I recently had the opportunity to work on the sale of a Ferrari 275 GTB/6C alloy long-nose . Because not all classic Ferrari sell for more than a couple of millions, I thought I would take advantage of having it all fresh in my mind to share an overview of that car and of what makes it special and so sought after.
Let’s first have a quick overview of the 275 GTB and where it stands in the timeline with respect to other Ferrari models. Then we will look into more details at the differences between the various series before highlighting the key elements that can help distinguishing the series between them.
Although there are many versions of the 275 GTB, we can distinguish three main releases: the 275 GTB, the 275 GTS and the 275 GTB/4.
Ferrari 275 GTB Overview
The Ferrari 275 GTB is a V12-powered front engine car that Ferrari produced between 1964 and 1968.
In the production timeline, the Ferrari 275 GTB stands between the Ferrari 250 and the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (aka “Daytona”).
Other models produced at the same time included the Ferrari 330 and the Ferrari 500 Superfast.
In terms of competition, alternatives from other manufacturers included the Lamborghini 350 GT, the Lamborghini Miura, the Maserati Ghibli and the Alfa Romeo TZ2.
Identifying a 275 GTx
In the case of genuine and unmodified Ferrari 275, looking at the bodywork should provide enough information to identify a series.
Series 1 or the first 275 GTB was the first series of the 275 to be unveiled in 1964. It had a rather wide grill at the front bordered with chrome. However it suffered from a slight nose lift at high speeds.
Series 2 appeared when Ferrari solved the nose lift problem by optimizing the shape of it. The nose was longer and the grill a bit smaller. The new version released in 1965 became known as ‘long nose‘ by opposition to the previous version of the 275 GTB that became known as ‘short nose‘. The chrome border disappeared and engineers raised the front bumpers in comparison with the series 1 overlapping slightly the front grill.
Series 3 or 275 GTB/4 came with a dual overhead cam that required some extra space compared to the two-cam versions. Ferrari considers it as a different car from the series 1 and 2. The addition of a small hump on the bonnet in line with the engine allowed to gain the extra space required for the DOHC. This hump is an easy way to identify the 275 GTB/4.
The 275 GTS is the roadster version. From the outside, it has very little in common with 275 GTB. The low production 275 NART Spyder was actually the open top 275 that was more faithful to the initial design. I find this being an interesting point: although the 275 NART Spyder was designed by Scaglietti, its design was very close to the design initially produced by Pininfarina for the 275 GTB. On the other hand Pininfarina must have had good reason to make the 275 GTS so different to the 275 GTB. But I personally think that the 275 NART Spyder looks more beautiful and elegant than the 275 GTS.
Note that the limited production of the NART Spyder and its attractive look led some owners to subsequently convert their 275 GTB to the NART Spyder specifications. So not all of the NART Spyder on the market are authentic. This does not detract from their desirability as the conversions were usually carried by renowned and qualified bodyshops on the base of a model that was already desirable.
Apart from the visible changes, a few other things varied between these series like the all steel versus steel and alloy versions for the chassis, the increase in the number of carburetors or the addition of a torque tube connecting engine and transmission. These small variations found in various combinations is what created the rarity of some of the 275 GTB models.
Ferrari 275 GTB/6C Alloy Long-nose
Just before the introduction of the 275 GTB/4 in 1966, Ferrari developped a sub-series of the 275 GTB Series 2. That particular model was lightweight, so it was the alloy version. It was produced after the face lift, so it was a ‘long-nose’. And it also benefited from 6 Weber carburetors, instead of the 3 by default, so it was a 6C.
Although not mentioned in its name, this version also featured a torque tube that connected the engine to the transmission. This improved the transmission efficiency as well as the handling and it also reduced the vibrations transmitted to the chassis.
It turns out Ferrari only built twelve 275 GTB with these specifications which are now known as 275 GTB/6C. It is easy to confuse them with 275 GTB/C.
The 275 GTB/C was also a sub-group of 275 and also with a limited run of 12 units but built for racing. It weighted even less than the 275 GTB alloy thanks to the use of thinner aluminium panels and fiberglass.
The 275 GTB/C will usually exhibit some racing liveries. The presence of additional vents located behind the rear wheels is also a way to recognize them. These vents are specific to the 275 GTB/C.
A summary of 275 versions and key characteristics
The key elements that varied during the production of the Ferrari 275 are the designer and maker, the numbers of vehicles made by series, body type, engine and transmission characteristics and the design. I have summarized them in the table below.
Please note that the figures are the result of a compilation of many sources. When available, I have considered the figures provided by Ferrari as the reference.
|275 GTB ‘short nose’||275 GTB ‘long nose’||275 GTB/C||275 GTS||275 GTB/4||275 NART Spider|
|Production years||1964||1965 to 1966||1965 to 1966||1964 to 1966||1966 to 1968||1967 to 1968|
|Quantities||239||215 including 12 GTB/6C||1965: 3 + 1 prototype
|Body||steel or alloy||steel or alloy||alloy||steel or alloy|
|Estimated price point today||Steel: £1.25m-£1.5m||GTB/6C: £3m||£10m or more depending on the racing history||£1m to £1.6m||Steel: £1.8m
|£3m – £20m|
wider grill with chrome lining
bumpers below the grill
bumpers slightly over the grill
bumpers slightly over the grill
additional vents behind the rear wheels
bumpers slightly over the grill
hump in the bonnet for the DOHC
|similar to a 275 GTB without roof|
The GTB/4 was a significant upgrade to the 275 GTB in terms of performance. It stands as the ultimate 275 GTB. But when it comes to performance versus price, the limited production of the 275 GTB/6C alloy long-nose offers a nice alternative at a slightly lower price point.
I highly recommend trying to spot a 275 GTB in one of the many Ferrari or classic car shows. And see if you can figure out which version it is. While doing so, you might appreciate its refined and elegant design.
Ferrari Chat: https://www.ferrarichat.com/forum/threads/ferrari-road-car-models-and-production-numbers.196388/
RM Sotheby’s: https://rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/pa18/auction/lots/r0051-1965-ferrari-275-gtb-alloy-by-scaglietti