Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car by Felber

Car of the Day #72: 1976 Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car by Felber

Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car by Felber
Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car by Felber • via Classic Driver

As a pasty white guy, my relationship with the sun is a collection of memories I'd rather forget. I don't even look good with a tan—and by tan, I mean my freckles just sort of melt together, like butterscotch chips.

That said, I have been known to indulge in open-air motoring, provided I’m not trying to go anywhere quickly…lest my ears start to ache from the turbulence. 

With a 320-horsepower V12 engine, the Felber Ferrari Beach Car would certainly generate buffeting en route to Margaritaville.

Before you get all hot over this one-off, though, I have two words for you: cowl shake.

And that's just it. With respect to WH Felber Automobiles SA (liquidated in 1991) and Willy Felber (who died in 2002), the group wasn’t able to generate customer interest in its off menu designs. The company launched with a Ferrari 330 GTC chopped up into a sort-of Ferrari 166 Spyder neo-classic…and things didn't really get much better from there.

Note: If you do a cursory Google search for Felber, you'll also notice a small minicar called the Autoroller TL400. That was built by A. Felber & Co. in Vienna, Austria, in 1952 and 1953. No relation.

An early partnership with UK-based Panther Westwinds nearly landed Felber in the oh God not another kit car pile, but the firm did have a partnership with Michelotti, to which the Beach Car is sometimes credited (Michelotti constructed it.)

Michelotti was no stranger to beach cars—the Michelotti Shellette was bought by the Dutch Royal Family and Jacqueline Onassis, among others. The swoop of the Beach Car's door says “Shellette,” at least to me. But whereas the Shellette had practical wicker seats—and a wicker dashboard—the Beach Car features an interior that appears to be trimmed in blue leather.

The Beach Car featured a Shellette-like door opening, too.

But wait, there’s more! According to a Ferrari 365 GTC/4 owners’ forum, the Beach Car, chassis 16017, was built by Michelotti for the 1976 Geneva Motor Show in white, as ordered by Sheik Al Tahani, who then declined to purchase the car so Michelotti then re-bodied as a wagon for the 1977 Geneva show.

After test drives and photography, the still unsold wagon bodywork was scrapped, and the Beach Car body, now in gold, was reinstalled.

Ferrari 365 GTC/4 Beach Car by Felber • via Classic Driver

Felber didn't last much longer, and finished making custom cars in 1984. In my estimation it's because he started restyling Malaise-era Pontiacs. For the Swiss. The Encyclopaedia of Classic Cars says he ‘converted’ more than 150 vehicles in all.

The subject of today’s Car of the Day, fully restored and ready for an application of sunscreen, was offered in 2023 at an auction in Monaco but reportedly not sold.

By this point you're likely looking at your accounts and wondering to yourself, “Wait…how can I get my hands on one of those Felber Pontiacs?”


Thank you to my supporting members: Ben B., Brad B., Chris G., Daniel G., Damian S., Daniel P., Drew M., Ingrid P., Karl D., Luis O., Michael J., Michael L., Michelle S., Mike B., Mike L., Mike M., Richard W., Sam L., Wiley H.