IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM, DUXFORD
14th OCTOBER 2015
1967 FERRARI 275 GTB/4
'The 275 GTB4 berlinetta was the replacement for the 275 GTB, the main difference being the fitment of a four overhead camshaft, two per bank, V12 engine. It was first shown at the 1966 Paris Salon, and remained in production until March 1968, during which time 330 examples were manufactured in the chassis number range 09007 to 11069, 27 of which were UK imported right hand drive versions.H&H are indebted to Ferrari historian and author Keith Bluemel, who has recently inspected chassis 10177 at first hand, for the following report:
The 275 GTB4 was virtually identical visually to the "long nose" two camshaft models, and without lifting the bonnet, there was only one easy distinguishing feature. This was the profile of the bonnet, which on the 275 GTB4 had a slim shallow central bulge running from front to rear. As with the two camshaft cars, the Pininfarina designed body was constructed by Scaglietti in Modena, normally in steel with aluminium doors, bonnet, and boot lid, although a few examples received full aluminium bodies. The bodies were mounted on a 2400mm wheelbase chassis that had factory reference numbers 596, and all were numbered in the odd chassis number road car sequence. The chassis was virtually identical to that of the two camshaft car, the revised number being due to minor differences in the drive train layout. Like its predecessor, the four camshaft model was available in right or left hand drive form. The standard wheels were alloy with a ten hole design, similar to those used on the Ferrari sports racing cars of the period, with the option of Borrani wire wheels throughout the production period.
The basic dimensions and layout of the engine were similar to that of the two camshaft unit of the preceding 275 GTB, but fitted with new cylinder heads that featured twin overhead camshafts per bank of cylinders, with factory type reference 226, still of 3286cc capacity, with a bore and stroke of 77mm x 58.8mm, with the sparking plugs sited between the camshafts. The other major difference was the provision of dry sump lubrication. It was fitted with a bank of six Weber 40 DCN9, 17, or 18 carburettors, with a twin coil and rear of engine mounted distributor ignition system, to produce a claimed 300bhp. The engine drove through a shaft in a torque tube, as fitted to late series two camshaft models, running at engine speed to a five speed transaxle, which was independently supported from the chassis frame, and then by drive shafts to the independently suspended rear wheels, that featured the same coil spring and wishbone suspension arrangement as used on the two camshaft 275 GTB model.
Chassis # 10177 is a right hand drive example, which was ordered new by Maranello Concessionaires Ltd from the factory on their order # 296 in February 1967, with a specification of silver paintwork, code 106.E.1 Salchi, a blue leather and cloth interior, leather code VM 3015, light blue carpets, a radio console and the optional Borrani wire wheels. It was delivered to them in July 1967, and road registered by them on UK licence plate SMD 2F, to became their demonstrator model. The factory invoice for the car states only blue leather for the interior, so it is assumed that the cloth seat centres were substituted for full leather.
In December 1967 the car was sold to T.C. Harrison Ltd, a Ford main dealer in Sheffield, for the company owner Mr Cuth Harrison, when it was re-registered on his personal UK licence plate TCH 1. In June 1969 the car was returned to Maranello Concessionaires for sale by them. Mr Harrison retained his personal licence plate, and it was re-registered on UK licence plate VWJ 770F, then sold through Rob Walker (Corsley Garage) Ltd, Warminster, Wiltshire, in August 1969, to a Mr J.E. Renton, of Greywell, near Basingstoke, Hampshire. The registration number was probably the same as re-registered by Maranello Concessionaires in June 1969, i.e. VWJ 770F. There is a letter in the Maranello Concessionaires Archive file indicating that he still owned the car in January 1970. The next owner is understood to have been a Mr W. Locksley-Cook in Westerham, Kent, when it was registered on UK licence plate BC 777, who had purchased it from the Sunningdale Carriage Company, of Sunningdale, Berkshire.
In 1971 the car was once again for sale at Maranello Concessionaires, now on UK licence plate TVB 758F, so Mr Locksley-Cook had clearly retained his personal plate. In July 1971 it was purchased by Mr Robert Horne of Horne Brothers Ltd, the tailors (By Appointment to H.M. Queen Elizabeth II Livery Tailors). He kept the car for a little over a year, and then it was sold through Rose & Young Ltd, of Caterham, Surrey, around September 1972 to a Mr W. R. Curtis of Great Abington, Cambridgeshire, when it was registered on UK licence plate 69 EVE. In his ownership during 1974, the engine was fully rebuilt at 36,215 miles, by Graypaul Motors Ltd, of Loughborough, Leicestershire, and later in the year they also replaced the suspension wishbones, bushes and ball joints. The car was purchased by Richard Colton from Mr Curtis through Maloney & Rhodes Ltd, of Cambridge in November 1974, and was owned by him for over 40 years, up to the time of his passing in March 2015.
