Brian Henniker, copyright and courtesy of Gooding & Company

Unveiled at the Paris Salon in October 1966, the 275 GTB/4 was a groundbreaking Ferrari. As Maranello’s first 4-cam road car, the GTB/4 paid homage to the dominant sports prototypes of the era and pointed to the future of Ferrari design.

The most noteworthy roadgoing 275s are the aluminum-bodied GTB/4 berlinettas, of which just 16 were built. Like their 2-cam predecessors, which were produced in far greater numbers, the alloy-bodied GTB/4s were built to order for a variety of clients throughout the model’s brief production run.

The 275 GTB/4 presented here, chassis 10025, is the ninth of the 16 aluminum-bodied cars produced. The only deviations from the original specification are the external fuel filler, added by Tom Meade in the early 1970s, and the present color combination.

Together with the glamorous NART Spyders and competition GTB/Cs, the 16 alloy-bodied GTB/4s are among the most rare, sought-after, and valuable of all 275 GTB Ferraris. Not only are these cars far more exclusive than the 95 alloy-bodied 2-cams, but they also represent the culmination of 275 GTB production, with four camshafts, six carburetors, dry-sump lubrication, and the improved torque-tube driveshaft as standard equipment. Historically, alloy-bodied GTB/4s have always commanded a substantial premium over a comparable steel-bodied car.

SCM Analysis

Detailing

Vehicle:1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Alloy
Years Produced:1966–68
Number Produced:330 (approximately 16 with alloy bodywork)
SCM Valuation:$3,250,000
Tune Up Cost:$3,500
Chassis Number Location:Data plate on inner fender panel
Engine Number Location:Passenger’s side of engine block near bellhousing
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America
Website:http://www.ferrariclubofamerica.org
Alternatives:1964–65 Alfa Romeo TZ-2, 1959–63 Aston Martin DB4GT, 1961–62 Jaguar E-type Lightweight
Investment Grade:A

This car, Lot 42, sold for $3,586,000, including buyer’s premium, at Gooding & Company’s Geared Online May auction on May 7, 2021.

Amelia Island Concours Chairman Bill Warner annually assembles a mix of past, present and future cars that is the envy of the car-show world. Year after year, his connections and graciousness bring out cars not seen anywhere else. This year’s concours saw a special class of Ferrari 275 GTBs that demonstrated this model’s range by featuring some of the best examples in existence.

Available for study were short- and long-nose examples, along with 3-carb and 6-carb setups on 2-cam and 4-cam engines. There were examples of steel and alloy bodywork, and even the 275 GTB/4 S NART Spyder that starred in “The Thomas Crown Affair” was on the field.

The pièce de résistance was the Le Mans class-winning 275 GTB/C Berlinetta Speciale (chassis 06885), one of two of these ultra-rare and highly valuable Speciale variants on display. Chassis 06885 was once a regular on the show circuit, but unfortunately, the bright yellow race car has been retired after its longtime owner died a couple of years ago. It is a stunning car that many consider the most valuable car on the planet. Hopefully, when it changes hands, the new owner will continue to share it.

So you think you know 275s

The 275 GTB spotters in attendance were treated to real examples to test their knowledge, as the words “never” and “always” do not apply to Ferraris. Individual examples may vary.

Pop quiz: Outside trunk hinges — long nose or short nose? These are a long-nose feature; the inside hinges on the short-nose cars took up too much space in the trunk.

A bulge in the hood — 2-cam, or 4-cam? A hood bulge is exclusive to 4-cam models, as it is needed to clear the carburetors.

Can you identify an alloy body without a magnet? Alloy 275s (and fiberglass 308s) have an eight-inch-wide crescent-shaped scribe at the top of the A-pillar.

A leatherette dash and an 8,000-rpm tachometer are 4-cam tells. A 2-cam will have a wood dash and a 7,500-rpm tach. If there is a dry-sump tank in the engine compartment, there should be a 4-cam engine hooked up to it.

Is 2 greater than 4?

Dyke Ridgley is an unsung hero of Ferrari history. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of Enzo-era Ferraris acquired from research and hands-on experience. Ridgley wrote a feature article on the 275 GTB/4 for a 1986 issue of Cavallino magazine. While it is generally assumed that the 4-cam 275 is superior to the 2-cam, Ridgley’s analysis favors the 2-cam, but his opinion leans towards the 4-cam.

Ridgley’s research showed that Ferrari marketed the 4-cam as having 300 hp. Its confidential dyno figures showed the real number was more like 260 to 265 hp at 8,000 rpm. A 6-carb, 2-cam, 275 engine made 265 to 275 horsepower at 7,500 rpm. A steel-body 275 GTB/4 weighs in at 2,865 pounds while a steel-body 2-cam weighs 2,705 pounds. Alloy bodywork drops a 2-cam’s curb weight to 2,625 pounds. On paper, the 2-cam has the advantage but other factors even the field.

Exclusive to a fault

Alloy 275 GTB/4s are Ferrari unicorns, with only 16 or so built. Most are tucked away in collections, seldom seeing the light of day. They are also an enigma in that they are special cars, but their special attributes do not dramatically enhance their desirability.

The aluminum body only reduces the weight of the car by about the weight of a small passenger. Meanwhile, the thin-gauge bodywork is susceptible to damage, so the weight savings are hardly an asset.

These alloy 275 4-cams are magical cars to drive, but their rarity and value ensure few miles will ever be added. Additionally, while an alloy 4-cam may wow a concours selection committee, few people on the field will appreciate the significance of the car without reading its placard.

Discount price, delayed gratification

Gooding’s estimate for 10025 was $3,750,000 to $4,500,000. That the car’s sale price was a bit less wasn’t surprising, as 10025 has a bit of a checkered history.

About 10 years after being built, 10025 was reported to be partially disassembled and fitted with a non-matching-numbers engine. Ferrari historian Marcel Massini confirmed that the original engine has always stayed with the car, and it is now installed.

In the late 1970s, 10025 was again reported as disassembled, this time pending repair after an accident. Since then, the car has been restored twice, has never been judged, and is void of a Ferrari Classiche certification which would validate the previous repairs.

Opportunity seldom knocks

You can always get more money, but you cannot always buy an alloy 275 GTB/4. It has been over two decades since the last alloy 275 GTB/4 was auctioned. It could easily be another two decades before another one is available. I am told the new owner is sending the car to Carrozzeria Brandoli in Italy for a thorough restoration. Brandoli has roots that go back to the early days of Scaglietti. Such a restoration backed by a Ferrari Classiche certification should erase any smudges on the car’s history.

For this car’s buyer, it will be another year and over a quarter-million dollars before this one will be in his garage. The time and money will be well spent, as the car should then be one of the most desirable cars in the Ferrari world. ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Gooding & Company.)

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