1966 Ferrari 275 GTB

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It was the Paris Salon of 1964 that Ferrari chose to launch his new Berlinetta Coupe, the 275 GTB. It was an evolutionary design from the preceding Coupe’s but considerably more sporting than the 250 GT ‘Lusso’ which it replaced.

The recent developments of the Competition 275P and 250M were reflected in numerous areas of the GTB. The engine officially designated Type 213 was the latest development of the Colombo V12 and has a displacement of 3,285.7 cc providing 275 cc per cylinder. The most important innovations on this new car were to be found in the chassis and gearbox. Independent rear suspension appeared for the first time on a touring Ferrari, a direct development from the previous two years Competition cars. A new five-speed rear-mounted gearbox provided better weight distribution.

The Pininfarina designed but Scaglietti built coachwork was very reminiscent of the 250 GTO .64 with long plunging bonnet line, small air intake and cowled headlamps. The fastback rear section was similar to the 250 Lusso, providing an overall effect of originality that has provided the 275 GTB with such charisma. The traditional Borrani wire wheels were replaced by 14-inch Campagnolo cast alloy ones that were copied form the 1963 Type 156 Formula 1 car, although wire wheels were available as an option.

The press applauded this new Super Car and one well-known reporter summarized his road test by saying, “the 275 GTB is superlatively vigorous, very agile and very fast. Its comfort, quality of finish and the original lines of its bodywork justify its high price, for it is an exceptional motorcar. It is a thoroughbred with luxury devoid of excess and a fiery temperament.”

Its subsequent competition successes more than justify these remarks, particularly with the 1965 LeMans result when 275-engined Ferraris filled the top three positions with the GTB coming 3rd and winning the GT Class. In early 1966 a ‘Series 2’ version was introduced which had a longer and sleeker nose cone, larger back window and which subsequently became the GTB/4, the first four camshaft engined touring Ferrari.

The silver Series I 275 GTB pictured here is believed to be the last chassis built and certainly by its build date would have coincided with the Series 2 production. It was delivered to its first American owner in mid-1966 with the optional Borrani wire wheels and has been meticulously maintained ever since. Except for an external repaint some years ago due to color fading, this car is totally original and has only covered 30,000 miles, and has probably never been driven in the rain. The car drives and feels like new and was imported by its present Swiss owner in 1988. This is one of the most original 275 GTBs in the world.

“The heart of a lion beneath the shape of the wind” was how stylist Pininfarina described the 275 GTB at the 1992 Concours Italiana. One of the visually most-potent cars ever built, the 275s financial track record has been a typical high-profile Ferrari one, skyrocketing to great heights only to plummet to the depths.

{analysis} In May 1991, when Christie’s offered this car at the Monaco auction, a bid of $436,075 was turned down by a, in retrospect, not very prescient seller.

This ‘most common’ GTB, with its steel body, short nose, SOHC and 3 carb setup, would have a retail market value of $150,000 – $175,000. A 275 GTB/2 makes an ideal ‘entry-level’ Ferrari for the beginning yet serious collector of means. – ED
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