A Closer Look at the Preston Henn Collection 275 GTB-C Speciale

Preston Henn Collection 275 GTB-C Speciale

Fifty-five years ago, Ferrari built a special edition car with the intention of racing it in the FIA GT class racing competitions. The name of the exclusive fast car is the Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale with the C indicating Competizione. This vehicle is valued at a hefty $27.5 million today. It was previously a part of the Preston Henn collection. It’s a remarkable piece of history and there is a good reason for its high valuation. The circumstances under which this exotic and rare find, along with its story are well worth retelling, and if you’re a vintage Ferrari enthusiast, you’ll find the history of this particular race car to be fascinating. The unusual events surrounding this car’s history makes it even more unique as a tale that will go down in the history books of the luxury brand’s most expensive and storied models. Here, we take a closer look at the $27.5 million Preston Henn collection 275 GTB/C Speciale.

The history of the Henn collection 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale

Ferrari approved the creation of a special class of race car for 1964. The bodies were designed and built by Scaglieti, and the rest was the design of Pininfarina. These vehicles were inspired by the road car of the same name, minus the C designation, and succeeded the 250 GTO. The uniqueness was that they were specially modified for the race track with notable differences when compared to the road versions. The thickness of the aluminum body panels was cut in half and the chassis tubes were also reduced in thickness, all for the sake of a weight reduction of over 300 pounds.

Landing in an unusual location for a rare race car

The car would end up in storage at a flea market owned by millionaire, collector and former race car driver himself, Mr. Preston Henn, but not before it won its share of races. The first competition wasn’t a success, but at the 24 hours of Le Mans in 1965, it emerged as third for a win, sharing the podium with two fellow Ferrari’s of the 250 LM persuasion. The car made its way to the North American Racing Team, going on to win the Nassau Grand Prix. Afterward, it was acquired by Preston Henn and it sat in one of his three Swap Shop flea markets for several decades.  Upon his death, the ultra-rare example was discovered and his family was charged with making the decision about what they would do with it. The history of this car is a bit unusual for an example that is, to begin with, one of the rarest cars in the world, and to add to its value, a racer with a pedigree record for winning in competition, lastly, a special vintage car that has survived through the decades, kept under cover at a flea market. Clearly a museum piece, it was hidden from the world until the owner passed away and his collections which included several high dollar vehicles in addition to this one, had to be dealt with. The circumstances make for an interesting and historical story.

What makes this car so valuable?

This particular vehicle was made with the chassis number 6885, which serves as a proper means of authentication. This is an important factor for distinguishing each of the models built from their siblings. The car under examination was equipped with a 3.3 liter V 12 engine and sat low in the chassis with a 330 horsepower output which beat the road versions by some 70 hp. There were only three 275 GTB/C Speciale models ever built. This means that it was an extremely limited edition created for one purpose and that was racing. What makes chassis 6885 even rarer is the fact that out of the three, it is the only one that was actually ever raced in competition. The other two are the chassis number 6701 and 7185. The first was sold in 2014 for the price of $26.4 million at an RM Auction without a racing history and the second, falling into the same category has become the property of a private collector.We can compare the difference between the racer’s sibling without the racing pedigree which sold for $26.4 million at a Sotheby’s auction. The Preston Henn collection 27 GTB-C Speciale was finally offered for auction and it sold for $27.4 million, topping its sibling by a cool million. The two out of 3 special competition edition Ferrari’s belong to an elite group of ultra-rare cars which are among the top ten most expensive Ferrari’s in the history of the brand so far. The lower priced car with its own story underwent its share of restoration work, which took an estimated four years to complete, and it was presented in a gray coloring while its more impressive sibling was presented in a bright canary yellow.

Final thoughts

The 1964 Ferrari 275 GTB-C Speciale, chassis number 6885 has finally surfaced in the eyes of the public and has been properly placed back in circulation, if just for a few months and received the proper recognition that it was due. It seems a shame to hide such an important part of Ferrari and racing history in an environment that did not allow for its enjoyment by enthusiasts. It seems only fitting that this model was sold for a higher auction price than its sibling which didn’t rack up the miles on the racetrack, nor did it win any of the events that it was created to compete in, to begin with. The number 6885 is the one single race car that fulfilled its original intention and it comes with a story that bears re-telling. The car could arguably be considered one of the most important single Ferrari’s ever produced, simply because of its rich and storied past.

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