If Enzo Ferrari ever had a poster of one of his marque’s Maranello-manufactured cars on his wall, it probably would have been this prototype 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB.
The highly anticipated follow up to the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, the 275 was constructed in ’64 and was the first Ferrari model to feature an independent rear suspension. Carrying assembly sequence no. 1, the model you see here, chassis #06003, is the only 275 GTB “Prototipo” model in existence.
Originally built with short-nosed bodywork, the prototype was used for experimentation and underwent changes as Ferrari sought to develop the style it would use for its production models.
One of those changes was updating its body with long-nose coachwork penned by Pininfarina and built by Scaglietti. Though Ferrari was initially unsure about the alteration, the long-nose style became standard for the 275 after approximately 250 cars were built.
Utilized for trying out further revisions and photography for promotional purposes for about a year, prototype 275 GTB was actually sold to its first private owner while engineers were prepping it to hit the track as a factory-supported rally car.
In order to gather technical information on how the model’s new features performed in a rally setting, Ferrari’s racing manager Eugenio Dragoni enlisted the services of Ferrari factory test driver Roberto Lippi and rally driver Giorgio Pianta to put the model through nearly 75,000 miles of coursework.
To get an even better sense of how #06003 – which by this time was equipped with rally equipment, including auxiliary driving lights, reinforced glass, and a modified hood – would fare, the model was entered in the 35th annual Monte Carlo Rally in January of 1966.
With Pianta driving and Lippi navigating, the powerful 12-cylinder Ferrari caused a stir when it took to the snow-covered mountain roads but was forced to quit the race near Nyons due to driveline issues.
Despite the early retirement, the time behind the wheel of #06003 made quite an impression on Pianta and he called it “the most beautiful memory of my life” in an interview in a 1991 issue of Ferrari World.
“The car was extremely well-balanced on both snow and tarmac and was surprising, because it reached in seconds speeds which for that time were incredible,” Pianta said in the interview. “I can only say that when I drove the rally Ferrari, that car was a dream for me – at that time it seemed perfect. I honestly can’t remember anything that wasn’t beautiful about that car. The braking was perfect, the tuning. Even with all the experience I have now as a test driver of rally cars for Abarth, I couldn’t say what more they could have done.”
Held out of the public eye in a private collection for the last 25 years, the prototype 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB will be sold by Gooding & Company later this month in Arizona and is expected to fetch anywhere from $6 to $8 million.
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