Although about 330 275 GTB/4 coupes were built in the 1966-67 period, only 16 of these were bodied in aluminum panels, according to Cavallino Magazine's 1986 "The Four Cam" feature article by Dyke Ridgley. In reality this means that only 5% of the 330 GTB/4s produced were factory constructed in aluminum, making these an exceedingly rare variant. Chassis 09501 is the third of the 16 built. Recently fully detailed by the owner, 09501 comes with its build sheet, complete factory tool roll, and is fitted with freshly rebuilt Borranis and correct new knockoffs. It is totally ready for any driving adventure, especially those that encourage full use of this car's 7,000 rpm redline. The steel-bodied 275 GTB/4, s/n 09337, has been treated to much specialist work in its lifetime, all with the aim of concours perfection. In addition to Platinum Awards at the 2004, 2005, and 2006 Cavallino Classic, in August 2009, the car was invited to The Quail for a special FCA 30-car display of "The Great Ferraris." Given its previous performance in judged competition and the recent work carried out, this four-cam is undoubtedly a very high-point example and likely even a 100-point car. Simply put, it may very well be the finest and most correct four-cam on the planet.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4s
Number Produced:330 (16 alloy body)
Original List Price:$11,500
Distributor Caps:$450, two required
Chassis Number Location:Right front chassis rail by shock mount; data plate on right inner fender
Engine Number Location:Right rear above motor mount
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America PO Box 720597 Atlanta, GA 30358
Alternatives:1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Alloy; 1969 Aston Martin DB6 Mk II Volante; 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 roadster
Investment Grade:A

These cars sold at RM’s Automobiles of Arizona Auction in Amelia Island, Florida, on March 13, 2010. Including buyer’s premium, the alloy car, s/n 09501, made $1,265,000; the steel car, s/n 09337, made $1,650,000.

This is the auction story of two Ferrari 275 GTB/4s; the first was an alloy-body car, one of only 16 built and the Holy Grail of street 275 4-cams. The other was a garden-variety standard steel version, a legitimate object of lust, but not top dog of the pair.

Amelia is the first big show of the year, and everyone who’s anyone in the concours world wants to be there. The crowd has the net worth of a small country and little else to do until Sunday’s show, so Saturday afternoon was spent making RM’s auction a blockbuster. These two 4-cam Ferraris provided an added thrill.

The 275 GTB, a primer

The 275 GTB was introduced in 1964 as the successor to Ferrari’s 250 GT SWB berlinetta. The nomenclature was derived from the single-cylinder displacement of roughly 275 cc. The 275 signaled an important evolution for Ferrari, with a fully independent suspension and rear transaxle, and the 275 GTB echoed the aggressiveness of the 250 Tour de France and GTO with its long hood, covered headlights, fastback roofline, and Kamm tail. Devoid of unattractive lines, the beautiful coupes are considered to be among Pininfarina’s finest grand touring projects.

In 1966, Ferrari introduced the 275 GTB/4, the third evolution of the 275 GTB. The model designation reflected four overhead camshafts now fitted to the V12 engine. A dry-sump oiling system was added, as well as an impressive set of six twin-choke Weber carburetors. The formidable powerplant was capable of propelling the 275 GTB/4 to a top speed of 160 mph. Competition power levels had been made available right off the showroom floor. Pininfarina’s body, which had been enhanced during the 275 GTB’s production with a longer nose to reduce high-speed front-end lift, was modified by a small hood bulge to clear the carburetors.

The alloy variant of the 275 was lighter than the steel cars and allowed for better handling, faster acceleration, and a higher top speed. They are exceedingly rare and seldom come to market.

Chassis number 09337, a standard steel 4-cam

Chassis number 09337 was finished in Giallo Fly (Fly Yellow) and equipped with power windows with door-mounted switches. It was first restored in 1991, after which it started appearing at major Ferrari shows. After changing hands in 2003, it was sent to noted Ferrari restorer Greg Jones for another restoration. It scored Platinum and won a “Coppa Bella Macchina” award at the 2004 and 2005 Cavallino Classic.

