Presented by RM Sotheby's.
By 1963, it had become increasingly apparent to Ferrari’s engineering team that the long-running and highly successful 250 GT series of road cars had reached the end of its development potential. Despite the fact that Ferrari was drifting toward a more luxurious base V-12 car, the company still wanted to maintain its fine tradition of dual-purpose sports/racing berlinettas, which had cemented its tremendous sporting reputation. Renowned British racer Michael Parkes, at the time a Maranello works driver, participated in considerable testing to assist in the development of a replacement model for the 250 GT platform. The new car would ultimately continue the traditional features that made the preceding berlinetta models so successful: front-engine architecture punctuated with a long front hood and short rear deck. The resulting 275 GTB debuted to great acclaim at the 1964 Paris Motor Show, setting a new standard for design and power in a Ferrari road car.
As the gran turismo Berlinetta nomenclature suffix suggested, the 275 GTB retained the dual-purpose sporting identity of prior Ferrari sports/racers, and the delectable new coachwork built by Scaglietti was undoubtedly an extension of the legendary 250 GTO. The 275 was powered by a further enlargement of Gioacchino Colombo’s classic short-block V-12, which now displaced 3,286 cubic centimeters. Optimal weight balance was achieved by fitting the gearbox directly to the rear axle, in a rear transaxle design that would become a standard practice in many ensuing Ferrari road cars. The 275 GTB is also notable as the first Ferrari for the street to feature an independent suspension on all four wheels, an innovation that eventually took hold across automobile manufacturing.
A year after the 275 GTB’s 1964 debut, a second series was unveiled that featured a longer nose, a modification intended to aid aerodynamic downforce at high speeds. Despite the technical improvements, many enthusiasts prefer the first-series cars’ proportions and purity of design. Early short-nose Series I examples remain the rarest of all iterations of the 275 GTB non-competition cars, with only approximately 250 examples built.
SHORT-NOSE CHASSIS NUMBER 06609
Claiming over 36 years of single-family ownership, and displaying an impressive degree of unrestored originality, this Ferrari is a highly desirable example of Maranello’s early short-nose 275. According to the research of marque expert Marcel Massini, chassis number 06609 completed assembly in early February 1965, specified with instruments in miles. The coachwork was finished in Rosso and the interior was upholstered with Nero Vaumol leather made by Connolly.
The Ferrari was soon delivered to Luigi Chinetti Motors in Greenwich, Connecticut, for retail in the United States. Though the first owner is currently unknown, by 1969 the 275 was owned by Craig Newton of Santa Barbara, California, who was a preferred client of the well-known marque specialist FAF Motorcars in Tucker, Georgia. After retaining possession for at least 15 years, Mr. Newton sold the Ferrari in August 1984 to an Arizona-based dealer, as clarified by a period title. Within a year the 275 was purchased by Dr. Terry Maxon of Glendale, Arizona, in a joint purchase undertaken with the well-known Modern Classic Motorcars of Phoenix, Arizona. MCM divested any interest in the GTB in March 1985 by selling its share to Dr. Maxon, at which point he owned the car in its entirety. He would go on to keep the berlinetta through the remainder of his life.
Dr. Maxon reportedly drove the Ferrari rather sparingly while striving to maintain the car’s originality to the highest possible degree. In August 1994 he displayed the berlinetta at the Ferrari Club of America International Concours d’Elegance at Monterey, California. Largely domiciled for the ensuing years, the 275 made an appearance in January 2015 when the owner exhibited it at the Arizona Concours d’Elegance held at the Biltmore hotel in Phoenix, Arizona. The car’s striking originality was recognized there with a first-in-class award in the Preservation Class. Seven months later the GTB again competed for preservation class honors when it was presented at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Dr. Maxon went on to retain possession of the desirable 275 through his passing in early 2021, and the beautiful car is now offered by his estate, concluding a remarkable period of 36 years of uninterrupted ownership.
Currently emitting a warm patina that is commensurate with many years of fastidious but unrestored care, the 275 GTB also features a well-worn interior. It is worth noting, however, that Dr. Maxon always kept his cars mechanically well-sorted for driving enjoyment, and the 275 GTB was no exception, as it is currently prepared for use at any time. The berlinetta would make an ideal candidate for a sympathetic restoration that would properly complement its originality. Or the car may be left in its present state to continue a campaign in preservation-class competition, where its originality might be further recognized.
Believed to retain its original matching-numbers engine (although the original gearbox has been replaced with a correct type 563 transaxle), it is documented with the Massini report, a 1985 bill of sale from Modern Classic Motors, parts invoices and service records dating from 1985 to 2019, and a handwritten logbook dating back to 1985. Further, the Ferrari is accompanied by two sets of spare wheels and a partially complete toolkit. It offers marque aficionados and broader collectors alike the opportunity to acquire a pure expression of the earliest variant of the 275 GTB—a Ferrari sure to be a strong complement to any sporting collection.
RM Sotheby’s is set to kick off the collector car auction calendar once again by returning to the stunning grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix on 27 January for its 23rd annual Arizona sale. View all lots and register to bid online at RMSothebys.com.