The 275GTB is still one of the most beloved Ferraris because it is seen as the last “classical Ferrari” built under the guidance of Enzo Ferrari. From its classical look, you can see a stronger visual link to the previous 250GT cars than the exotic design found in the following Dino and Daytona. From mechanical point of view, its front-engined layout and small-capacity version of the Colombo V12 followed the formula set by Enzo himself. After the 275GTB, Maranello would move away from this formula…
Every good old Ferrari must have a beautiful appearance penned by Pininfarina. 275GTB was no exception. Its slim nose, long long engine compartment and side ventilation louvers gave a shark-like appearance, far more aggressive than its direct predecessor 250GT Lusso. The bodywork of this production Ferrari sports car was made of steel, with aluminum bonnet, trunk lid and doors to save weight. The chassis was all new. Although it kept the compact size and 2400mm wheelbase from its predecessor, it got an independent double-wishbones suspensions at the rear to replace the old rigid axle. Moreover, it employed a rear-mounted transaxle (i.e. gearbox + differential) to improve weight distribution. The 275GTB was much more advanced than any previous road-going Ferraris.
The engine it used was the last evolution of the “small” Colombo V12. It displaced 3285cc, or around 275cc each cylinder, hence giving the name of the car. Compare with the legendary 250 engine, it had the bore enlarged from 75 to 77mm while keeping the stroke at a relatively short 58.8mm. Unsurprisingly, this V12 engine was extremely revvy. It produced 280 horsepower at a sky-high 7500 rpm, enabling Ferrari to claim 160 mph top speed.
But that might be not enough. At the same year, a new Italian sports car company launched a new grand tourer powered by a 3.5-litre quad-cam V12. The company was called “Lamborghini”, while the car named “350GT”. In contrast, Ferrari’s Colombo V12 was still running single overhead camshaft per bank. Two years later, Ferrari finally responded by introducing DOHC into the Colombo V12. It lifted the 3.3-litre engine to a full 300 horsepower at an even more astonishing 8000 rpm. Top speed was now revised to 165 mph. Besides, the engine was converted to dry-sump to improve lubrication at high cornering force. To distinguish the car, Ferrari called it 275GTB/4, where the 4 represented the number of camshafts.
On the road, however, the 275GTB never seemed to be as quick as claimed. Like many Ferraris (as well as Lamborghinis) of the era, its top speed was overrated. Its real ability seemed more like 155 mph. The V12 did not seemed to possess 300 horsepower, after all, it displaced only 3.3 litres thus the torque output was no more than a modern family car V6. Nevertheless, the car was sweet to handle. It had excellent balance, good steering feel and marvelous throttle steer. The linear power delivery enabled the car to power slide easily in bends. In short, it was great fun to drive.