In 2005, it was once again sent back to Greg Jones with the instructions the owner wanted “a 100-point car.” The car went back to the 2006 Cavallino Classic, where it missed the 100 by just one point, but it won another Platinum Award. Later that year it scored yet another Platinum Award at the FCA National Meeting. In 2006, a new owner corrected several of the nearly imperceptible flaws in an attempt to reach the elusive 100 points. It has not been judged since.

Chassis number 09501, an alloy-bodied example

Chassis number 09501 was delivered to Luigi Chinetti just in time to be displayed at the 1967 New York Auto Show. Kirk F. White, auto dealer and race car sponsor, then used it as his daily driver from 1968 to 1972. He recalled, “A great car and I have very fond memories of it-it was an absolute rocket ship and reliable as an anvil, and I drove it everywhere and almost everyday for about four years.”

A Miami attorney acquired 09501 in late 1972, and in 1976 he hit a guardrail, denting the left rear quarter panel and trunk area, and bending the rear wheel and suspension arm. The present owner, a noted Ferrari restorer and enthusiast, purchased 09501 from the insurance firm. He performed a total restoration and debuted the GTB/4 at the Orlando area Concorso Portofino, winning a 1st place trophy. Other prizes accumulated from shows at Amelia Island, Marco Island, Cavallino Classic, Sebring, and Washington, DC. In all instances, the car was driven to and from these events. Road rallies and substantial road trips were also undertaken-including a journey from Florida to RM’s 25th Anniversary Celebration in Ontario, Canada, with a side trip to Seattle before returning to Florida!

Going into the auction, the alloy car’s value was estimated at $1,350,000 to $1,750,000. The steel car’s value trailed by around a half-million dollars with an estimate of $950,000 to $1,200,000. The alloy car was scheduled to run first, and many believed it would set a high mark for the steel car to follow. The bidding went up fast then hit a wall at $1,265,000, and 09501 was hammered sold. When the steel car rolled onto the stage, it appeared it would be a $900k sale. In no time, $900k was history and so was $1,200,000. At $1,500,000, the room was buzzing as hands kept waving. It took a determined $1,650,000 to take the car home, an astounding number in today’s market.

How it happened

Monday morning quarterbacking gives some clues to what happened. In 1976, it didn’t take much damage to total out a nine-year-old car. Perhaps with a little nudging from the attorney owner, the insurance company totaled the alloy car after its accident. Contemporary Ferrari historians called it “badly crashed and written off,” which was accurate at the time but would hardly be the case today. While the damage assessment is totally inaccurate, the car will always be known as the one that was “written off,” a knock against its value. Additionally, it has non-standard a/c, a non-standard but possibly correct rear bumper, and a reclining passenger’s seatback that was allegedly original but lacks documentation. While spruced up for the sale, a lot of time and miles have passed since its restoration. The owner is my hero for actually using the car, but major time and money will be needed to make any improvements.

The steel car was everything the alloy car wasn’t. It was restored impeccably. Its provenance was well documented, with no warts to spook a buyer, and most appealing, it is ready to use today. It could go directly from the owner’s garage to a concours or an international rally.

Interestingly, both buyers got what they wanted. I’m told the alloy car’s buyer wanted a car for driving events, something he could drive hard without worrying about mechanical problems or rock chips. He’s reportedly already bought a set of more robust alloy wheels, new tires, and signed up for two rallies. And I’m told the steel car’s buyer didn’t want to spend years making a great car-he wanted to buy one. He acknowledged that he may have set a new high, but he got what he wanted without waiting.

You can always make more money but you can’t make more time. The seller of the alloy car went home from the auction slightly disappointed, but the steel-bodied seller and both buyers went home ecstatic. Overall, I’d call this an entertaining and educational view of the market, and the individuals who make it up, at work.

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