinetti who reportedly sold it in August 1967 to a New York investment banker for $26,000.
Interestingly, the banker returned it a few months later complaining of the lack of air conditioning and that it’s central driving position made it a pain to park. It was then snapped up by a Dutch collector and then by the grand-daughter of John D. Rockefeller.
But in 1969, it came back to Chinetti and has remained in the family’s collection ever since. It currently has only 7,900km or 4,950 miles on the clock.