New Zealand Classic Car

First prototype Ferrari 275 GTB/4 heads multi-million pound auction


The very car which unveiled the legendary Ferrari 275 GTB/4 model to the world on the Ferrari stand at the 1966 Paris Motor Show went under the hammer at the Coys of Kensington auction at the Royal Horticultu­ral Halls in Westminste­r, London, on May 18, with an estimated value of between £2,000,000 and £2,500,000.

The full history of the car was noted. The prototype made its public debut in the French capital to universal praise, both on the road and for its styling. It travelled to the United States with its first owner, Gordon Walker of Northbrook, Illinois, and remained in his ownership until 1983, when it was offered by Ferrari South USA.

From the late ’80s onwards, it resided in the Swiss collection of Albert Obrist, who is noted for putting together arguably the most comprehens­ive and renowned collection of Ferraris in the world, before changing hands again a few years later. It became a part of another world-renowned car collection, this time in England, and remained in storage until the early 2000s.

Coys sold it in 2004, at its Monaco auction, to the current vendor, who has used it sparingly for a variety of events. Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys, said: “The four-cam has always been considered the most beautiful 12-cylinder car from Maranello. It is with some excitement that we bring the factory prototype, Chassis No. 1, and 1966 Paris Motor Show car to the market.”

Upon testing it in 1967, Jean Pierre Beltoise, racing driver and journalist for L’auto- Journal, wrote: “It is, first and foremost, a serious and comfortabl­e gran turismo, but it retains the lineage of a race car in the response of the engine and the quality of the handling. The 275 GTB/4 is one of the greatest automobile­s created in our times.”

The Ferrari 275 GTB/4 fourcam was joined by a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT cabriolet with coachwork by Pininfarin­a, estimated at £1,000,000–£1,500,000; a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC, estimated at £480,000–525,000; and a 1963 Maserati 3500 GT, estimated at £150,000–175,000.

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