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1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

As unveiled at the 1964 Paris Motor Show, the 275 GTB was a road car with race-inspired engineering and the Competizione Speciale took advantage of this more than any other version. Features such as an all-independent suspension, four-wheel disc brakes, a five speed, all-synchromesh transaxle and an optional alloy body distinguished the 275 from the much larger 330 GTC built beside it and the 250 Lusso built before it.

After the rear engined 250 LM was denied homologation, Ferrari had to modify the recently released 275 GTB into a more purposeful race car, thus bridging the diverging requirements of road and race into one dual-purpose sports car.

Initially Ferrari prepared a trio of cars known as the Competizion Speciales. The first prototype was chassis #06021 and it had several new ideas such as a revamped nose, an aluminum body, rear wheel vents and a hood scoop. After some positive testing, Ferrari was motivated to finalize this specification with hopes of selling a series competition GTBs. Mauro Forghieri was ordered to redesign his road car into a race car which would be a true successor to the legendary 250 GTO.

Upon first glance, some of Forghieri’s body modifications are apparent: The front of the car lends traits from the 330 LMB including a small front intake and oversize fenders to accommodate wider wheels. What isn’t instantly apparent is the 10 percent reduction in overall size, or Plexiglas windows and the easily dented 21 gauge alloy body. This is the one car that you don’t lean on!

Like the body, chassis arrangements focus on reduced weight. A smaller diameter chassis is used and, like the GTO, has a separate structure to support the roof and body. Furthermore much of the tubes and chassis details are drilled, the interior is completely stripped and magnesium is used for various engine and transaxle castings to reduce weight.

Powering the Speciale is a modified version of the 275 engine which is almost a six carb version of the 250 LM unit. In 1965, power was rated at 300 bhp, but it has been postulated that this engine can produce much more, since the figure was advertised for homologation purposes.

As a completed car, Ferrari had produced a 275 that was too reminiscent of the 250 GTO project. Even the FIA was convinced of this fact, and they refused to homologate the car as a GT condender because it was 500 lbs lighter than the road-going GTB. This angered Enzo Ferrari and after threats of abandoning GT motor sport, a middle ground was met. With some reluctance, the GTB was homologated mid-season, albeit with ballast weight that put it at 2156 lbs.

The highlight of the very brief racing career for these cars came at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans. At this event, a yellow GTB/C Speciale chassis #6885 was driven by Mairesse and Blaton for Ecurie Francorchamps. While the Cobras and prototype entrants took the lead from the start, the 275 was more reliable and was in third place by the morning. During the very hot day, the car was overheating and leading the GT class in front of five Cobras. A quick decision was made to cut open a hole in the front of the car and, aside from hampering aerodynamics, the cooling problems were alleviated. After 24 hours, the car placed third overall and first in the GT class, marking the first racing victory for the 275 GTB, and its first race as a GT class contender.

Only three examples of the Speciale were produced. After these cars, 22 subsequent competition GTBs were made to more outwardly reflect the production version. These cars were very successful, taking many class victories and adapting refinements first used from the Speciales.

Photos & Image Gallery

See full 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale Gallery here

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

Specs & Performance

submitted by Richard Owen
type Racing Car
built at Maranello, Italy
production 3
engine Tipo 213 V12 w/Dry Sump Lubrication
position Front Longitudinal
aspiration Natural
valvetrain SOHC 2 Valves / Cyl
fuel feed 6 Modified Weber 40 DF13 Carbs
displacement 3285 cc / 200.5 in³
bore 77.0 mm / 3.03 in
stroke 58.8 mm / 2.31 in
compression 9.3:1
power 223.7 kw / 300 bhp @ 7600 rpm
specific output 91.32 bhp per litre
bhp/weight 345.22 bhp per tonne
torque 255.0 nm / 188.1 ft lbs @ 5500 rpm
body / frame Thin Gauge Aluminum over Tipo 563/Comp Tubular Frame
driven wheels Front Engine / RWD
front tires 5.50Mx15
rear tires 6.00MX15
front brakes Dunlop Discs
rear brakes Dunlop Discs
front wheels F 38.1 x 17.8 cm / 15 x 7 in
rear wheels R 38.1 x 19.0 cm / 15 x 7.5 in
steering ZF Worm & Roller
f suspension Double Wishbones w/Coil Springs, Koni Shocks, Anti-Roll Bar
r suspension Double Wishbones w/Coil Springs, Koni Shocks, Anti-Roll Bar
curb weight 869 kg / 1915 lbs
wheelbase 2400 mm / 94.5 in
front track 1377 mm / 54.2 in
rear track 1393 mm / 54.8 in
length 4369 mm / 172.0 in
width 1702 mm / 67.0 in
height 1232 mm / 48.5 in
transmission 5-Speed Manual

Auction & Sales Results

1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale 06701 – sold for $26,400,000 An historic, unique, and unrepeatable opportunity to acquire such an important automobile. The first of only three Works berlinetta competizione cars built; rarer than its 250 GTO siblings. Known provenance from new; original matching-numbers engine. A superb historic racing and rallying entrant. Meticulously researched by Swiss Ferrari historian Marcel Massini. Auction Source: 2014 Monterey by RM Auctions

Further Reading and Sources

Bluemel, Keith. ‘The 275 GTB/C Speciale’. Cavallino, Vol 110. 1999
Jones, Gordon et. al. The FORD That Beat FERRARI, Kimberley’s, London: 1985.
Ridgley, Doug. ‘The 275 GTB/C’. Cavallino, Vol 48. 1989
Rogliatti, Gianni Ferrari: Ecurie Garage Francochamps, Nada: 1992.
Sonnery, Marc. ‘275 GTB S/N 6885’. Cavallino, Vol 81. 1994
Webb, Ian. Ferrari 275 GTB & GTS, Oprey Publishing Limited: 1981