1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione
- One of just 10 ‘7000’ series Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clientis built
- One of four ‘7000’ series Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clientis with period competition history
- Extensively raced in period by Renzo Sinibaldi and Franco Failli
- A fully-fledged competition Ferrari, fitted with six carburettors, additional GTO-style cooling vents, an external fuel filler and a long-range fuel tank
- Accompanied by extensive period competition imagery, copies of its original Ferrari build sheets and copies of its Italian registration documentation
The Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti
Not all Ferrari 275 GTBs were born equal. Even by 1960s standards, the achingly pretty V12 berlinetta was offered in a dizzying number of different configurations, although few are as desirable today as the Competizione Clienti cars from 1965, of which just 10 were built.
Following the FIA’s refusal in 1964 to homologate Ferrari’s mid-engined 250 LM in the GT category, Il Commendatore was understandably disgruntled. Not only did it mean that his thinly-disguised prototype was forced to race in the highest category, but it also left the Prancing Horse without a new car with which to duke it out in the GT class. Enter the 275 GTB.
Introduced towards the end of 1964, the dual-purpose Gran Turismo was ripe for racing. Technologically speaking, it was state of the art, with a robust chassis, independent suspension at all four corners and that powerful – and, perhaps more importantly, reliable – Colombo V12 engine in 3.3-litre guise.
Naturally, Ferrari wasn’t the first to twig this and many ‘standard’ 275 GTBs were raced around Europe. However, a purpose-built competition version did emerge from Maranello. In fact, three different versions did.
After subtly modifying two early 275 GTB prototypes, Ferrari went the whole hog with the first series. Three cars were built, equipped with lighter tubular chassis, potent six-carb dry-sump engines and bodywork littered with motorsport-oriented features such as a nose akin to that found on the 330 LM Berlinetta.
In 1965, Enzo Ferrari commissioned a series of 10 short-nosed ‘Competizione Clienti’ cars to satisfy the demands of his customers. These ‘7000’ series 275s’ distinguishing features included engines crowned with six Weber 40 DCN3 carbs (objects of sheer beauty in themselves), three additional air vents either side of the pert tail, and an external fuel filler on the right-hand sail panel, leading to an enlarged 140-litre endurance fuel tank.
Ferrari was determined that the 275 GTB Competizione Clienti would be granted homologation, hence why its modifications were a touch on the conservative side. But while the car didn’t vanquish its way into the history books, it was a superb embodiment of the dual-purpose Gran Turismo recipe Ferrari had done so much to perfect over the years.
Indeed, a further-developed Competizione version emerged in 1966 and realised the 275 GTB’s true potential on the racetrack. As a blisteringly fast road-going classic car, though, we don’t think there’s much that can touch the 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti.
You can read our definitive ‘Reference Points’ guide on the Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti by clicking here.
This Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti
Such was the bespoke nature of these cars that no two are exactly alike. The jaw-droppingly beautiful Ferrari 275 GBT Competizione Clienti we’re offering is chassis number 07437.
The car was ordered directly from the Ferrari factory on 10 May 1965 by one Renzo Sinibaldi from Rome, who specified Rosso Chiaro bodywork and a black leather interior. And two days after chassis 07437 received its Certificate of Origin on 18 June 1965, it was bought by Sinibaldi’s wife Mrs Augusta Luglio via V.E.C.A.R. Srl for the princely sum of 5.75m Italian lire and assigned the registration ‘Roma 858844’. We’d love to know the nature of that particular marriage!
Throughout the course of 1966, Sinibaldi contested the Italian GT Championship, although he sold the car back to V.E.C.A.R. Srl following the first round. Piloting 07437 admirably, he snagged two class victories and finished the season third in class. Our history file includes a wealth of fantastic period imagery and Italian magazine reports.
The following year, on 2 April, Franco Failli tried 07437 for size in the 33rd Coppa Gollenga Vallelunga, where he finished an impressive second in class. The car clearly made a good impression on Failli, for he purchased the car later that month for 1m lire – an absolute bargain, if we do say so ourselves. More so when you consider the eight further Italian races and hill climbs he tackled with the Ferrari in 1967.
