Today, when we think about world hypercar hubs, we think of Monaco during Gran Prix week, Monterrey during Car Week, and Dubai on any given Tuesday. But long before Dubai became the metropolis we know today, Middle Eastern royals were tearing up the deserts in their supercars.
One such car is this 1971 Ferrari 365 GTC/4, #14633. Originally delivered to Ayache in Lebanon, it was ordered by a Saudi royal family. It quickly then made its way to a junkyard in Jeddah. From what is known about the car the best guess of what happened is that one of the princes in the family was blasting down an empty road with his motorcade and managed to smash the car into the median. He then exited the vehicle without taking the keys out of the ignition, got in one of the other cars, and simply left 14633 out on the road.
Some time later, a Scottish gentleman working in Saudi Arabia was walking through a junkyard and nearly had a heart attack when he realized he’d stumbled upon a Ferrari. At the time, 14633 was in his original brown over plaid combination, but there was no mistaking the prancing horse on his nose. Over the next two years the gentleman would try over and over again to get the owner of the yard to sell 14633, but in fear of selling a car that was still technically owned by royalty, the yard owner would not budge. Eventually the enthusiast was able to purchase the car and get it to his home. He then faced another challenge: getting the car back into working order.
He ended up contacting Maranello about restoring the car, and even though he couldn’t afford to pay them all at once they agreed that he could send them what he could and they’d do as much work as he had paid for, then wait for the next installment and so on until the car was done. The only condition was that they would only restore him to his original colors rather than swapping to the classic corsa red and tan that he now wears. 14633 left the factory in brown over plaid and that’s how they’d restore him.
Bit by bit 14633 was put back together by the craftsmen that first built him and eventually he was ready to get back out on the road. However, the import paperwork with the Italian government ended up expiring, which forced 14633 to quickly pack up and get out of the country.
14633 ended up hiding out in Paris before making his way to his owner’s permanent home in Scotland. He remained there for several years before making his way into the hands of an Englishman who performed the color change and interior swap. Eventually he made his way to a dealership in Nevada in 2008, where he was purchased by his previous owner.
14633 was dubbed “Prince” by his owner because of his story and became a common sight at both local cars and coffee events as well as concours and Ferrari Club of America gatherings around the Los Angeles area throughout his residency in the Golden State. Prince has since moved on to a private collector and, according to water cooler talk, onto yet another since. While details were scarce to respect the collector’s privacy, it was said that Prince was welcomed into a family of classics of similar pedigree after leaving Los Angeles for the midwest. No matter where he roams, though, this Prince will always be a crown jewel in any collection.
Note: slight edits have been made after a conversation with the former owner from Los Angeles - specifically that the car was ordered by the royal family through Ayache, which was in Lebanon not Switzerland, and that Prince went to Paris after leaving Maranello, not Switzerland.