1964 Ferrari 275 GTB Prototype
Written In Loving Memory of Jess G. Pourret. Thank you Jess for everything & Forza Ferrari.
So what is all the big fuss over the Ferrari 275 GTB series? Why is it that its value has galloped during the last several years, earning its place among the leading “must-have” Ferraris by collectors for quite some time now?
While there are so many reasons as to why a person would covet over a particular car, for the Ferrari 275 GTB, it arguably could be one of several things. Perhaps following the enormous successes during much of the Fifties and into the early Sixties of the 250 series models on both the road and the track (with the likes of the 250 GT “Tour de France”, the 250 GT California Spyder, the 250 GT SWB, the 250 GT “Lusso” and the celebrated 250 GTO—just to name a few), the 275 models simply represented the next successful chapter for the Cavallino Rampante. The new enlarged 275 cc. per cylinder (hence the new model designation), 3.3 Litre V12 became the evolutionary step up from the 250 series powerplant and followed Enzo Ferrari’s idiom in building a bigger, more powerful and even better performing engine than before.
Next (and you should see later why) the 275 GTB can be defined as the very first production Ferrari to truly incorporate their “racing technology” from the track in period onto their road car. Put it another way just as an illustration, had the Ferrari 250 GTO been conceived as a road car rather than as a raw and pure racer, with the engine, chassis, suspension, gearbox and interior appointments fully developed and refined—then the 275 is likely to be what the GTO would have become for true street use. As it turned out, the 275 models also happened to be among the final Pininfarina-penned Ferrari V12s to be assembled by Scaglietti. To many purists for classic Ferraris, that also represented the end of an era for “bespoke” Ferrari GTs that was hand-crafted by the legendary artisan before the so-called “mass production” process subsequently took over.
Given the above explanations and along with many other facets that constitute the collectability value of any classic (such as its rarity, colourful history—and with a world rallying entry to boot), then this 1964 Giallo Prototipo Ferrari 275 GTB Prototype in Monte Carlo Rally trim, on sale by Gooding & Co. at their Scottsdale auction during the 18th and 19th of January at Scottsdale Fashion Square, would certainly hit all the right marks.
With an estimate by Gooding & Co. of anywhere from US$6 to 8 million at the auction, Chassis number 06003 can claim to be the genesis of the 275 GTB series, that eventually spawned into the Berlinetta versions of the 275 GTB/2, the 275 GTB/4, not to mention the 275 GTB/C race cars and the final 275 GTS NART Spider of which only ten were made before production ended in 1967. This prototype had the rare and very desirable lightweight all-alloy body and was mainly known as the publicity photo car when the model was officially introduced.
#06003 began life with the initial short nose styling by Pininfarina. It was then utilised as a test car by the Ferrari management such as Eugenio Dragoni and Ugo Gobbato to install new features that would improve the model’s performance. Visibly of course is the application of the lower and longer nose—though not specifically for cosmetic reasons. For aside from accommodating a lower and further back placement of the new Tipo 213 engine, the redesign was made to dissipate the front-end lifts experienced from the wider short nose during straight line speed. This eventually became standard styling later in its production right until to the end of it.
As mentioned earlier, the men at Maranello also applied their racing know-how from previous years onto the prototype. These included revamping the car with rear transaxle and independent rear suspension as well as replacing Borrani wires with cast alloy wheels—a production Ferrari’s first.
Since these were still the early days of the 275, these features had to be tested out to determine its overall performance—and ideally in perhaps the most adverse condition they could think of. So by early 1966, this prototype was subsequently entered in the 35th edition of Monte Carlo Rally. Racing as a semi-works entry, the prototype was equipped accordingly to the task such as additional driving lights, new windshield, modified hood and triple wipers (with an extra one set on center top of the windshield). In the hands of noted Italian rally ace Giorgio Pianta (and with then Ferrari test driver Roberto Lippi recruited as co-driver and navigator), it must have been quite a sight to witness a full-blooded Ferrari gran turismo slipping and sliding during the stages on the snow-covered French Alps.
The prototipo went through a series of ownerships, primarily residing in Italy for the first decade of its life after its duty as the development car came to an end. It then went stateside for the first time in 1977, became part of Swede Hans Thulin’s collection afterward before being sold to a number of collectors again within the United States. #06003 has been away from public viewing for the last 25 years so it is hoped that for an example with such a historic significance, the next owner would consider preparing it for appearances around the world that enthusiasts would enjoy and admire.
Thanks to this very first 275 GTB, what Ferrari delivered in 1964 was the last of the Scaglietti hand-built Ferraris with a more potent engine, new racing-derived features to improve its handling and performance further from the already accomplished 250 series that it had replaced and all beautifully packaged unforgettably by Pininfarina.
So what is all the fuss about the Ferrari 275 GTB? Well, now you know.
All Photos Courtesy Of Gooding & Company/Brian Henniker