An underrated classic from Maranello
As a new generation of buyers progresses from modern supercars and eyes the attractions – physical and fiscal – of ’50s and ’60s Ferraris, the hunt goes on for those one might still consider affordable. All things are relative, of course, given that the 275 GTS you see here is £1.75m. Consider how much its 250 California predecessor sells for, however, and this looks a comparative bargain.
It’s also a much more modern and sophisticated car than the California, the GTS carrying over much of the innovation introduced on the 275 GTB when it replaced the 250 Lusso in 1964. This included fully independent suspension by double wishbones all round, a technological leap from the traditional live axle of the 250. The 275 GTB also introduced a five-speed gearbox as standard, transaxle-mounted and connected to the 3.3-litre Colombo V12 by a rigid torque tube. Disc brakes replaced drums on all four wheels too.
Ferrari adopted a more relaxed character for the open-top GTS version seen here, keeping the fundamental mechanical layout but dropping the torque tube and retuning the engine to 256bhp, 20bhp down on the Berlinetta. Still respectable enough, mind, and the Spyder remains a true 150mph car.
The styling was also more mellow, the 275 GTS clearly inspired by the California but dropping the ’50s fins for a smoother boat-tailed look and bridging the gap between the 250 era and that of the more modern-looking 330 and 365. Early examples featured a widened passenger seat supposedly capable of carrying two people while a styling update in 1965 added a 330-inspired nose and replaced the 11-louvre side vents with the triple set-up seen here. Where GTBs often wore alloy wheels, more traditional Borrani wires were fitted to Spyders. By any standard it’s a stunning-looking car with a perfectly judged balance of elegance and aggression, the refined proportions offset against clearly racy features like the wing vents and paired exhausts beneath the rear bumper. This was an age when only true exotica could boast such an arrangement, a distinction now corrupted to the point where even fast Golfs feature quad exhausts.
This particular car is for sale with Tom Hartley Jr and is noteworthy for being one of just 19 right-hand-drive versions built out of a total production run of 200 cars. That’s nearly double the number of Californias, perhaps contributing to the difference in value. Ferris Bueller can’t be blamed for everything, after all.
“The car is not regarded as attractive as a California,” Hartley Jr says, “nor are they as rare – hence the huge difference in value. However, they are some seven years newer and further developed, and benefiting from the five-speed gearbox and disc brakes really does increase the pleasure and ease to drive. To tour there really is no better convertible Ferrari. The 330 is equally as desirable, if not even more so but people don’t really like the 365 as much. It’s not as pretty as the 330 without the side vents and not as aggressive or pure as the 275.”
The blue over red leather combination is a classy feature on this car, Ferrari Classiche certification backing up its matching-numbers provenance and originality. Fully restored in the 1990s and with a major mechanical overhaul in 2008, it has covered just 2500 miles since. It would be a crime for the new owner not to use it just a little more than that.