This Ferrari 275 GTS is for life, not just for the summer
There are countless, predominantly modern treasures in the Joe Macari Performance Cars assembly area, but one, a gleaming sky-blue Ferrari 275 GTS, stands out head and shoulders above the others. Its V12 is warming through with a steady and spine-tingling thrum, as four distinct trails of condensation pour generously from the exhaust tips and dissipate into the bracing autumnal air.
Seasons change, cars don't
We’re about to stretch this blue beauty’s legs on a mid-morning cruise around South-West London, to demonstrate that classic drop-tops aren’t rendered obsolete as soon as the leaves begin to fall. In fact, we think there’s a certain satisfaction to be had from snatching a short drive in the precious hours of daylight, when wrapping up and braving the brisk temperatures is more than worth it for a spirited hour or so behind the wheel.
A large proportion of the 200 Ferrari 275 GTSs designed and built by Pininfarina (including this one) were sold across the pond – an inevitability given the Americans’ proven appetite for drop-top Grand Tourers. Despite looking drastically different to the more softly styled berlinetta model it was launched alongside in 1964, the GTS was mechanically very similar, sharing virtually the same underpinnings.
Whether you deem the sultry coupé the better-looking sister is beside the point – the Ferrari 275 GTS has long been considered one of the prettiest cabriolets ever designed, and rightly so. And beneath this morning’s brilliant sunshine, this example’s glimmering Azzurro Metallizzato bodywork is seizing the attention of almost every passer-by, many of whom simply stop dead in their tracks to ogle the car purring past.
Never miss a beat
Dominated by that large wood-rimmed Nardi steering wheel and those two prominent Veglia dials, the interior of the 275 is a triumph, and remarkably spacious thanks in part to the use of a five-speed transaxle gearbox – a first for a Ferrari road car. The very earliest examples even accommodated three people. Sunk low in the sumptuous tan Connolly leather chairs, protected from the biting wind, we’re keen to savour every second of this sensational experience.
As we take our first tentative steps onto the (mercifully quiet) open road, the tractability of the 275 becomes clear to see and feel. Its Colombo V12 doesn’t miss a beat, and while it might be a mildly detuned version of that found in the GTB, it’s certainly not lacking in pace, nor aural charisma. A dip below a railway bridge presents an opportunity to hear the car come on song. As the three Webers gulp down air, the ensuing symphony is pure ecstasy, and far more aggressive than its slinky appearance would lead you to believe.
A lesson to live by
Ticking itself cool beside the river while we stop for a doppio espresso, the 275 can’t help but enchant with its charm and ravishing good looks. Of course, to liberally use such a car over the course of a summer in the South of France would no doubt prove an utter joy and yes, it does embody la dolce vita beautifully. But we think there’s an even greater sense of occasion while using the Grand Tourer at a time when you ordinarily wouldn’t. Remember, a classic convertible is for life, and not just for the summer, so get out and enjoy yours in the coming months...
Photos: Tom Horna / Autohouse London for Classic Driver © 2016