Presented by RM Sotheby’s – By 1966, both the careers and the relationship of the recently married film director Roger Vadim Plemiannikov and Hollywood starlet Jane Fonda were very much on the rise. The pair had met while filming La Ronde in 1963, officially becoming a couple later that year. Married in Las Vegas in August of 1965, the pair lived a glamorous trans-Atlantic lifestyle between Vadim’s native France and Southern California. Attractive, wealthy, talented, and eager for more success, the pair seemingly lived an idyllic lifestyle that anyone would have been envious of, and that included what they drove.
After having sold his Ferrari 250 California SWB Spider, chassis number 2175 GT, Vadim purchased the 275 GTB on offer here, chassis number 08641, on 15 June 1966. Finished in Azzuro (106-A-32) over a full leather Nero (VM 8500) interior, the car was built to left-hand drive specifications for use in France. Chassis number 08641 falls late in the production run of the 275 GTB, fitted with long-nose steel bodywork, torque tube, and three Weber carburetors. It was sold to him through Franco-Britannic Autos of Paris, Ferrari’s official distributor, and the car was subsequently registered in Vadim’s name (as Roger Plemiannikov) under registration number 64 SW 75. Later that summer, the registration documents were transferred to Fonda, keeping the same number.
The pair kept their 275 GTB for about two and a half years and during this time, they were photographed with the car frequently, as one would expect for a pair of A-list celebrities. In August of 1966, the pair were photographed emerging from the car in Saint-Tropez, Vadim sporting swimming trunks and attracting a crowd of onlookers, clearly starstruck by their celebrity sighting, and perhaps the 275 GTB as well. Another color photo exists in the history file of Fonda in the passenger seat in October of 1968, departing the hospital for the first time with their newborn daughter Vanessa, a much more personal moment.
In November of 1968, the 275 GTB returned to Franco-Britannic Autos and was reregistered 1404 W 75 (trade plate) and then subsequently purchased by a Mr. Tamalet in Lyon. In short order, the car was repainted red and registered under the name of his company as 1191 DG 69 according to Ferrari historian Marcel Massini. By April of 1972, chassis number 08641 had passed to Christian and Anne Baverey in Lyon. In their ownership, the car saw a bit of action on the track. It appeared at Pierre Bardinon’s famous Mas du Clos circuit where it was driven by Jean-Claude Killy, a former World Cup ski racer and triple Olympic Champion at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble. Anne Baverey would take to the wheel next at the Limonest-Mont Verdun hill climb near Lyon and later the Coup des Dames at Mas du Clos, in September and October of 1974 respectively.
On 16 April 1980, chassis number 08641 passed to Michel Ferry, director of the Société des Bains de Mer in Monaco. The car was still noted as being painted red at this time, although the chromed front grille guard had been removed and it sported yellow headlights for use in France. Briefly reregistered in Monaco, the 275 GTB was subsequently sold to a collector in Toulouse who drove the car in a series of local events and rallies, reregistering the car as 275 TM 31. Sold to French dealer and collector Jean Guikas, in 1988, it passed through him to another French owner before finding its way to the consignor roughly twenty years ago.
In the last five years, chassis number 08641 was subject to a full restoration seeking to bring the car back to its original colour scheme of Azzurro over Nero, just as it was when it was owned by Fonda and Vadim. Afterwards, the car received Ferrari Classiche certification, confirming that it retains its original chassis, engine, and gearbox.
In period, the 275 GTB was a favorite of many of the Hollywood jet set and in addition to Fonda and Vadim, 275 GTBs found their way into the garages of other celebrities in period, including Steve McQueen, and Miles Davis who had a 275 GTB/4. Vadim was clearly a fan of the Ferrari for some time, having previously owned a 250 California Spider (chassis number 2175 GT). Interestingly, Fonda also had previous experiences with a California Spider alongside the car owned by fellow actor Alain Delon (chassis number 2935 GT). Both no stranger to Ferrari as a marque, it is easy to understand why the pair were drawn to the 275 GTB and it is clear that the car played an important role in their lives early on in their marriage and a time when it looked like the sky was the limit for the couple.
Presented today exactly as it was when it was delivered to Fonda and Vadim, chassis number 08641 sits amongst the upper echelon of 275 GTBs, with its celebrity ownership only adding to its known history, and Classiche certification. It would be at home on a concours lawn anywhere in the world, but would perhaps be most at home cruising the roads of the south of France in unrivaled style as it did with its first owners.
This vehicle will be offered in RM Sotheby’s new Milan Sale, taking place 15 June at Palazzo Serbelloni in Italy. The sale will be livestreamed and remote bidding options are available.