May 14, 2021

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Vadim’s Ferrari 275 GTB on sale

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AUCTION – The actor’s Ferrari berlinetta will be auctioned off by RM Sotheby’s in Milan on June 15.

Filmmaker Roger Vadim Plemiannikov loved women and sports cars. Especially Ferraris. He has owned some of the finest specimens from the Maranello firm from the late 1950s. He thus owned a 250 GT Spider California long chassis and the short chassis version that succeeded him, as well as a 275 GTB berlinetta. This model, which marks the apogee of an Italian bodywork school, will be one of the stars of the auction that the house RM Sotheby’s is organizing in Milan on June 15. When he acquired the 275 GTB light blue metallic – chassis number 08641 – in June 1966, Roger Vadim shared his life with actress Jane Fonda. We meet them in summer in Saint-Tropez aboard the beautiful Italian.

According to factory records, the berlinetta is once again offered for sale by the garage of Franco-Britannic, the French importer of the Italian brand then based in Levallois-Perret. A few months later, we find the Ferrari 275 GTB at Lyon’s Christian Baverey. Passionate about sports and competition cars, this industrialist will bring his wife Anne to competition. Since then, the Ferrari has changed hands several times without leaving French soil.

Remi Dargegen © 2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The 275 GTB is not a Ferrari like the others. It gives extra credit to the science and prolific imagination of Pininfarina bodywork. But, after giving birth to the sculptural beauties that are the 250 GT Berlinetta Passo Corto and 250 GT / L, can Pininfarina still surpass itself? By discovering the 275 GTB at the 1964 Paris Motor Show, it is possible to answer in the affirmative. Its style, of a classicism that delights in the soft curves in vogue in the 1960s, reveals a new style of the Berlinetta theme. Like its predecessor, the 250 GT Berlinetta, which it is responsible for replacing, the 275 GTB evokes elegance, refinement and power. But this remarkable sobriety is not expressed at the expense of strength and character. It marks the culmination of several years of Italian bodywork.

The law of long hoods

Remi Dargegen © 2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

The influence of the competition, and more particularly of the 330 LMB and the 250 GTO, is evident in the design of the new berlinetta. The disproportion of the lines expresses an unusual sensuality. The character of the 275 lies in the relationship between a compact stern, cramped roominess and the huge sloping hood.

Remi Dargegen © 2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

Marking the end of the heyday of the legendary line of the 250s, the 275 GTB does not hide its sporting heritage, both in terms of the chassis and the mechanics. The real revolution lies – this is a first for a road Ferrari – in the choice of a four-wheel independent suspension that significantly improves suspension comfort and road holding. This device consists of two superimposed triangles of unequal length, adjustable telescopic shock absorbers and coaxial coil springs taking on the upper triangles. For the benefit of better weight distribution and significant weight savings, the 5-speed gearbox is now attached to the differential according to a practice adopted by racing cars of the 1950s.

The racing heritage is also reflected in the mechanics of this 2.40m wheelbase berlinetta. The latest evolution of the V12 born in 1947, this engine, closely derived from the one that fitted the invincible 275 P spyders of the 1964 sports season, sees its bore increased to 77 mm. Now with a displacement of 3,285.7 cm3, this V12 which can take advantage of a compression ratio of 9.2: 1 and three Weber twin-barrel 40 mm carburettors, develops the power of 280 horsepower at 7,600 rpm / min. For the most demanding customers, the assembly of six Weber 40 DCN 3 carburettors allows to obtain ten additional horsepower.

Although still available as an accessory, the Borrani wire wheels are abandoned in favor of Campagnolo light alloy rims with wings. Despite the emphasis on the search for greater user comfort, the 275 GTB still proves by its attitudes, both in behavior and reactions, close to a racing car. For the 1966 vintage, Ferrari therefore proceeded, in several waves, to some aesthetic and mechanical alterations. Thus, at first, the rear window is significantly widened to improve visibility and the door hinges become visible. At the start of 1966, the muzzle of the front hood was lengthened and lowered to suppress the tendency to load shedding at high speeds and to remedy the vibrations resulting from the misalignment of the engine and the gearbox, the propeller shaft was now contained in a tube to ensure the rigidity of the engine-transaxle assembly. Other details relating to finish and comfort reinforce the modifications of the 275 GTB “series 2”.

Remi Dargegen © 2021 Courtesy of RM Sotheby’s

But 1966 heralded even more relevant transformations. As Ford begins to inflict its superiority in Sport and Lamborghini defies the chronicle with the extravagant rear mid-engined Miura, Maranello cannot stand still. The replica of the Ingeniere Enzo Ferrari appeared at the 1966 Paris Motor Show in the form of a redesigned 275 berlinetta. Aesthetically very close to its predecessor, except for the bonnet boss, the 275 GTB / 4 is the first road Ferrari to be powered by an engine with 4 overhead camshafts. Benefiting largely from the technology tested by the P2 prototypes of the 1965 season, the 3.3-liter V12 is notable for a battery of six Weber 40 DCN carburettors and a dry-sump lubrication inherited from the 275 GTB / Competition. Power now reaches 300 hp.

The American standards more and more draconian and irreconcilable with the V12 3.3 liters but certainly the competition of the Miura, will make prematurely take the road of the retirement to the 275 GTB / 4 after 350 cars produced between the autumn 1966 and the spring 1968. A page closes on one of the most glorious chapters in the history of the road berlinetta, as it appears that the 275 GTB embodies the pinnacle of the genre. However, Ferrari does not revolutionize the genre, remaining attached, still for a time, to the front engine architecture. This is how the 275 GTB was replaced by the 365 GTB / 4 nicknamed Daytona in tribute to the victory of the P4 prototypes at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona.


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