A gem of a car was auctioned at Sotheby’s in August of 2014. A 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB-C Speciale sold for an amazing $26,400,000. This was among the most rare Ferraris from the mid 1960s to ever be offered to an elite class of bidders with the resources to take the price up so far. It boggles the mind that a vehicle from this era can be so valuable. This was a historic sale and it piques our interest in learning more about the vintage Ferrari that is considered to be a collector’s dream.
From swap shop and flea markets to Sotheby’s
The story behind the 1964 Ferrari 275-GTB-C Speciale that went for more than $26 million is one that bears re-telling. Preston Henn was an entrepreneur, race car driver, owner of a racing team and an avid collector of super cars. He passed away in April of 2014 and his collection of rare and valuable cars would be put up for auction by the family. He had built an empire with his Florida based Swap Shop franchise in the early 1960s. In addition to indoor and outdoor flea markets, he also owned several outdoor movie theaters. He was 86 years old at the time of his passing from natural causes, but had lived a full life which included racing his Gunnar Porsche 935, which was a part of his collection. Among his many expensive collectibles was the 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale, according to a report issued by Motorauthority.
The value of the $26 million Ferrari
There are those who wonder how a car could possibly come to reach such a high value. For the 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB-C Speciale, there happens so be few factors. It’s a Ferrari, which makes it expensive and valuable. The condition of the car at the time of the sale also increases its value but there is so much more. We learned from Hemmings that this is a works competition Ferrari which is an exclusive vehicle within the Ferrari lineup. There were a total of 453 275 GTB models made for sale to the general republic but the 275 GTB-C Specials which are special editions made by Mranello only numbered a total of three, making them ultra-rare examples from the larger group. Another noteworthy aspect of the three is that they have a documented hsitory for being created specifically for the 1965 running of the 24 Hours at Le Mans, which grants them yet another special notch in the food chain.
A serious competition Berlinetta
The exceptionally rare 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale was given a chassis number 06701 as a means of authentication that left no doubt as to the history of the vehicle. This particular car was delivered to the Sotheby’s auction held at Pebble Beach, CA in pristine condition. Preston Henn knew precisely what he had and he took excellent care of this prized possession. The specs on this 24 Hours at LeMans racer are equally impressive for the time of its development. It’s powered by a 3.3 liter V-12 engine that conjures 320 horsepower, mated with a manual five speed transmission. One of its sister cars finished in third place at the 1965 Le Mans race but this example remained a road car which was in remarkably high demand because of its extreme rarity.
The very appearance of this car had a magical drawing power, even if you didn’t know that it was just one of three ever produced. Another attribute which sets it in a class of its own is the significance in the history and evolution of Ferrari racing technology. This was the car that took the next step from the Ferrari GTO concept with Italian styling, and its bodywork boasting a lightweight aluminum construction. The engine was designed to improve the center of gravity to optimize it for racing with a lower mounting positioning. When it comes to creating value, none of the small details are overlooked in this magnificent machine.
Impeccable tracking of all three of the rare 1964 Ferrari 275 GTBC Speciale’s has been maintained and the other two of its siblings are still in existence and are currently owned by private collectors. This car is fully vetted with a paper trail of documentation that goes along with it from the date of release from the manufacture and delivery to its first owner, to the present. The $26.4 million car has made several appearances at car shows throughout the world, living up to its celebrity persona throughout the decades.
It’s always a pleasure to further explore the elements of a fine collectible such as the 1964 Ferrari 275 GTBC Speciale because there is always something new to learn. Whether its in tracing its lineage and original intention at the time of design and release, to the places that it’s been in the world and all of the history which has helped in creating the value that is currently placed on the vehicle. The backstories of such vehicles are always, without exception, interesting and we discoverer new facts about the makers, the designers and the various owners who have nurtured and cared for them. In this example, we have documentation of its significance in the history of Ferrari and of racing. It’s representative of an era in racing history, and in the forward progression of the Berlinetta, serving as replacement for the GTO line through the more common variants of the breed, which numbered slightly more than 450 examples. This and its two siblings reign as royalty with special attributes, yet maintaining the DNA that binds this special family of Ferrari vehicles together and even though this car was not the hard driven racer that competed at Le Mans, it certainly could have.