The GTB might be compared to an attractive woman who always keeps something in reserve

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The Ferrari 275 GTB signaled an important evolution for Ferrari as the company finally adopted a fully independent suspension, which had been tested, developed, and proven in Ferrari’s sports racing cars.

Bodied by Scaglietti and designed by Pininfarina, the 275 GTB echoed the aggressive, purposeful appearance of the 250 Tour de France and GTO with its long hood, covered headlights, fastback roofline, Kamm tail, and vents in both the front wings and roof sail panel. Devoid of unattractive lines, shapes, and proportions, the beautiful coupes are considered by many automotive design critics to be among Pininfarina’s finest grand touring projects.

The engine, driveshaft, and rear-mounted transaxle were combined in one sub-assembly, mounted to the chassis at four points. All of this helped produce a rigid car that handled superbly, with neutral handling and near perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Perhaps one of the best summations of the GTB’s driving manners and performance abilities came from noted French car and motorcycle racing driver, Jean-Pierre Beltoise.

In a road test published in 1967 in L’Auto Journal, the former Formula One driver commented, “I covered in complete safety and the greatest comfort. and while carrying on a normal conversation with my passenger, the 46 miles which separate the Pont d’Orléans from Nemours in a little less than 23 minutes. at an average speed of more than 121 mph-which is remarkable enough without noting that I had to stop for the toll gates.”

The 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Coupe presented here is a very well-preserved, highly original example with only two registered owners since new. It was originally delivered to the United States for William Raymond Johnson, who was stationed at the Naval Research Laboratory headquartered in Washington, D.C., with satellite locations in Maryland. In 1990, the Ferrari was purchased by Sig. Prevosti and shipped back to Italy, where it has remained ever since.

Finished in Giallo Fly, the body of the 1967 GTB/4 Coupe is very straight and the fit of the body panels is excellent. With the exception of very minor surface scratches, the paint is in very nice condition. The chrome is likewise very good and appears to be original. Proper Borrani wire wheels with correct Michelin tires have also been fitted to this much sought-after Ferrari thoroughbred.

The interior of the 275 GTB/4 Coupe is completely original and has never been restored. It is finished in black leather with gray carpets and a beige headliner, all of which remain in very good overall condition. All the instrumentation and accessories are factory original and function properly. Although not concours, the engine bay, with its V12 quad-cam power unit, complete with its race-proven sextet of Weber carburetors, remains original and very tidy, commensurate with the little use this car has seen from new.

SCM Analysis

Detailing

Vehicle:1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Number Produced:280 (some sources say up to 330)
Original List Price:$11,500
Distributor Caps:$450, two required
Chassis Number Location:Right front chassis rail by top of shock mount, plate on right inner fender
Engine Number Location:Right side near starter motor, back of block
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America, PO Box 720597, Atlanta, GA 30358
Website:http://www.FerrariClubofAmerica.com
Investment Grade:A

This 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Coupe sold at RM’s London auction on October 31, 2007, for $1,183,072.

With the majority of cars, it is easy to determine their limit, but not the GTB, which might be compared to an attractive woman who is aware that once she is mastered completely, there is a possibility that her admirer may lose interest, so she always keeps something in reserve.

I wish I had written that prose, but I have to attribute it to Patrick McNally and his 275 GTB road test published in the March 25, 1966, issue of Autosport magazine. The political correctness police wouldn’t let that remark slide into a contemporary publication, but on more than one level, it’s the perfect description of a 275 GTB.

Maybe more than any other Ferrari, there is no ambiguity to a 275 GTB. It is the Russell Crowe of Ferraris-rugged, powerful, and as much as any other production model, it is the icon of Ferrari.

The Paris Auto Show of 1964 saw the introduction of a new series of Ferraris in the 275 GTB and the 275 GTS. The two models shared a common mechanical configuration but were cosmetically and in character as different as night and day. The GTS was a Spyder, or convertible, with an attractive yet somewhat plain body. The 275 GTB was the closed car, or Berlinetta, a small, light coupe with a body reminiscent of a 250 GTO.

One model stands out

There are several 275 GTB models and even a few variations of those models, but one model stands out-the 275 GTB/4. The GTB/4 was the final model of the series. It retained the attributes of the series like the 3.3-liter engine and Ferrari’s first use of a rear transaxle and four-wheel independent suspension on a production car, but it added a few more goodies.

For starters, the new model introduced the first 4-cam, 12-cylinder engine to be fitted in a street car. The engine was not a warmed-up, standard Type 213 3.3-liter engine; it was a Type 226, which was derived from Ferrari’s competition models. The 226 engines snubbed the traditional rocker-and-screw valvetrain in favor of cams mounted directly over the valves with puck-type lash shims. The use of dry sump lubrication with the 226 engine meant cooler oil temperatures, improved bottom end reliability, and better performance. The engine output is claimed to be 20 horsepower more than the 2-cam version.

Cosmetically, there are few differences between the long-nose 2-cam and the 4-cam 275s. Without a look under the hood, here are a couple spotters’ tips. The obvious external difference is a pronounced bulge down the center of the hood of the 4-cam version. Since some 2-cam cars were updated to 4-cam hoods due to crash damage or the owner’s request, a look at the interior is warranted. The 2-cam cars featured a beautiful wood dash, while the 4-cam models, in keeping with the times, used a black vinyl upholstered dash. All other differences are minor.

Best seen in person before bidding

RM’s 275 GTB/4, s/n 10281, sounds like the kind of car that someone should see in person before bidding. It was called a two “registered” owner car, but there was no mention of the tools and owner’s manuals you would normally expect to accompany a two-owner car. The only restoration mentioned was the lack of restoration. The description raises some questions: Is the car a survivor, dripping with patina? Is it an older partial restoration, or a hole in which to throw money? Since auctions aren’t known for being conservative with descriptions, my guess is that it’s a nice car with a few needs that are better ignored than repaired.

With close to 800 275 GTBs produced (2- and 4-cam), they are not rare by Ferrari standards. They are, however, highly desirable with Ferrari collectors, which ensures they will always be valuable. The 275 GTB/4s have proven to be the most sought-after of the production 275s and should always remain in that position. Whether the market’s up or down, there will always be a buyer for a 4-cam. While there are several Daytonas currently in restoration shops being prepared for sale, the number of 4-cams offered for sale remains thin. This car sold at the top of RM’s estimate, the top of SCM’s guide, and at perhaps twice its 2005 value, but I don’t fault the buyer for writing the check. There won’t be many others to choose from and as time goes by the money will just go up. This was the classic case of not paying too much, just buying too soon.

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