The 365 California was Ferrari’s last super-luxurious limited edition model of the
1960’s. These huge convertibles were the successors to the 410 Superamerica, 400
Superamerica and 500 Superfast – all of which had been very limited production
models intended for the famous and super rich of the world.
Only 14 365 Californias were built between 1966 and 1967. One of them was s/n
9889GT, delivered new in striking ”azzurro metallizzato” (light metallic blue) with
”nero” (black) leather interior. Pininfarina’s records indicate that s/n 9889GT had been
intended for a customer named ”Joffolini”, but this name should actually read
”Toffolini” – the birth name of Carla Sacchi, the wife of Signore Sacchi, an industrialist
from Milan. It is unknown whether she gave this car to her husband as a present or
for whichever reason the car was ordered in her name, but at least it’s a fact that s/n
9889GT was Signore Sacchi’s car between 1967 and 1980. The car was not kept at
his Milan home, but at the family’s summer residence in Santa Margherita Ligure on
the most beautiful part of the Italian Riviera, very close to the mondane village of
Portofino (despite of that, it was registered on Milan plates MI E02428). S/n 9889GT is
for sure one of a very few Ferrari ever to have been chauffeur-driven! Salvatore Paletta
used to be the family’s chauffeur when the 365 California was bought new, and he
still serves the Sacchi family nowadays. Signore Sacchi died in 1980 or 1981, and s/n
9889GT was inherited by his widow, Carla Sacchi-Toffolini.
The last public appearance of s/n 9889GT took place in the early 1980’s at the Ferrari
Days in Modena – chauffeur Salvatore Paletta took the car there. After that, it was
stored in the garage at the summer residence and remained undriven since. With
only 30.000 or so kilometres on the clock, s/n 9889GT was preserved totally original
and unaltered – only a sporting stop-watch had been installed on the instrument
panel on the tunnel. Even among Ferrari historians, 9889GT’s trace was lost.
About two years ago, hobby car-dealer Randy Simon, resident in Boston, MA and
Beverly Hills, CA, met the son of Signore Sacchi in a bar in New York City. During their
conversation, 9889GT was mentioned and since then, Ferrari-enthusiast Randy
Simon kept trying to buy the car. His friend and business partner Peter Brotman
inspected the car in Italy, and finally, in April of 2001, Carla Sacchi-Toffolini sold her
”one-family-owner” 365 California to the two Americans. Salvatore Paletta prepared
the car for shipping, and the old chauffeur reportedly cried when Peter Brotman drove
away in the car.
S/n 9889GT was shipped to the USA via Munich/Germany, where www.Barchetta.cc
editor Andreas Birner had the chance to photograph this real ”time-capsule” along
with Matthias Ficht’s 500 Superfast s/n 8253SF and 330 GT 2+2 Series II s/n 9739GT.
The background for choosing these two cars as ”company” for the 365 California is
the fact that all these three Ferrari models are actually based on the same chassis
type. Look how different the cars look despite of that!