One of the three '65 GTOs' comes up for sale
After Bonhams 250GTO consignment the other blockbuster sale of Monterey Car Week is likely to be RM’s star lot, the Ferrari 275GTB Competitzione Speciale 6701GT. I have blogged about the 275 Speciale before when I considered what might be the most valuable car in private hands. Then I came to the conclusion that one of the other three Speciales, 6885GT, was the most valuable car and could be worth over $100m in the current market, a thought that is referred to in RM’s description for 6701GT. 6701GT does not have the same illustrious history as 6885GT, but is still a very interesting and highly desirable car in its own right.
The first of the three Speciales, 6701 was never used for competition in period, although it would have almost certainly been involved in initial testing of the Tipo. Visually it looks a little different to 6885 as it lacks the enlarged rear wings and ducktail spoiler of the latter. At the front the car features three 250GTO-style air intakes which were added in the early Seventies, presumably to aid cooling, something 6885 had issues with at Le Mans.
With testing finished, Ferrari sold 6701 to Pietro Ferraro who registered it for road use. In today’s terms that would be like registering a GTE-class Ferrari 458 car on the road. While externally it may look like a mildly modified 275GTB, it is a very different car mechanically. The bodywork is made of ultra-thin alloy while the chassis is made of thin lightweight tubes. The FIA homologated the Speciale at less than 1,000kg and that was after some negotiation with Ferrari who initially attempted to homologate the car at an even lower weight. The engine is to the same specification as that used in the 250 (275) LM and produces over 300bhp. It is also fitted with a dry sump to lower the engine in the chassis compared with a regular 275. All of this adds up to a car that has pretty serious performance by today’s standards, let alone in 1965!
Ferraro held onto the car for a few years and after that it has passed through a succession of owners, most notably Ferrari collector Brandon Wang who owned the car in the Nineties. During his custodianship the car was campaigned in a number of historic events. For the 97 Tour Auto, Wang handed the car over to former Ferrari F1 world Champion Phil Hill and his son Derek to drive. Unfortunately they were involved in a small accident during the event which left 6701 with a damaged left wing. As a result of this, Wang commissioned a full restoration which returned the car to its original metallic grey colour scheme. Since then it has passed through a couple more owners before ending up for sale in Monterey.
At the same sale last year RM sold one of the eleven 275 N.A.R.T. Spyders for $27.5m, and while RM have not released an estimate for 6701, I would not be surprised if it surpasses this total. The lack of competition pedigree means that it won’t get near the speculated values of 6885, but since the owner of the latter car, Preston Henn, has recently stated that he had no intention of selling, the sale of 6701 will be a rare opportunity to acquire the car often dubbed the 65 GTO. I’m off to see my bank manager about a car loan!
Original Ferrari V12 by Keith Bluemel.