Purple Haze

After driving the Felber FF, a 330 GTC just won’t seem the same.

Photo: Purple Haze 1
July 20, 2023

What is this car

Photo: Purple Haze 2

In the United States, car designer Virgil Exner created a new retro-baroque style, reinventing vanished brands with his Mercer Cobra and Stutz Blackhawk. The Excalibur and Cl

Photo: Purple Haze 3

Thanks to his extensive network of contacts in the automotive world, Felber succeeded in creating his dream. The body design was completed by Edgardo Michelotti, son of prolific car designer Giovanni Michelotti, and assembly was entrusted to Panther Westwinds in England. Robert Jankel

Photo: Purple Haze 4

For Willy Felber, it was just the beginning of a career as a builder that was as bloated as it was meteoric. In the space of a decade, he produced more than 15 different models. These started with another series of the FF (now redesigned and based on a Lancia), then two unique Ferraris: the Felber Croisette, a Michelotti-built hunting station wagon based on a 365 GT4 2+2, and the Beach Car, based on a 365 GTC/4 and commissioned by the Sheikh of Qatar.

Many cars were transformed to make them more prestigious, like the Felber Oasis, a SUV of sorts based on an International Harvester Scout II, of which 70 copies were built (and 30 ordered for Muammar Gaddafi

Photo: Purple Haze 5

After being repaired, the Ferrari was exported to Switzerland, where it was bought by Prince Zourab Nicolas Platon Tchkotoua. This Georgian descendant of the Russian aristocracy was a serious car enthusiast. His maternal grandfather was the founder of Marmon cars, and the Prince raced at Daytona, Sebring, the Targa Florio, and the N

Photo: Purple Haze 6

Snugly wrapped inside the wheels, the cabin is narrow and evokes a minimalist British roadster more than an Italian GT, even though many of the components come straight from the 330: the steering column and its stalks, open gear lever, and gauges (which have been rearranged to place the larger tachometer and speedometer facing the passenger, due to a lack of leg room). Three windshield wipers and small side windows flank a very basic, flat windshield, while the primitive roof that clips onto the bodywork is fortunately absent. It

Photo: Purple Haze 7

Put another way, the FF is a brute. Take a little speed and the wind hits me in the face; I have to cling to the steering wheel in the turns; and the brakes require a heavy foot to be effective

Also from Issue 208

  • 550 Barchetta vs 812 GTS
  • 458 Buyer's Guide
  • Tifosi: Six Pack
  • 312 PB
  • Ferrari wins Le Mans
  • F1: End of the Tunnel?
Connect with Forza:   Facebook icon Twitter icon Instagram icon