In 1962, Ferrari made a huge leap forward by releasing the 250 GTO ; a GT car produced for homologation into FIA’s Group 3 Grand Touring Car class. The 250 GTO went on to win the over 2.0-liter class of the International Championship for GT Manufacturers for three straight years from 1962 through 1964, becoming one of the last front-engined racers to remain competitive at the top level of sports car racing. As the two-seater berlinetta retired, Ferrari built the 275 GTB/C Speciale, a lighter sports car based on the already-iconic 250 GTO.
Designed by Sergio Scaglietti, the same man that penned the 250 GTO, the 275 GTB/C got a 3.3-liter, V-12 engine under its hood, as opposed to the 3.0-liter plant fitted in its predecessor. Output was increased to 320 horsepower, which, coupled with the lowered weight, promised to deliver outstanding performance on the track. Unfortunately, Ferrari failed to homologate the 275 for the GT class, as the car submitted was considerably lighter than the dry weight stated for the road-going version.
Ferrari and FIA would reach a compromise by June 1965, enabling only one of the three 275 GTB/Cs built to compete for the remainder of the season. Although its career didn’t span for more than a few months, the Speciale proved its potency at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, where it finished third and scored the best finish by a front-engined car. Its record still stands to this day. Granted, the 275 GTB/C is not as successful as the 250 GTO or the 250 LM, however, its limited production run and bespoke character places it among the most desirable Ferrari race cars ever built.
Click past the jump to read more about the Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale by Scaglietti.
Developed as a successor to the iconic, front-engined 250 GTO, the 275 GTB/C Speciale shares many styling features with the former. The front end is identical to that of the 250 GTO, except for the two additional oval slots cut in the nose for added ventilation to the brakes. The same goes for the rear fenders, which feature an additional three vents behind the wheels.
An aluminum fuel-filler cap fitted behind the passenger door is another indication the 275 GTB/C Speciale was built with track performance in mind. Specific to the 140-liter fuel tank found in race-ready Ferrari s of the mid-1960s, the fuel cap allowed for faster fueling during pit stops. Unlike its road-going sibling, the Speciale also features a lightweight, aluminum body.
The coupe rode on bespoke Borrani wire wheels wrapped in Dunlop tires and it was the last competition Ferrari to use wire rims. These were dropped after Ferrari discovered that the immense power of the engine coupled with the tremendous grip of the tires could overstress and break the spokes of the wheels. From then on, no competition Ferrari would be fitted with wire wheels again.
Although less spectacular than the 250 GTO, the 275 GTB/C remains one of the most beautiful Ferraris ever created. It’s stunning to look at from any angle and, to many, it represents the perfect embodiment of the 1960s sports car , be it dressed in a road-legal tuxedo or a race-ready suit.
Although the Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale was a track-exclusive machine, its interior retained many of the features seen in the road-legal vehicle. The wood-rimmed, three-spoke steering wheel, the wood dashboard and most of the gauges remained true to the street version. Even the door panels were kept in place, although Ferrari usually opted to replace them with lighter, cut-out pieces.
The seats, on the other hand, were borrowed form the 250 GTO race car. These aluminum, bolstered bucket seats came with race-spec harnesses and were bolted onto the floor. Sure, the cabin looks spartan compared to any modern Ferrari, but one mustn’t forget Maranello was still focusing on racing more than anything else back in the 1960s. Nonetheless, the 275 GTB/C’s interior is still a nice place to spend time, especially when your right foot can send more than 300 ponies to the rear wheels.
All three Works berlinetta competizione racers were fitted with the same engine motivating the Ferrari 250 LM — a 3.3-liter, lightweight-block V-12. Fitted with six Weber 38 DCN carburetors and mated to a five-speed manual transaxle — a first for Ferrari) — the mill cranked out 320 horsepower, which were enough to help a 275 GTB/C Speciale finish third overall at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans. The record has stood ever since as the best Le Mans finish by a front-engined car.
One of the quickest race cars in its hey day, the 275 GTB/C Speciale needed only six seconds to reach 60 mph from a standing start, while top speed was rated at 160 mph.
Suspension and Brakes
The 275 GTB/C Speciale wasn’t just the first Ferrari to feature a transaxle gearbox, it was also the first Prancing Horse fitted with an independent rear suspension. Thus the 275 GTB/C was a major improvement over the outgoing 250-series and marked the beginning of yet another successful era for the Maranello manufacturer in endurance racing. Braking was provided by disc brakes at all four corners, a technology that had been introduced by Jaguar on the Le Mans-winning C-Type in the early 1950s.
RM Auctions hasn’t released an estimate for this car, but as with most rare Ferraris, we expect the 275 GTB/C Speciale to cross the block on August 16th, 2014 in Moterey for more than $20 million. The most expensive Ferrari ever auctioned is a 1963 250 GTO that changed owners for no less than $52 million in 2013. It’s unlikely the 275 GTB/C Speciale will break that record, but expect it to become one of the most expensive Prancing Horses to change hands at auction.
The Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale was developed with the Shelby Daytona Coupe in mind. Also a front-engined coupe, the Daytona Coupe joined endurance racing in 1964. Virtually an aerodynamic, closed cockpit evolution of the Shelby Cobra , the Daytona Coupe was aimed at the Ferrari 250 GTO and competed throughout the 1964 and 1965 racing seasons. Powered by a Ford-sourced, 4.7-liter, V-8 engine rated at nearly 400 horsepower, the Daytona Coupe was capable of speeds over 190 mph, making it slightly faster than the 250 GTO.
The Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale and the Shelby Daytona Coupe met only once, during the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Maranello-built race car won the battle with a third-place finish, while the Shelby took the checkered flag in eighth position. Four more Daytona Coupes failed to finish the event due to various issues. Throughout its two-year career, the Daytona Coupe scored three overall wins, including the 24 Hours of Daytona and 12 Hours of Sebring, six GT class wins, and the 1965 World Sportscar Championship. Additionally, the American coupe set to no less than 23 land speed records at the Bonneville Salt Flats.
Gallery Shelby Daytona Coupe
The 275 GTB/C Speciale comes to prove yet again why Ferrari has a very special place in the hearts of automobile enthusiasts and collectors. Built in only three units, the 275 GTB/C will soon become one of the most expensive Ferrari ever, joining the ranks of the 250 GTO, 250 Testa Rossa , 250 GT California , and 375 Plus. That’s an impressive feat considering Ferrari failed to homologate the 275 GTB/C for a full racing season and even more proof that classic Maranello machines are gaining value regardless of their racing record. If you’re looking for a gorgeous, rare and perfectly restored Ferrari race car, your search has come to an end. All you need now is tens of million of dollars and a whole lot of luck.
- Classic Ferrari heritage
- Limited, three-unit production
- Safe investment
- Awfully expensive
- Unlimited classic and modern options for the price