A 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Is Not Your Typical Dealership Trade-In
In 1987, when it took part in the Ferrari 40th anniversary gathering in Imola, the gorgeous example pictured here was the only 275 GTB in black. No doubt then, that among the total of 205 cars that were built, a long nose version in this color is very rare. “The previous owner bought it new, choosing a combination of black paint and the interior with grey moquette,” the current owner explains.
Actually, the dark seductive shade on the stunning Pininfarina-penned design was not the only reason this example was one of the main attractions at that special birthday event. The owner, a supercar dealer, decided that another piece of automotive history had to be shown at the Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari. That car was a 1950 Ferrari 166 Inter Touring that he quickly loaded onto a trailer behind the 1966 275 GTB, just outside the track, and then paraded the two classics in together. It’s no surprise that kind of amazing moving exhibition ended up published in a commemorative book of that day, and in several sports newspapers that were on hand to cover the celebrations.
Before getting back to the GTB, it’s worth briefly telling the story of how the owner came to hear about that incredible 166 Inter as a barn find. The 166 was owned by the Sicilian Baron Boccadifuoco, who rang the car’s current owner one day, who was unknown to him at the time, saying only that “I have a Ferrari, come over and get it if you want!” It had been slumbering in a garage for the better part of 15 years, so the nobleman suggested that the dealer should take a fresh battery with him if he intended to start it up.
The future owner of that splendid jewel removed some of the dust from the bodywork and slowly drove it back home on the new battery. “My wife was following me from Siracusa to Tuscany with our Volkswagen Golf!” he explains. That was in 1981. The 166 Inter was then passed to the Ferrari Museum two years after the 40th anniversary celebrations in 1989, when the owner exchanged it for the then-new F40.
Talking about exchanges, that’s exactly how this left-hand drive 275 GTB entered his stable in 1974. Its first owner was a well known forwarding agent, and one day his son appeared in the office of the Tuscan dealer (the current owner), offering the big black V12 Berlinetta in exchange for a 1950 Bentley MK6 in the same color. The dealer, realizing things were massively in his favor on this one, obviously accepted the trade without hesitation. When the son who’d offered the Ferrari for the Bentley returned home, his father immediately sent him back to try to get the 275 GTB back. Unfortunately for him, though, the deal was done.
The new owner was feeling extremely happy, having acquired one of the most beautiful road-going Ferrari GT cars of all time. However, to address the disparity in the original deal, he consigned to the former owner of this black pearl a Series 1 365 GTB/4 Daytona Plexiglass. He later received a Lancia Flaminia in addition, that had always been owned by the forwarding agent’s family, to complete the exchange and make all things right in the world.
“The only two things that I renewed on the 275 GTB were the moquette, that was starting to flake apart, and the wheels,” the current owner tells me. He substituted the Borrani alloy wheels with knock-on centre hubs for wire wheels of the same make. Otherwise, the example was very well preserved, and he says he’s just being doing the regular maintenance in the intervening years since he got it. “If the weather is good, I start the engine up and drive, the car never needs any service or work.” Nevertheless, he basically acquired it for the pleasure of having it and admiring it: only 45,000km where accumulated when he got the car, and only 60,000 are shown on the odometer today. Competitions? “Not at all. I never have the courage to race this car!”
“One day along the coast I was side by side with a De Tomaso Pantera and I heard the burbling of its engine. We were stopped at the traffic light together and I was enjoying the sensation of sitting behind that 3.3 liter V12 of the 275 GTB as usual, with its fantastic sound. Every time I recall it I get goose bumps!” As the light turned green, they launched together in an amazing crescendo of exhaust and intake noise and protesting rubber, but then, after first and second gear, the Pantera was gone from the rearview.
“I looked in the mirror and just saw a lot of white smoke and the car stopped on the side of the road…” he tells me. “Because its driver was following my engine note, which tops out at 7500-8000rpm, while the Pantera redlines closer to 5500, so he had seriously over-revved his engine in all the excitement. This is the only “race” I’ve done with my Ferrari 275 GTB, and it was worthwhile I think, because we became friends after that,” he recalls fondly, with a slight but telling smile.