The Ex – Shell, Donald Campbell CBE, Alistair Walker 1964 Ferrari 330

The Ex – Shell Oil Company, Donald Campbell CBE, Sammy Hagar, Alistair Walker
1964 Ferrari 330 GT

Having enjoyed the success of its 250 range throughout the ‘50s and into the ‘60s, Ferrari introduced the 330 model in 1963. The long standing Enzo Ferrari ethos of core of the car being the engine. Ferrari said “I don’t sell cars, I sell engines”. He continued to be embody this with the 330 indicating the V12 Colombo engine capacity of 4-litres, one  litre larger than the 250s.

The 330 range included the two seat 330 GTC and GTS, along with the four seat ‘2+2’ models of the GT 2+2 and America. Ferrari had first ventured into the market for increased seating in 1960 with the 250 GTE, which proved a success with around 1000 cars being produced. It was the 330 America which took over from the GTE, before being superseded itself with the 330 GT 2+2 which was launched at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1964.

With a body designed by Tom Tjaarda at Pininfarina and executed by the Turinese coach builder in steel, the 330 GT 2+2 sported clean and sleek lines with the distinctive detail of quad headlights. 

The powerful and high torque 4-litre Colombo based V12 remained, transmitting through a four speed gearbox with electronic overdrive to a solid rear axle. The chassis featured an extended wheelbase over the previous America, with Koni adjustable dampers and a dual circuit Dunlop disc brake set up, connected to the road with Borrani wire wheels. 

Nearly 1,100 examples of the 330 GT 2+2 were produced, a successful model for Ferrari with clear DNA apparent from the earlier Colombo V12 sports racing icons from the 250 Testa Rossa through to the 250 GTO. 

This car, 06597, was built at Ferrari in December 1964 in right hand drive and finished in Rosso with Pelle Beige interior. Once completed at Maranello, 06597 was shipped to England where on the 16th December it was road registered CLC 98B.

There were no ordinary intentions for 06597, instead it was supplied direct to the Shell International Petroleum Company Ltd. by Ferrari. The relationship between the two companies dates back to 1924, when Shell supplied a young Enzo Ferrari with lubricants while at Alfa Romeo, and it is one which has yielded great success and continues to this day. 

06597’s task was to complete a marathon 72 hour test, held at high speeds on the MIRA banked test circuit, to demonstrate the quality and superiority of Shell’s Super Motor Oil. At 72 hours, it was three times the length of the Le Mans 24 Hours race, an endurance classic famously dominated by the Scuderia from 1960, a period where Ferrari were in peak form.

Prior to climbing the banking at MIRA, invoices show that 06597 was first fitted with seat belts at Maranello Concessionaires in March 1965, along with receiving service work there in May and July that year, with all work being invoiced to Shell in London.

In the collaborative test by Ferrari and Shell, 06597 was run continuously at MIRA for the aimed 72 hours. Averaging 122.4 mph, 06597 covered 8,821 miles, triple the distance of Ferrari’s record breaking 1964 Le Mans 24 Hours victory with the 275P. Throughout all of this high speed running, 06597 used just 3.67 litres of oil. 

After the completion of the three day effort, 06597 returned to the Maranello Concessionaires workshop where the engine was removed and sent by air to Ferrari. The Ferrari engine shop stripped the engine and carefully examined it with laboratory testing. Wear was found to be negligible, with all parts in prime condition and the whole engine described as being outstandingly clean.

Shell wrote of the 72 hour test in a double page magazine advert which it published in TIME magazine amongst others. The advert told the story of the collaboration with Ferrari, the nature of endurance run, with pictorial steps showing 06597 with its CLC 98B registration, dismantled engine and even noting its engine number. 

Once the engine had been reassembled at Maranello, returned to Maranello Concessionaires in London and refitted , 06597 was in April 1966 sold through the importer to a new owner, himself familiar with tests of high speed, one Donald Campbell CBE. 06597 retained the existing registration of CLC 98B and was delivered to Campbell.

