By the 1960s, Ferrari had slowly started to move beyond its racing team origins into being a full-fledged high-end carmaker. While their sportscars reflected this heritage, their GT cars were still effectively spruced up, more comfortable versions of their racecars. Ferrari followed a different approach with the Ferrari 365 GT 2+2.
First shown at the Geneva Motor Show in 1967 and produced between 1968 and 1971, the Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 was Maranello’s first GT car in the true sense of the word. It looked nothing like the other 365 models Ferrari were selling at the time, namely the GTB/4 Daytona, the fastest production car in the world then, and the mid-engined 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer. Evidently, the GT 2+2 cars had been built to appeal to a completing different set of buyers. The formula proved effective, as the cars son became the most successful, selling 800 units over the course of its production run, accounting for roughly half of Ferrari’s entire production during that period.
Mechanically, the Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 was a development of the 330 GT 2+2, it carried over the same wheelbase and tubular chassis but with a wider track to improve interior space. The major change was the independent suspension at the back. It was a self-levelling, hydro-pneumatic setup developed in conjunction with Koni, and was quite high-end for the time. The engine was the 4.4-litre ‘Colombo’ V12, this produced 320bhp and 418Nm of max torque. The 2+2 was relatively light, which meant that the car could do 0 to 100kmph in 7.1s and on to a top speed of 245kmph. The car put its power down via a 5-speed synchromesh manual gearbox.
The exterior styling was typically Pininfarina. It featured clean lines and an elegant shape as was common in Ferraris of the era. While there were influences from earlier Ferraris like the 365 California and the 500 Superfast, the interiors were a huge departure from the usually cramped cabin and featureless panels. These were upgraded with posh leather upholstery, exquisite switchgear and an altogether more premium looking space. The car also came standard with power steering and air conditioning in the US market. Interestingly, the Ferrari 265 GT 2+2 was was the last Ferrari to be fitted with a wooden steering wheel.
Reviewers at the time praised the car for the relaxing driving experience it had to offer. The torquey engine made for clean progress and a typically grand touring style of dynamic ability. This was quite a departure for Ferrari and helped make the brand attractive to an older, wealthier clientele, especially in the United States.
The Ferrari 265 GT 2+2 was special because it took Ferrari’s (till then race car focused) approach to car building and broadened its appeal. This was especially significant because Ferrari was never going to do an out and out family car and the 2+2 was the most family-friendly Ferrari you could buy. This was arguably also the first step towards the clear demarcation that we have seen since in the Ferrari range between the sportscars, the mid-engined supercars and the GT cars.