At the time that he purchased the car it was painted red, although it is not known when the colour change took place, however it retained its original blue interior. Initially in his ownership it was still on the UK registration number 69 EVE, but at some stage early in his ownership (definitely by 1979), he had the car re-registered on UK licence plate RCO 777. At this time the car had a nudge bar fitted to the nose, although this was subsequently removed, and the quarter bumpers retain plugged fixing holes where this was attached.
In September 1979 he entrusted the car to G.T.C. Engineering of Rushden, Northamptonshire, for a full bare metal re-spray in Mercedes-Benz Astral Silver, code DB375, which was completed in the November of that year. The car was returned to them in the middle of 1986 for further paintwork to be carried out on the bonnet and boot lids, and one front wing. The invoice for this work also has a note about welding up the radiator support bracket, and there is clear evidence of this on the car today. It is almost certain that this was the last time any work was carried out on the paintwork, as close inspection reveals numerous areas of micro-blistering, and there is deeper bubbling on the top edge of the right front wheel arch, together with on the top of the same wing close to the bonnet. The paintwork also has some chips and cracks in various locations on the body. The black paint under the nose and tail of the car does not have the correct perimeter profile or finish. It is currently finished with black underseal, whilst the correct finish is satin black. There is some flaking to the paint on the inside of the bonnet.
The windscreen is a replacement unit, as it does not have the original "VIS" manufacturer etching, but is etched "Vinylex" with what appears to be a British Kite Mark, and the sealant around the rubber trim is untidy. The window door glasses are replacement items, and that on the passenger side has some deep vertical score marks, and the surround trim is aged and a poor fit. The quarter lights carry the original manufacturers etching, as does the rear screen. The chrome bumpers, and chrome trim on the car generally, is showing its age, and would benefit from re-chroming.
The comments that Richard Colton made regarding the maintenance of his Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, "The car has never been "restored", but has always been well maintained on an "as necessary" basis. When you have had a car for so long you know all the things that need doing and you do them when they need doing." are equally applicable to this car. Just as he had done on that car, he carried out various modifications to make it more suitable and safer for modern driving conditions. These modifications included fitting AP 4 pot racing callipers to the front brakes, stainless steel braided brake hoses, plus discreet brake cooling ducts from elliptical cut-outs in the front valance below the quarter bumpers. The original oil lines for the dry sump system have also been replaced with modern stainless steel braided hoses. As an added security measure he had all the glass etched with the car's chassis number.
Equally, once again as with his 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, the car was not maintained as a concours queen, but as a satisfying car to drive, which was his ethos, even if it meant effecting changes that detracted from its originality. He travelled to events all over Europe in it over the years, including trips to France, Italy and Sweden plus all places in between the last being to The "Anciennes de Maranello" meetings in Burgundy in 2007 and 2008.
As noted in the paragraph relating to the car's original order specification, it was originally fitted with Borrani wire wheels, although today it currently sits on period correct 10 hole 7L x 14 alloy wheels, with a matching spare wheel. The wheels appear to have been recently refurbished, as all are in what may be best described as "like new" condition. However, they are fitted with mismatching tyres front and rear, with Pirelli P4000 205/70 R 14 tyres on the front wheels, and Goodyear Eagle NCT 205/70 VR 14 at the rear, whilst the spare is a non matching Dunlop SP 205 HR 14 L. Also the hub spinners are the "bent ear" type, normally fitted to the wire wheels, instead of the "straight ear" type, which are correct for alloy wheels. The age of the tyres is unknown, so for safety reasons because of this, the mismatch and different speed ratings, a matching set of new tyres should be fitted prior to use of the car.
The engine bay is what may be described as "well used", and appears to be lacking any recent attention. It would benefit from a thorough cleaning process, plus checks to determine the security of gaskets, hoses etc. This also applies to the underside of the car, with evidence of fluid leaks on the frame, whilst the transaxle is covered in an oil/dirt mix. Apart from the previously mentioned rather crude repairs to the front part of the chassis frame that supports the radiator, the remainder of the chassis frame appears to be sound, and given the age of the car it is most likely that the outriggers have been replaced during its life, as they were prone to rusting, but appear to be in good order.