By early August 1966, Campbell was in touch with Maranello Concessionaires, not to thank them for his new Ferrari but instead to raise complaint! Campbell was unsatisfied with the performance and economy of 06597, and suggested that the car be taken to the Ostende/Brussels motorway and test the top speed. Other points of contention were headlight failures with note to the design of the switches, a long brake pedal while on a Swiss pass, a failed door lock and the fact that 06597 was first registered in December 1964 when Campbell had been assured by Maranello Concessionaires that it was a 1965 model.

Colonel Ronnie Hoare, founder of Maranello Concessionaires, wrote back to Campbell apologising for the inconveniences and suggested a mutual meeting with Mike Parkes, Chief Development Engineer and works driver for Ferrari, as he would be in the country for the Guards Trophy at Brands Hatch the following week. 

Ronnie Hoare’s letter was however met on the same day by another letter from Campbell, expressing his further dissatisfaction with the Ferrari. Campbell listed a selection of issues and most amusingly, though probably not to any of the parties involved at the time, he explained how the speedometer must have been replaced with one reading higher than the true figure, giving his speed testing methods and results!

The letter concluded by making it clear that the Ferrari would be returned to the United Kingdom and offered for sale, with Campbell’s lawyers instructed to look to Maranello Concessionaires to cover any loss that may be suffered in the process. 

In response, Major Macleod of Maranello Concessionaires suggested having 06597 returned to the Ferrari factory in order to have the issues rectified there. By the end of September, after some legal correspondence, Campbell and Colonel Hoare had met and come to the agreement that Maranello Concessionaires would handle the sale of 06597 on  Campbell’s behalf.

Campbell wrote to Colonel Hoare again on the 17th October 1966, requesting that the small gold St. Christopher medallion that he had affixed to the dashboard of 06597 be removed and returned to him. Campbell described the St. Christopher medallion as being of considerable sentimental attachment. Within three days the medallion was indeed returned to Campbell, in time to be worn by him as a good luck charm as he piloted Bluebird on Coniston Water in his World Water Speed Record attempt. 

Maranello Concessionaires exhibited 06597 at the London Motor Show in late October 1966 as part of their sales effort,  though it remained unsold by the end of November. 06597 had been sent up to a showroom in Aberdeen in the interim, with the hope of securing a sale there, but after a deal fell through at the last minute, it was returned by transporter to Maranello Concessionaires.

With Campbell at Coniston with Bluebird for his record attempts, correspondence in his absence was often handled by solicitors Victor Mishcon & Co, though he did write to Colonel Hoare personally on the 9th December from Coniston. Having described the challenging weather conditions he was facing in the Lake District, Campbell signed off ‘With warm personal good wishes’ in what would be his final letter to Maranello Concessionaires.

Following the tragedy of the 4th January 1967 when Bluebird crashed having exceeded 300 mph, tragically killing Campbell, Major MacLeod wrote to Mrs. Campbell to express his condolences. 

Shortly afterwards, the Shell International Petroleum Company Ltd. instructed and financed the repainting of 06597 by Maranello Concessionaires to Bluebird Blue in memoriam and tribute of Donald. 

With 06597 available to be bought, Mike Salmon telephoned Mr. Alan M. Rind of London about the car, and Mr. Rind made the trip down to Egham in order to buy the Ferrari from Colonel Hoare. 06597 had recently been serviced by senior mechanical engineer Ivan Bishop who informed Mr. Rind that it was the fastest 330 on the road having been fitted with high lift cams and stronger valve springs.

Maranello Concessionaires secured the sale of 06597 to Mr. Rind in April 1967 for £3,350 and the car was described as ‘One used Ferrari 330 GT Pininfarina 2+2, finished in Blue with Beige upholstery’, with the registration CLC 98B. 

Mr. Rind retained 06597 for just over two years, using it frequently with trips from London to Monte Carlo and up to  Scotland. He recalled how it was fast and comfortable, with the mileage by March 1969 being 23,040 miles, up from 9,085 miles in August 1967. During his ownership, service work on 06597 continued to be attended to by Maranello Concessionaires at regular mileage intervals. 

