Pictures copyright Erik C. Nielsen
Sometimes, the facts get in the way of a good story. Other times, the truth is often more interesting than fiction.
One of the more controversial cars of recent note has been the recently restored Glickenhaus Ferrari P4, which garnered Best in Show at the Ferrari of Long Island Concours d'Elegance last Saturday. Erik Nielsen took a detailed look at the car, did some investigation, and here is his report:
P4, now serial number 0846. Or is it? Photo by Werner Pfister.
The original chassis plate of 0846 was most likely destroyed in the fire that also destroyed much of the right rear section of the chassis at Le Mans in 1967. If you go with the definition that original means original chassis plate then you believe that 0846 no longer exists.
However, if you look at what is there, then interesting questions arise. The forensic evidence shows that there more than likely are significant portions of the original chassis of 0846 in the Glickenhaus car. This fact was probably totally unbeknown to David Piper when he commissioned the car and was definitely unknown to Glickenhaus when he bought the car in 2000. So let's start at the beginning of the saga…
330 P3/4 0846's Known History
Chassis 0846 started off life as a 330 P3 and raced in four main events in 1966. At the 12 hours of Sebring, Mike Parkes and Bob Bondurant drove it until the gearbox failed on lap 172. The car was also a DNF at the Targa Florio at the hands of Nino Vacarrella and Lorenzo Bandini. Although entered at the 1000km at the Nuerburgring with Mike Parkes and John Surtees, it was a DNS. It did run two weeks later at the 1966 Le Mans event, but went out again with a failed gearbox while being driven by Pedro Rodriguez and Richie Ginther.
The Scuderia then upgraded the car to P3/4 specifications and it was used as a team car for the 1967 season. At the hands of Lorenzo Bandini and Chris Amon, the car came first using #23 at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Bandini drove the car again in April and won the 4 hours of Le Mans using #22. Vacarrella teamed up with Ludovico Scarfiotti for the 1967 running of the Targa Florio, but the car again was classified as a DNF as a result of a crash. 0846 was then prepared for another run at Le Mans, this time with Amon and Vacarrella as team mates. Amon suffered a puncture and attempted to change the tire on the circuit. The hammer broke so he tried to drive back to the pits. The shredded tire destroyed part of the body work and started a fire and most historians believe that the car was destroyed as a result. Others claim that the car ran at Mugello and was destroyed in a crash there.
In any case, Ferrari's response through communications with Ferrari historian and Cavallino contributor Keith Bluemel was as follows:
"Burned at Le Mans 1967 - The car was returned to Maranello. Bodywork: Almost completely destroyed. Right side distribution system and fuel tank burned. Disassembled all the mechanical components and sent the chassis to customer service department for eventual use. There is nothing to say that the car has been sold and for Ferrari a car with the chassis number 0846 does not exist."
So, insofar as Ferrari is concerned, there is no chassis 0846. However, Ferrari did not object or make any further statement when Glickenhaus registered the car as 0846 with NY tags.
Wasn't 0846 Used in Pininfarina’s 250 P5?
There have been several claims that the remains of 0846 was used in the construction of Pininfarina's 250 P5 which was shown at the 1968 Geneva Auto Show. The claim that 0846 was used in creating P5 was also stated by Winston Goodfellow in a recent car magazine.
Mark Ketchem then pointed out that there was a problem with this story based on the measurements that Karl Ludvigsen made in 1986.
"The P5 is smaller in every dimension (other than width) then its predecessor, the famous 330 P4 of 1967. It is over 3 three inches shorter overall and 0.8 inches shorter in wheelbase [93.7 versus 94.5] as well as lower."
Ketchem's notes show the following differences between a P4 chassis and the chassis of the P5:
Front track 58.6" versus 55.1"
Rear track 57.1" versus 53.3"
Length 164.8" versus 161.5"
Width 71.2" versus 71.2"
Height 39.4" versus 38.6"
Weight 792.2 kg versus 663.6 kg (no fuel)
Reviewing pictures of the chassis of a 330 P4 and P5 today, one can rather easily come to the conclusion that 0846 was not used to create the P5-- currently owned by Shiro Kosaka in Japan--nor was any other 330P4. The P5 chassis has enough differences to seem to have been created as a new design.
Goodwood Festival of Speed 2000
At the 2000 edition of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, James Glickenhaus of New York was present became interested in the red 330 P4 coupe of David and Liz Piper, then having the serial number of 0003.
An invitation was made for Mr. Glickenhaus and his son to view the Piper P4 in London. Also present that day was a "NOS Alloy P4 coupe body circa 1967 built by the original panel beater." When inquiries were made as to who made it at Alegretti, Piper stated that it was "the old man."
Once back, discussions about the cars continued with Alberto Pedretti about what was offered and arrangements were made for a second trip to the UK. Together, they inspected the cars that were offered along with the original blueprints for the P4 chassis design and a decision was made to acquire the red car and the original coupe bodywork by Alegretti. The intended use of the car was a weekend driver to be enjoyed on public roads.
The following documentation was provided at the time of the sale dated October 6, 2000.
CERTIFICATE OF ORIGIN
TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN
1967 FERRARI 330 P4
I, David PIPER, hereby declare and warrant that were acquired from Enzo Ferrari in 1974 an original 1967 Ferrari Ferrari engine Nr.*0003*, an original 1967 gearbox Nr. 593A N7,the original 1967 chassis drawings and various original 1967 body and suspension parts which we built into a 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 chassis No. *0003.
