The first prototype Ferrari 275 GTB/4 is being sold at auction in London at May 18, when it is expected to sell for £2,000,000 to £2,500,000.
It was the first 275 GTB/4 produced in 1966 and was used to unveil this legendary model to the world on the Ferrari stand at the Paris motor show that year.
On its public debut in the French capital, the 275 was greeted with universal praise both on the road and for its styling, heralding a successful period for Ferrari. This example was bought by a Mr Gordon Walker of Northbrook, Illinois, who took it to the US. It remained in his ownership until 1983, when it was offered for sale by Ferrari South USA.
In the late Eighties it resided in the Swiss collection of Albert Obrist, who assembled arguably the most comprehensive and renowned collection of Ferraris in the world. Obrist chose this car because he believed that it was the most seminal of 275s, given its background as chassis number 1.
A few years later the 275 GTB/4 changed hands to become part of another world-renowned collection, this time in England, and remained in storage until the early 2000s.
In 2004, Coys sold it at its Monaco auction to the current vendor, who used it sparingly for a variety of events. Coys is once again selling the car, at its auction at the Royal Horticultural Halls in Westminster on May 18.
Jean-Pierre Beltoise, a Formula One driver and journalist for L’Auto Journal, wrote when he tested the car in 1967: “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.”
Chris Routledge, CEO of Coys, said: “The four-cam [denoted by the /4 designation] has always been considered the most beautiful 12-cylinder car from Maranello, and it is with some excitement that we are bringing the factory prototype, chassis number 1 and 1966 Paris motor show car to the market.”
The Ferrari 275 GTB/4 4-cam will be joined by a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT Cabriolet with bodywork by Pininfarina (estimated at £1,000,000-£1,500,000), a 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC (£480,000-£525,000) and a 1963 Maserati 3500 GT (£150,000-£175,000).
Alongside these Italian touring greats, there is also a broad selection of interesting and eclectic vehicles, ranging from a 1989 BMW Z1 (£32,000-£37,000) to a 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 (£30,000-£40,000), the eccentric gullwing-door creation of namesake John DeLorean so affectionately associated with the Back to the Future films, with about 9,000 miles from new.
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