16-17 January 2014
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB by Scaglietti
- Chassis no. 8349
- Engine no. 8349
Sold for $1,815,000
- Matching-numbers example in Briggs Cunningham Blue
- Wonderfully preserved, with excellent patina
- One of 450 long-nose, torque tube examples
- Ferrari Classiche certified
Many tifosi consider Ferrari’s 275 GTB to be one of the last “classic Ferraris,” as it is a car that has remarkable performance, breathtaking good looks, and soul that only 12 cylinders could provide. The 275 was designed and developed under the watch of Enzo Ferrari himself, and it was unveiled to the public for the first time at the 1964 Paris Auto Show. The 275 was clearly an evolution of its immediate predecessors, the 250 SWB and 250 GT/L ‘Lusso,’ making it, by far, the most advanced road going Ferrari ever produced. This would be the first Ferrari with four-wheel independent suspension, and it would also be the first to boast a five-speed transaxle gearbox. Featuring numerous mechanical updates over the already excellent Lusso and a gorgeous body designed by Pininfarina and crafted by Scaglietti, it was clear that the new 275 had just as much soul and character as the vaunted 250 series of cars that preceded it.
As per usual with Ferrari, the 275 GTB was improved over the course of its production run. The first set of improvements included lengthening its nose in order to help reduce front end lift at high speeds, earning this iteration’s nickname of “long nose.” A torque tube was also added at the start of 1966, in order to improve stability and durability of the drivetrain. These improvements made newer 275s even more desirable than the original that wowed the crowds on Ferrari’s stand at Paris in 1964. In addition to making the berlinetta feel more sure-footed at high speeds on the autostrada and increasing its already phenomenal grand touring characteristics, its long nose arguably made Pininfarina’s design even more attractive. Many considered it to be one of the best dual-purpose cars of all time, as it was equally suitable for both road and competition use. In a period road test, legendary Hollywood star and automobile enthusiast Steve McQueen described the smooth action of the five-speed manual transaxle as “like sliding a knife through hot butter.” McQueen, who owned a Lusso at the time, no doubt appreciated the engine’s 280 horsepower and high-revving nature.
According to Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, the 275 GTB on sale today was sold new in its native country of Italy, bearing chassis number 8349 and sporting a Bleu (20-A-185) exterior and a Beige (VM 3309) interior with full leather seats. After production was completed in March 1966, this 275 GTB was purchased, in 1966 or 1967, by a gentleman who resided in Southern California, and the car traded the friendly Italian climate for some warm California sunshine. This owner repainted the car burgundy and kept it until the late 1970s, before it was purchased by Fred Peters and renowned Ferrari restorer Charlie Betz.
In 1983, Peters and Betz embarked upon a restoration of the car, which included the interior being redone with powder blue Bridge of Weir leather and matching carpets and a mechanical rebuild of the engine. Still wearing burgundy, Peters and Betz decided that their Ferrari would be repainted blue, but not a blue from Ferrari’s usual spectrum.
Betz’s own shop was located nearby Briggs Cunningham’s museum. Cunningham frequently drove by Betz’s shop in his own Ferraris, a 275 GTB/4 and a 365 GT 2+2. Both these cars were painted a gorgeous and unique shade of light blue, which was specially commissioned by Cunningham himself. Awestruck by the color on Cunningham’s 275, Peters and Betz matched it and applied it to 8349 from a can of paint that was supplied to Cunningham by Ferrari. After the car’s restoration was completed, Peters and Betz would go on to keep the car for nearly 20 years.
This 275 was purchased by Sidney Allen, of Longview, Texas, in 1995, and he used it regularly, while always servicing it at regular intervals. Lots of mechanical work was done under Allen’s ownership to ensure that this 275 GTB would function as Ferrari intended. This included replacing fuel lines, installing a new clutch, hoses, and tie rod ends, and rebuilding the radiator and carburetors, amongst other items.
In October 2013, noted Ferrari restorer Patrick Ottis was commissioned to inspect the car and assess its current mechanical and cosmetic condition. Ottis found that the car was in largely original condition and that it functioned well following a test drive and compression test. In his concluding written report on the car, Ottis noticed that “this is a lovely correct and patinated 275 GTB,” and it is clear that Peters and Betz’s restoration has largely stood the test of time. Additionally, it still retains its original toll roll, jack, and owner’s manual, and it is still wearing its original wheels. It should also be noted that this 275 GTB is Ferrari Classiche certified, which ensures that it is in line with the Ferrari’s own standards of authenticity and is completely mechanically correct, just as it left the factory. Surely this car would be ready for further use, or it would be an excellent candidate for a restoration, to bring it back to as-new condition.
This 275 GTB is a wonderful example of one of the greatest road going Ferraris. Long nose, torque-tube 275 GTBs are prized by collectors not only for their looks but also for their driving dynamics, and this example will surely not disappoint, whether its new owner intends to drive the car as-is or have it restored to as-new condition. While many believe the 275 series to be better looking than their predecessors, it is certain that they offered a remarkable advance in terms of engineering and performance, and these were traits that were not lost on Ferraris best customers. The 275 GTB offered here has a wonderful amount of charm and character that accompanies its patina, and it has an undeniable amount of soul, the kind that is only present in automobiles adorned with the Cavallino Rampante.
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