Signed: David Piper
In addition, Piper, in writing attested to the fact that: he had continuously owned 0003 since 1974 and had raced it at various venues through the world and included photo's, magazine and newspaper articles on the car. Some of these photos had notations in Piper's handwriting on the back one of which interestingly refers to it as a Ferrari 330 P 3/4 and having won a race in UK.
The Questions Begin
The car and the body arrived in NY and its disassembly began. The engine and gearbox went to Alberto and Bob Wallace (of Ferrari and Lamborghini fame) and Sal Barone, formerly of Wide World of Cars, began stripping and de-riveting the chassis.
The person selected to fit the NOS Alloy coupe body to the chassis, was John Hydak Jr. of MetalKraft located in Noblesville, Indiana. One day he called Glickenhaus and said: "I was reading a book about P4's which talked about the 1967 Targa Florio crash of 0846. You can see the result of that crash and the repair to the original chassis tubes. In your [Glickenhaus] chassis, you can also see where it was modified at different times by different welders... "
Hydak also thought that one could see the section that likely was "burned/destroyed" in Amon's 1967 Le Mans incident had also been replaced with tubes of a different dimension and character by a different welder as well.
Barone, who was overseeing the entire restoration, also mentioned that be believed Hydak was right and that he had noticed several things about the chassis which he believed showed that it had been modified from a P3 chassis to accept a P4 motor changing the wheelbase from P3 to P4.
So, was Piper's old 0003 really 0846?
About this time, Ferrari enthusiast Patrick Faucompre told James Glickenhaus an email that
"Tom Meade had a garage in Modena in the sixties, which he shared (far later) with David Piper. Tom told me had in the early 70's two and a half P4, in pieces, in his Modena garage. He needed space and personally threw out the chassis-tube of 0846 in a Modena junkyard, because nobody was interested by such parts, and he traded or sold to David in 1971 a complete P4 body."
As an interesting aside, around that time James Glickenhaus met Tom Meade as well. Glickenhaus told him he was interested in a P4 and Meade replied that he had a "wrecked one that he could repair". When Glickenhaus stated he wanted to have a coupe, the reply was "I have a coupe body and can build it up as a coupe." They agreed to meet again in California. In a rickety garage he took the cover off a dusty and shipping damaged "Tomissina". The "shape was beautiful but the fit and finish of the interior which I remember as being velour was a bit kit-carish" according to Glickenhaus. But it was no deal. "I moved on and bought an ex Pensky /Donohue Lola which I still have".
All of this information—plus a great deal more-- was then sent to Ferrari via the Owner's Website. Glickenhaus then registered on the site that he was the owner of 1967 Ferrari 330 P4 0846 (the telaio number is required before Ferrari allows you to register a car in "Your Garage") on the Ferrari Owners site. After about a week Ferrari came back and put 330 P4 Rossa Corsa with a date of construction of 1966 (they changed the date as Glickenhaus had entered 1967), and that Glickenhaus had owned it since 2000. The photographs and information are still online and posted for all owners to see. There has not been an attempt made by Ferrari to remove this information from their website.
Glickenhaus also noted that the original magnesium uprights that were on the car when he bought it from Piper had seen better days so he asked Ferrari to build two new sets, one as a spare, in aluminum. Ferrari recast two sets of uprights, which they described as "P4 Suspension PA".
Most of these facts were posted on both the Ferrari Owner's website forum and also on FerrariChat.com. On the later, it seemed that determining the provenance of 0846 became a spectator's sport and everyone with an internet connection and a minimal passing interest in Ferrari became a historian.
A point that will become the key in all of this, whether or not the chassis was a "continuation" chassis like the other two cars, which is what the claim is, or if the chassis is a reworked 330 P3 chassis upgraded to 330 P4 specifications.
The following is taken from the "TECHNICAL DATA SHEET" of "330 P3/4.
Chassis n. 0846" The only car in all the Technical Data Sheets labeled "330 P3/4"
"-330 P3/P4 -
SCHEDA TECNICA" (TECHNICAL DATA SHEET)
330 P3/P4 (1967)
Telaio N 0846
Trasformazione di un modello P3 secondo le caratteristiche del modello P4.
Telaio Tipo 593/603. Trasformazione della parte posteriore tubolare del
telaio per i nuovi putoni del motore
Chassis n. 0846
Transformation of a P3 model according to the characteristics of the P4 model.
Type 593/603. Transformation of the tubular part at the rear of the chassis for new Type 237 engine mountings."
Is The Glickenhaus Car 0846?
Does all of this make the car the missing 0846? The evidence is there that the chassis is consistent with a P4 that was created by modifying a P3. The engine is a P4 motor that ran at the 1967 Le Mans race and the gearbox ran at the 1966 Le Mans race. The body work is new, but 0846 was wrecked at least twice.
The final answer to that question really will be left up to Ferrari. The latest request from Ferrari is that they inspect the vehicle during the historic Targa Floria next year. Maybe then, we will have the final word on what is what.
Note the angle of the distributors, not a 90 degree angle of the F1 engine.
Note hidden fire bottle, modern safety to allow the car to be enjoyed without worry.
Note the chassis repairs on the tube running between the spaghetti exhaust.
Restored to period quality, not a gem, but real 1960's racing quality.
Gearbox with Le Mans scrutineering marks.
More evidence of the chassis modifications.
Note how the chassis has been modified to accept the P4 engine. If you had the original blueprints, you would like this joint up directly.
Left Front Suspension details.
Right Hand rear engine details.
Similar to the LH engine mounts, modifications to the mounting are evident on Right side.
P4 gearbox, simplicity, but built to last.