Ferrari’s history of dual-purpose sports-racers was well underway by the time the 275 GTB debuted in 1964. This car’s significance went beyond its fully independent suspension and rear transaxle, both firsts for Ferrari, however. The 275 GTB broke ground by adapting racing technology to a road car more seamlessly than before. The Pininfarina-designed 275 GTB was a perfectly domesticated gran turismo, rather than a racer with extra seats and a radio installed. The 275 GTB’s blend of on-track capability and creature comforts helped to light the path for many Ferraris to come.

Following on the heels of the 250 GTO, the 275 GTB faced significant challenges in Ferrari’s most important arena: the track. The Shelby Cobra presented a persistent and significant challenge, and the diminutive Porsche 904 was also a threat. Ferrari needed to match these cars on the track without compromising the 275 GTB’s road manners, which proved to be no small feat.

Most critics would argue that it succeeded. The replacement for the 250 series has become one of the most iconic (and valuable) Ferraris as the years have gone by. The V12-powered 275 GTB offered exotic styling and race-proven performance, and was an icon as much for its owners as it was for its historical significance and performance. Contemporary 275 GTB owners included Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Eric Clapton, Clint Eastwood and Miles Davis.

Continue reading to learn more about the Ferrari 275 GTB.

  • 1964 - 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB
  • Year:
    1964- 1966
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    V12
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    280 @ 7600
  • Displacement:
    3.3 L
  • Top Speed:
    160 mph
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

1964 - 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB High Resolution Exterior
- image 319341

The 275 GTB had a simple, elegant and purposeful look. Pininfarina designed a fastback berlinetta with glass-covered headlights, a dramatically tapered nose and a split front bumper. The tail was dramatically cut off and featured simple round taillights. Gills on the front fenders were functional, cooling the engine compartment.

The body was lightweight, using aluminum for the hood, doors and trunklid.

The body was lightweight, using aluminum for the hood, doors and trunklid. Borrani wire wheels were a popular option. Interestingly, the berlinetta was designed separately from the open-top 275 GTS. The heavier 275 GTS was intended as a street car only, while the 275 GTB was intended to go racing. It was a good thing, too, because the berlinetta had to be homologated for racing to replace the under-produced 250 LM in the FIA’s Group 3 Grand Touring class for 1964. Ferrari built a number of full-aluminum racing specials, including the 275 GTB/C and 275 GTS/4 NART Spyder.

An update in 1965 stretched the nose slightly to improve aerodynamics and keep the front end on the ground at high speed. 1966 and later cars are known as "long nose" cars.

Exterior Dimensions

Length 4,325 MM (170.27 Inches)
Width 1,725 MM (67.91 Inches)
Height 1,245 MM (49.01 Inches)
Wheelbase 2,400 MM (94.48 Inches)
Front track 1,377 MM (54.21 Inches)
Rear track 1,393 MM (54.84 Inches)
Weight 1,100 KG (2,425 LBS)

Interior

The snug, two-place interior was one of the handsomest Ferrari cabins to date. The layout was simple, with leather bucket seats and a driver-centric instrument panel framed by a wood-rimmed steering wheel. A long shifter with a chrome gate lived just to the left of the center console. A radio and glovebox were ahead of the passenger seat.

Drivetrain

1964 - 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB High Resolution Exterior
- image 659971

The original engine was Ferrari’s tried and true 3.3 liter V12 delivering 280 horsepower. This engine could be tuned up to 300 with the addition of a six-carb setup. In 1966, a new four-cam engine was introduced. This engine produced 300 horsepower in standard trim, and models so equipped were renamed 275 GTB/4. The "long nose" GTB was produced with both the two-cam and four-cam engines.

The original engine was Ferrari's tried and true 3.3 liter V12 delivering 280 horsepower

Ferrari’s first transaxle replaced a conventional transmission and offered better weight distribution. The five-speed transaxle was updated in 1966 with a torque tube in place of the driveshaft, to reduce driveline noise inside the cabin.

The fully independent suspension consisted of double wishbones and coil springs at the front and rear. The handling was exemplary, and represented a quantum leap beyond the 250 series. Disc brakes were used at all four corners.

Drivetrain Specifications

Type front, longitudinal 60° V12
Bore/stroke 77 x 58.8 mm
Unitary displacement 273.81 cc
Total displacement 3285.72 cc
Compression ratio 9.2 : 1
Maximum power 280 HP @ 7,600 RPM
Power per liter 85 hp/l
Top speed 258 KM/H (160 MPH)

Prices

Beloved and scarce, the 275 GTB is a blue-chip collectible. Just over 450 275 GTB cars were built, including all of the variants. Factory prices ranged between $8,000 and $15,000, but of course that’s changed a great deal. Auction prices on these cars passed the $2.5-million mark two years ago and haven’t looked back.

Competition

Maserati Ghibli

1964 - 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB
- image 659987

One of Maserati’s most beautiful cars, the elegant Ghibli debuted in 1966 as an answer to the 275 GTB. Though touted as a 2+2, the Ghibli’s rear seats were an afterthought. The 4.7 liter, 310-horsepower V8 was not, of course, and in bored-out Ghibli SS form it topped out at 174 mph.

Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray

1965 Chevrolet Corvette Coupe Exterior
- image 599825

With styling like a concept car come to life and an available 435 horsepower, 427 cubic inch V8, the Sting Ray was an unlikely blue-collar challenger to the European GT cars. The Corvette provided serious performance, however, and enjoyed great success on and off the track for a fraction of the cost of a Ferrari or Maserati.

Read our full review on the Chevrolet Corvette here.

Shelby Cobra 427 S/C

1964 - 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB
- image 659986

Perhaps the exact antithesis of the newly refined 275 GTB was the 427 S/C. Shelby’s automotive sledgehammer was a barely-tamed race car for the street in "semi/competition" form, and exemplified the big engine, small body approach to performance. Ridiculously fast and notoriously hard to drive, the 427 S/C was one of the last true hairy-chested sports racers.

Conclusion

1964 - 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB High Resolution Exterior
- image 659969

Combining Ferrari’s on-track capability with more comfortable road manners was an obvious recipe for success, and the 275 GTB has been a Ferrari icon since day one. Even in the face of more intense competition in the gran turismo class, the 275 GTB’s Italian elegance and intensity enabled it to stand out easily. Gorgeous lines by Pininfarina helped to make it an instant classic.

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    • * Never going to come cheap
    • * Short-nose cars can be unstable at high speed
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