Story by Will Silk
Sports Car Digest is proud to revive our vintage classifieds column to reflect on the market that we all love and enjoy being a part of. In true Sports Car Digest fashion, hours were spent pouring through old sports car magazines that featured classified ads to their readers back in the day. After a few days worth of digging, the respirators were removed and the artifact brushes set aside, as the selection for the revival piece was made. The ad selected hails from a 1978 issue of Hemmings and is a spectacular example from the stables of Italy, the Ferrari 275GTB.
The 275GTB made its debut next to its topless sibling, the 275GTS in Paris, late in 1964. In many ways, the 275GTB was the perfect blend of everything Ferrari had learned up to that point in time. The 3.3 liter engine was initially rated at 280 horsepower, though this number would increase as production evolved over the next four years and modifications would be made to the V-12 engine. The transmission was rear mounted in trans-axle fashion aiding in obtaining better balance for the grand touring machine and using everything that Ferrari had learned going back a decade earlier to the famed Ferrari 500 Mondial. Suspension was independent in 250LM fashion and braking was handled via disc at all four corners.
January 1966 saw a revised 275GTB appear at Brussels with a lengthened nose and Campagnolo wheels like the ones featured on the car for sale in 1978. Later, during the summer of 1966, twelve 275GTB/Cs (Competizione) models were made. These racing variants of the GTB were lightened, used plexiglas windows, and sported dry sump oiling to keep all the precious bits of that monster twelve cylinder properly lubricated. These cars were rated at 300 horsepower, the same number of horses that the GTB/4 (4 signaling the use of four cam shafts) would be rated at in October of 1966 upon debut in Paris.
Without doubt, the $15,450 price tag of our 1978 Hemmings car seems like a bargain by today’s standards. The March 2010 Amelia Island auction conducted by RM Auctions saw a 1967 Ferrari 275GTB/4 offered in Fly Yellow over Black leather sell for a final price of $1,650,000. Of course, the fact that it was a nearly 100 point, four cam model greatly assisted the Fly Yellow masterpiece in achieving such an extraordinary result a few months ago. With numbers like these being tossed around today, it is certain that who ever may own the car from the 1978 Hemmings ad today will be losing no sleep over the possibility of having made a bad investment 32 years ago.