With the availability of a very rare right hand drive 365 California 2+2 approaching at Maranello Concessionaires, Mr. Rind traded 06597 towards it with the British Ferrari importer. In July 1969, 06597 was bought by Mr. T. Loke of  Cambridge for £2,650. The purchase invoice from Maranello Concessionaires described 06597 as still being blue with beige upholstery, and retaining the CLC 98B registration. Mr. Loke continued to have Maranello Concessionaires maintain 06597 through to 1971, by which point it had accumulated a total of 41,757 miles. 

Subsequently, 06597 travelled to the USA, where in 1975 it came to be owned by rock star Sammy Hagar in California. Best known for being the front man of Van Halen, Hagar had found success with the band Montrose from 1973. Now a collector of various Ferrari models, 06597 was Hagar’s first example of the marque and seems to have whetted his appetite.

Hagar sold 06597 on, and in 1985 it was owned by Gordon John Jacopi in San Rafael, California. Shortly afterwards, 06597 was with dealers Fantasy Junction in Beverly Hills for sale.

In September 1987, 06597 was bought by Alistair Walker of Berkshire in England. Walker was no stranger to a fast Ferrari having finished 5th overall in the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours in a Ferrari 512S for Ecurie Francorchamps, having formerly owned and raced a Ferrari 350 P4 Can-Am. He was one of the most under-rated drivers of his generation, taking success on an international stage as a privateer. Walker had been rather taken by his then brother-in-law Robs Lamplough’s quad-cam, 4.0-litre 1957 Ferrari 335S, a car recently crowned as winner of the coveted Peninsula Classics ‘Best of the Best’ award.

With the idea to convert the 4.0-litre V12 powered 330 GT 2+2 to Testa Rossa barchetta configuration, Walker bought five examples of the 330 GT 2+2, of which 06597 was the final car and to be his own. Together with ‘60s Ford GT40, Shelby American, Alan Mann Racing and Holman & Moody engineer Jim Rose, Walker stripped and restored the 330 GT 2+2s before having lightweight aluminium barchetta bodies constructed. The completed cars were a success, with the most well known being that of former Formula 1 driver Innes Ireland. 

The undertaking of a project leads to improvements and Walker’s own car, 06597, benefitted from this as the final car of the five to be done. Using the 335S as a shape guide, the body on 06597 was constructed by Lawrence Kett of G&A Fabrications and is of a better and much prettier form than those that went before it. 

The original and matching numbers engine was rebuilt by Stuart Robinson, formerly of Bob Houghton Ferrari, adapted to run with six dual choke Weber downdraught carburettors by Nick Prowse and prepared with red cam covers in true Testa Rossa form. An important and often missed detail is that 06597 is right hand drive, just as the Works Ferrari barchetta of the fifties often were and of course the preference for British roads. 

Once completed, 06597 was seldom used by Walker. On an outing to Silverstone shortly after the completion of the rebuild, one well known driver of historic racing cars remarked how he remembered driving that car several years earlier, mistaken and unaware of the 330 origins!

In 2019, we undertook a gentle recommissioning of 06597 on behalf of Walker to bring it back to a readily useable condition. The fluids were all drained, flushed and replaced, while the braking system was rebuilt with the Dunlop callipers being fully refurbished. 06597 was MOT’d and the registration completed with the DVLA. 

With a distinguished and highly interesting history, 06597 was never destined to be a regular 330 GT 2+2. Having been the property of household names in oil, land and water speed records, rock music and by a period Ferrari racing driver for 34 years, 06597 remains a matching numbers Ferrari with the lightweight and iconic lines of a Testa Rossa. 

Now awaiting its next custodian, 06597 is a thrilling drive thanks to the torquey and powerful 4-litre V12 engine. Whether on the roads of the United Kingdom, Europe or further afield, the Ferrari offers a rewarding and emotive experience in emulating the sports-car greats of the late 1950s.