The interior of the car is generally good order, and must have been re-trimmed in the not too distant past to the original colour specification, as the seats and carpets are all in good unmarked condition. The blue carpet has a mottle effect pile, which is not period correct, but is correct specification hessian backed type. The glove box lid has had a small "Ferrari Owners' Club" shield added to it, the gear knob is a replacement aluminium ball type, instead of the standard black plastic item, the cigar lighter is a modern unit, and a modern stereo radio/CD player has been fitted in the radio console, with a pair of speakers mounted in the rear parcel shelf. There is a foam sheet (coming adrift) under the parcel shelf in the boot, presumably to enhance the acoustic quality of the speakers. The felt to the underside of the boot lid is in need of replacement, and the boot gutter trim is missing around the fuel filler, as is the protective aluminium strip along the lower edge of the boot opening.
The chassis number stamping "10177" is in the correct location on the left side of the front cross-member in the engine bay, and of the correct ciphers, with no sign of having been tampered with. The engine Numero Interno "1710" and the transaxle number "397/1" with ratio 9 x 32, have all been checked with Ferrari Classiche, and are confirmed as original to this car, thus it is a matching numbers example, with an unbroken ownership history, including single ownership for the past 40+ years. With new tyres, plus safety checks and maintenance/servicing to rectify any defects, like the oil leaks, the car is ready to be used as it is, or is a good candidate for a sensitive restoration to bring it back to its former glory'.
A less objective perspective
Contemporary road tests and subsequent marque histories opine that the 275GTB/4 was among the greatest - if not THE greatest - GT cars of the 1960s but the biggest compliment that Richard Colton gave chassis 10177 was to own it for forty-one years. During that time a veritable pantheon of drivers' cars passed through his garage including a Ferrari 250LM, AC Cobra, Aston Martin DB4 GT, two Porsche 911 Carrera RS 2.7s (M471 and M472 spec) and assorted Jaguars. Yet none could supplant the 275GTB/4 in his affections.
He was not alone in his regard for 10177. At least one future 275GTB/4 owner tried to bypass the waiting list and persuade Maranello Concessionaires to part with their demonstrator for above list price! Although very much his own man, Cuth Harrison must have raised quite some eyebrows when he acquired the Ferrari. A former Riley / ERA / Allard racer turned Ford dealer, the prospect of his 275GTB/4 parked outside a showroom full of GT40 posters celebrating the Blue Oval's Le Mans victories would doubtless have amused il Commendatore.
Copy correspondence on file between Mike Salmon of Maranello Concessionaires and fourth owner, R.J. Horne, makes for interesting reading. The former offering typically forthright responses to the latter's threat 'to get hooked on Lamborghinis for life'. The car that got Richard Colton hooked on Ferraris for life, 10177 was a firm favourite amongst his family and friends. Conscious that its magnesium alloy wheels looked a little tired we had them refurbished on safety grounds, while Joe Macari Performance Cars has recently carried out a basic service and provided a list of suggested works.
Presented as Richard Colton owned and enjoyed it complete with uprated front disc brakes, 10177 is accompanied by correct-type Dunlop callipers and has recently undergone Classiche certification. Also present are its original book pack (including guarantee card), tool kit and MOT certificate valid until May 2016.
Notable as the Maranello Concessionaires demonstrator and offered for sale for the first time since 1974, this much-loved 275GTB/4 is surely worthy of another long-term custodian especially as its sale promises to do so much for so many.
Our thanks go to: Tony Willis, Keith Bluemel, John Sykes, Dudley and Sally Mason Styrron and Joe Macari and Andrew Gill at Joe Macari Performance Cars
|Reg Number:||RCO 777|
Imperial War Museum Duxford
Cambridgeshire. CB22 4QR
Europe's largest historic aviation centre, IWM Duxford is not only home to some of the most iconic aircraft ever made but also to many of the skilled engineers and fabricators who keep them in the air. The magnificent AirSpace building makes for a fantastic auction hall with the likes of a Spitfire, Harrier and Concorde 'overseeing' the bidding. A stone's throw from Junction 10 of the M11 motorway, IWM Duxford has hosted our highest grossing sale to date and witnessed numerous world record prices being set.
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