My Car Quest

October 21, 2018

The Three Seat Ferrari

by Wallace Wyss –

Some people think it was McLaren who pioneered the three seat center steering sports car. Not so.

Ferrari had one, commissioned by Luigi Chinetti Jr. who, besides being the son of the man who first brought the brand to America (and who, ahem, won LeMans twice in a Ferrari) thought of himself as a designer.

Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale "Tre Posti"

The 1966 Ferrari 365 P is nicknamed the “Tre Posti” and can be seen at one museum or another as part of a Dream Cars exhibit such as at the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Then he sold it once to a fellow named Jan De Vroom, probably the best name for a Ferrari driver ever. Vroom raced other cars, and was not a bad driver.

Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale "Tre Posti"

The car was built on a leftover V-12 mid-engine chassis, No. 8971, a 4.4-liter mid-engine competition chassis similar in layout to the 330 P2 and 365 P2 that Chinetti’s North American Racing Team, a team owned by the Chinettis, ran in 1965. Pininfarina did the body in aluminum Choosing the 3 seater layout.

There is no doubt it was race car oriented with such features as cast aluminum wheels, a roll bar, and dry-sump, but it had some luxury bits like black leather red carpet, chrome bumpers, and full glass roof which showed you off but made it hot as hell in warm climes.

Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale "Tre Posti"

Actually Pininfarina built a second Tre Posti – chassis number 8815 – for Fiat head Gianni Agnelli, but that car didn’t get as much exposure as the Chinetti one.

You could say the Boxer evolved from the popularity of this car.

As for chassis 8971, Luigi Chinetti Sr. reportedly paid around $22,000 for the complete car in 1967 and first sold it to a banker who found it too hot to drive in NYC so he brought it in trading it for a “Queen Mother” 365 GT 2 plus 2 and it was resold to Jan De Vroom for a small profit. He also found it warm to drive in the Riviera and traded it in.

A note of tragedy here: De Vroom lived on the edge. He was a favorite of a Rockefeller heir, who bought him houses and Ferraris. But he hung with the wrong crowd and, long after he sold the 3 seater, was murdered.

Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale "Tre Posti"

The 3-seater comes up for auction now and then, most recently Chinetti Jr. turning down $23 million.

Well, I don’t wanna rain on anybody’s parade but has anybody checked if the chassis ran in any important races as a race car? Maybe it should be rebodied, if that is the case. Could be worth more.

A famous British cartoonist Brockbank made a cartoon showing a driver driving it with a buxom babe on each side, the women cat fighting. One reason why maybe three seaters never made it big on the market.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

All photos by Mike Gulett.

Wallace Wyss

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR: A fine artist as well, Wyss is currently painting a commissioned series of Ferraris for owners. He can be reached at Photojournalispro2@gmail.com

 
 
 

 

 

Ferrari 365 P Berlinetta Speciale "Tre Posti"

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Summary
The Three Seat Ferrari
Article Name
The Three Seat Ferrari
Description
The 1966 Ferrari 365 P is nicknamed the “Tre Posti” is a rare Ferrari with three seats where the driver sits in the middle.
Author

Comments

  1. Robert Feldman says:

    Saw this car at the Simeone museum in Philly a couple years back. Absolutely stunning and do unique!

  2. Derby Preston says:

    I have the single sell. Gooding brochure of this one off Ferrari I thought they sold it that year 2014 …… when bid in increments I were a million per David’s up bidding

  3. ADRIAN SULTANA says:

    It’s a beautiful expression of Ferrai as an art form: all the beauty of a Dino plus 3 seats, a possible racing heritage and a rarity factor of just two built
    Anyone know what happened to the Agnelli one?

  4. While I appreciate the coolness of an outside fuel filler, this one looks like a wart on this beautiful machine.

  5. OK, but why bring up the Peak design? The car shown is a PF. I think you have merged two stories.

  6. ADRIAN SULTANA says:

    I agree it oozes Vintage Pininfarina !
    I wonder if the outside fuel filler probably arises from the racing chassis underpinnings
    Please please where are the two cars now?

  7. wallace wyss says:

    Ed you’re right. The Peak design was a gullwing car. I got the two confused. But that’s another story, to decide if Peak was really a car designer or just an illustrator (my definition: one who creates art for commercial purposes)

  8. Don Meluzio says:

    I had the pleasure of Meeting Luigi and his wife last year. We met at a Museum display of Italian SportsCars. What a lovely couple, and as humble and nice as you could ever imagine. I didn’t realize that he Won Lemans twice. That’s really something.

  9. wallace wyss says:

    It was the father that won LeMans, not Jr.. Put Ferrari as a marque on the map so to speak.
    I think Luigi Jr. is the consummate exotic car dealer, hung onto the right cars
    and is now making out like a bandit (do people still say that?) I got a kick out of how
    Ferrari sued him, implying he was building fakes but he prevailed, pointing out that race cars change from race to race.

  10. Bob Wachtel says:

    Many years ago while driving my mid-engine Cobra-powered Fiberfab “Valkyrie” coupe up towards Quebec City from Brooklyn,N.Y. I noticed a blur rapidly approaching in my rear view mirror. At that time I was toying with a Jaguar XKE coupe. I was in the far left lane & the XKE was in the far right lane. The middle lane was clear. As the blur whizzed by in the middle lane I saw it was a 3 seater Ferrari roadster with the driver in the middle & two attractive gals slightly in back of the driver. It was a very cozy looking arrangement. The car was painted a bright yellow and the body was a P3 or P4. It was sensuous and beautiful. I always thought years later that this was a one of a kind vehicle driven by Luigi Chinetti Jr. Does anyone out there know something about this car? I’d say the year this occurred was in 1971 or 1972. Maybe Luigi might know more about this machine.

  11. ADRIAN SULTANA says:

    A Ferrari and TWO gals!
    Now that’s everybody’s dream.

  12. Bob Wachtel says:

    The funny thing Is that when I crossed the border into Canada I came across the Ferrari pulled over by a Canadian state trooper for speeding I would suppose. With that beautiful arm candy on either side of the driver along with that magnificent automobile I would doubt that a summons was issued. What do you think? I’m not making this up. I’d like to tell the story of what eventually happened to my Valkyrie and what became my next ride. That is if anyone’s at all interested. Let me know if you are.

  13. Mack Andrews says:

    I remember seeing this car at the London motor show in 1966 (I think). I was 10 at the time and was amazed by the center driving position.
    Always remembered it though I never heard about it for years. Probably the emergence of the F1 stirred my memory of it,

  14. When is Coco Chinetti (Luigi, Jr.) going to chime in and answer these questions?!

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