The Ferrari formerly owned by Steve McQueen has been in the news lately. Good job too because it reminded us of just how pretty it was. It was also the first Fezza to feature an independent rear suspension and the first to ditch those wire wheels.
Good looks, money to burn and women falling at his feet. Yep, king of cool, Steve McQueen, had it all. If that wasn't enough, the legendary actor also had one heck of a collection of cars that included a Porsche 917, a Jaguar D-Type XKSS and a Shelby Cobra 289 Roadster. They were all great cars but perhaps the prettiest of the lot was his Ferrari 275 GTB4.
That car has been in the news lately because it's going back to Maranello to have its roof rebuilt by the new Ferrari Classiche department. It was lopped off by a previous owner in the Eighties, which wasn't so unusual back then because a Spider version was far more valuable.
However, the latest owner has sent it back to the factory, which it left in 1968, for a full restoration. We wonder what McQueen would have made of all this fuss. After all, he didn't buy his cars to keep in the garage — he loved nothing more than to drive them, and drive them hard. In fact, he had his GTB4 delivered on the set of one of the greatest movies of all time — Bullitt. We wonder what Ford would have made of that...
When he wasn't burning rubber around the streets of San Francisco in that GT390 by day, he was tearing them up in his brand spanking new Fezza by night. And then he'd be seen turning up at the swankiest places in town with it. It could be suave and sophisticated one minute and an all-out street brawler the next.
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The two-seat, front-engined Ferrari was built between 1964 and 1968. It replaced the 250 and was an absolute stunner. It featured a 3.3-litre V12 mated to a five-speed manual and produced around 300bhp. The Pininfarina-designed body boasted curves in all the right places while the ‘transaxle' concept, whereby the tranny and rear axle were integrated, was introduced by Ferrari. This improved the grand tourer's handling, made it sound less clunky and reduced vibration. It was also the first roadgoing Ferrari with an independent rear suspension, while its other claim to famewas that it was the first one not to featurewire wheels.
Its Colombo V12 featured two valves per cylinder and it had four cams and six carburettors. Its top speed of 266kph meant that it was an exceptionally quick car — and that was right up McQueen's alley. When he wasn't in front of the camera, he was out on the streets in any one of his exotic beauties and pushing it to the limit.
These days, classic Ferraris fetch ridiculous amounts of money. For example, the 250 GTO built for Sterling Moss in the early Sixties was sold for $35 million (roughly Dh130 million) at auction — a world record.
And, since just 280 GTB4s were produced, chances are one of those would fetch a figure just as obscene.