By 1963, it had become increasingly apparent to Ferrari’s engineering team that the long-running and highly successful 250 GT series of road cars had reached the end of its development potential. Despite the fact that Ferrari was drifting towards a more luxurious base V-12 car, the company still wanted to maintain its fine tradition of dual-purpose sports/racing cars, which had cemented its considerable sporting reputation. Renowned British racer Michael Parkes, at the time a Maranello works driver, participated in considerable testing and proved to develop a replacement model for the 250 GT platform, one that ultimately drew considerably from the 250 GTO, with its long front hood and short rear deck.
The resulting 275 GTB, or Gran Turismo Berlinetta, debuted to great acclaim at the 1964 Paris Motor Show, appearing in tandem with a companion open-top spider version. While the elegant 275 GTS was constructed by Pininfarina, with a design brief stressing comfort and luxury, the 275 GTB retained the more sporting characteristics of prior Ferrari sports/racers and was built by Scaglietti.
Technically, the 275 featured the final development of the classic single-overhead cam Colombo short-block design, which was now enlarged to displace 3,286 cc. Optimal weight balance was achieved by mounting the gearbox directly to the rear axle, a rear transaxle design that would become a standard practice in many ensuing Ferrari road cars. The 275 is also notable as the first Ferrari for the street to feature an independent suspension on all four wheels, an innovation that eventually took hold across automobile manufacturing.
A year after the 275 GTB’s 1964 debut, a second series was unveiled that featured a longer nose, a modification intended to aid aerodynamic downforce at high speeds.
The example offered here, chassis no. 08729, was originally delivered on 11 July 1966 to Alberto Morandi of Cremona, Italy, finished in Argento Metallizzato with Nero leather upholstery, and to European specifications with left-hand drive and metric instruments. The car is one of 88 275 GTBs built in long-nose form with steel bodywork and three carburettors, and as a late-production model also features the desirable torque-tube driveshaft.
Subsequent Italian owners of the 275 GTB included Pierino Reali and Angelo Restelli, before the car was exported to the U.S. in 1974. It spent most of its life thereafter in North America with a known succession of enthusiast owners, including H. Judson Holcomb, who exhibited it at the Ferrari Club of America Annual Meeting in May 1980; Bill Tracy of Virginia; and Fred Redell Jr, who displayed the car at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in March 1985. Later it was acquired in 1997 by the late Donald Mann of Franklin, Tennessee, a well-known and beloved enthusiast respected for his affable nature and the way he truly used his automobiles. Mr Mann was proud of the 275 GTB being a fit road automobile which was usually piloted to Ferrari Club events in far-flung locales under its own power.
The car was acquired by its next owner, Issam Karanouh, in 2005 and submitted to Bob Smith Coachworks, a well-known marque specialist, for a high-quality cosmetic restoration. As part of this work the car was refinished in its current Blu Metallizato over light tan leather; much of the trim was refinished; all the weather stripping, hoses, belts and fuel lines were replaced; and the brakes and transaxle were rebuilt. Mr Karanouh displayed the completed 275 GTB at The Quail in 2008, receiving the Pacific Tweed Courtier Eye for Style Award.
Well suited for both continued concours appearances and road rallies, the 275 GTB presents in absolutely beautiful condition throughout, both cosmetically and mechanically, and is offered with its set of owner’s handbooks, tool set and Borrani wire wheels, as well as a copy of its Ferrari build sheets. It is a spectacular automobile with a profile as dramatic as its performance, sure to win the heart of a new caretaker, especially being a later, torque-tube model.