Failli drove 07437 exquisitely, scoring three class victories and, amazingly, one overall victory. Similarly to Sinibaldi, there are so many wonderfully nostalgic photos of Failli racing this 275 GTB included in our expansive history file. Failli parted with his loyal warhorse on 2 July 1968, selling 07437 for 1.35m lire to Giuseppe Sirgo from Siracusa, who re-registered the car with the local number ‘SR 60981’.
In October of 1972, this 275 was bought by Dr Robert Bailey, a dentist from Georgia who had a penchant for old Ferraris. Chassis 07437 subsequently passed through the hands of both the Reno-based Darryl Greenamyer and Al Allyn in Texas, the latter of whom traded in two Ferraris in exchange, before the car returned to Europe, when it was bought by Albert Obrist in Gstaad, Switzerland, for 2.9m US dollars.
Obrist commissioned a comprehensive restoration and entrusted some of the very best names in the business with doing it: Carrozzeria Fantuzzi, Carrozzeria Brandoli and Autofficina Sauro in Italy. Following a period when the car was advertised for sale by Pichler Treuhand in Feutersoey, Switzerland in 1991, Autofficina Sauro overhauled 07437 once again, the work totalling 65m lire.
After a short spell in the collection of the Formula 1 magnate Bernie Ecclestone, this Ferrari was bought by John McCaw’s Cavallino Holdings company in Seattle, Washington, in 1998. A further restoration followed in 1999, this time carried out by the California-based specialist Patrick Ottis. The results of his work were exhibited at IX Cavallino Classic in 2000 in Palm Beach, Florida, when the 275 GTB was entered in Class 3. As the accompanying photos show, the car looks sensational.
In May of 2000, chassis 07437 was offered by Brooks at its Les Grandes Marques a Monaco auction, where it was bought by the renowned collector William ‘Chip’ Connor for 831,165 US dollars. The Ferrari crossed the block once again in 2002, this time sold by RM Auctions at its flagship Monterey Sportscar Auction in California. It sold for 837,312 US dollars to Natale Lanza of Executive Fliteways Inc..
Peter LeSaffre from Massachusetts was 07437’s next custodian – he bought it in August of 2004. It made two public appearances: Bob Benedict raced the car in the Ferrari & Maserati Historic Challenge at Moroso Park, where he finished 18th overall and ninth in class, and it was displayed at XIV Cavallino Classic.
Chassis 07437 returned to Europe once again in June of 2005, when it was sold to David Fitzsimmons from the Jersey Islands. The following year, he raced the car at Dijon and the prestigious Le Mans Classic, where he finished 12th overall. Between December of 2006 and March of 2007, invoices on file show that Gelscoe Motorsport carried out work on the Ferrari totalling close to £30,000. Upon completion of the work, Fitzsimmons registered 07437 in the UK, assigning the license number ’37 GTB’.
That summer, he returned to the Circuit de la Sarthe to contest the Le Mans Classic, and followed that appearance up with another at the greatest historic motorsport event of them all: the Goodwood Revival. The 275 GTB was later acquired by its most recent owner who, like David Fitzsimmons, resided in the Jersey Islands. More recently, in August of 2020, chassis 07437 was inspected by the respected British Ferrari historian Keith Bluemel.
Today, factory-built Ferrari competition cars are among the most sought-after Prancing Horses in existence. We don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that the Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti is the most elegant of them all. In fact, we don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that it’s the most elegant 1960s GT racer, full stop.
Furthermore, this matching-numbers berlinetta boasts a rich period Italian competition history, illustrated by the wealth of wonderfully nostalgic photography which accompanies the car. Chassis 07437 is one of just 10 of its kind and just four to have raced competitively in period. In the desirability stakes, it ranks very highly among Ferrari’s back catalogue of hits.
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