Monterey, 5 June, 2014
A 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Competitizione Clienti, s/n 7477, built as a special
order for early American Ferrari patron Alfred Ducato, will be offered for the
first time in the automobile’s nearly fifty-year history at the Rick Cole
Auction in Monterey, California. This exceptionally rare piece of Ferrari
history is one of ten special 275 GTBs built as part of Maranello’s effort to
homologate the 275 GTB as the successor to the 250 GTO for the FIA
Grand Touring championship in 1965, and is thought to be the most original
and complete example to survive. The car has been in a private collection
for the past twenty-five years and unseen by anyone. The total original
mileage from new is 9,449 (15,207 km). The Ducato Ferrari 275 GTB
Competizione Clienti remains in complete and original condition and is
being offered publicly for the first time since 1965.
The auction of the 275 GTB, together with about 35 other rare cars, will be
headquartered at The Marriott Hotel in downtown Monterey. All vehicle
sales will be conducted utilizing complimentary registration afforded to
attendees, telephone, internet or smartphone bidders. Bidding will take
place during the period between August 14th and 17th. Winning bidders will
be announced at 12:00 midnight PST on Sunday, August 17th. See
www.rickcole.com for additional vehicle and bidding information.
Alfred Ducato and Ferrari
Alfred Ducato was an early and prominent patron of Ferrari, leading to a
rare close association with Enzo Ferrari that included ongoing personal
correspondence between the two men, exchanges of gifts and, reportedly,
hosting the Commendatore in Ducato’s Hillsboro, California home. Writing
in the May 2014 issue of Classic and Sports Car, Mick Walsh described,
“A glorious group of such renowned (Ferrari) customers as Gianni Agnelli,
Alfred Ducato and King Leopold.”
Beginning in 1951, Alfred Ducato owned a sequence of twelve-cylinder
Ferraris that began a 36-year love affair with the marque and the
automobiles. Most were ordered through Luigi Chinetti, with whom Ducato
also formed a close and enduring friendship. Among these earliest Ferraris
were a 195 Inter Vignale coupe, a 212 Inter Vignale coupe that had been
the Geneva show car, and a magnificent 375 MM Pinin Farina coupe. The
Ducato-owned Ferraris are still identified today by their original association.
According to Robert Devlin writing in Cavallino, the 212 Inter Vignale coupe
was received by Ducato in San Francisco the day before the 1953 Pebble
Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car had been slightly damaged in
shipping, and Ducato worked with friends through the night to make repairs
before driving the Ferrari down to the Monterey Peninsula with his wife
Marie where they represented Ferrari.
Alfred Ducato’s correspondence with Enzo Ferrari took the form of
telegrams, cards, letters, and Christmas greetings. Some of these were to
provide specifications for Ferraris being built to special order; others
typically expressed the buyer’s eagerness in anticipation of receiving the
next new Ferrari and how it was being shipped. But Enzo Ferrari also came
to rely on Alfred Ducato’s correspondence to provide first hand reports and
clippings of early Ferraris being raced in the U.S.
One letter to Ferrari described a young Phil Hill’s victory in the 1955 Pebble
Beach Road Races.
Ferrari’s reply to Ducato read, “Thank you for the newspapers concerning
the race, and if you have the opportunity to meet Mr. Hill again in the
future, please tell him my compliments and admiration; this young man
shows a great skill in every race, and worthy of attention.”
Ferrari shared detailed information with Ducato about the racing cars, as
well as development of new road cars. Here, also in 1955:
“The F1 cars in Argentina suggested to us a lot of modifications for the
single seat cars, though they went nicely in their present condition. As to
the sports cars, I decided to send to Sebring three cars . . .”
“I have decided to build a small series of Fast Touring, 4900 cc, which
derive directly from your car, and from those of King Leopold of Belgium
and Count H. Sonsky, delivered at the end of last month.
Pinin Farina built on the first chassis a two-seater, saloon, two-door body,
according to the classic line you know already. I will send you in a few days
a picture of this car, asking you to let me know your valuable point of
The correspondence between the two men was also remarkably personal
at times, such as this 1956 letter from Enzo Ferrari to Alfred Ducato
shortly after the death of Ferrari’s son, Dino:
“My dear friend, Mr. Ducato: I received your kind letter dated 20th of July,
which brought to me your kind, sincere condolences, as a true friend, for
the great sorrow of my wife and mine. You were among the few who knew
my trembling, short hopes and discouragements for the unsteady health of
my beloved son.”
The special bond between the two men, Alfred Ducato in America and
Enzo Ferrari in Italy, lasted to the ends of their lives, Ducato passing away
in 1987 and Ferrari in 1988.
Alfred Ducato was an early customer for the 250 series Ferraris, beginning
with a Pinin Farina designed 250 GT coupe finished in two-tone silver with a
burgundy roof. Others included a unique 250 GT California Spyder, a 250
GT SWB and a 250 GT Lusso. These regular orders for the latest 250
series Ferraris continued to 1965…and the new 3.3-liter 275 GTB.
By 1963, it had become clear to Ferrari that development of the 3-liter 250
GT had reached its limits. Development was underway for a new car that
was intended to replace both the 250 GT SWB and the 250 GTO; a new
Berlinetta that would continue the tradition of dual-purpose Ferraris for road
275 GTB Competizione Clienti
The Ferrari designed to replace the 250 GT series was the 275, introduced
in Paris in the fall of 1964 as the 275 GTB coupe and the 275 GTS spyder.
The aggressive shark-like profile of the 275 GTB became an icon of 60’s
design. Underneath the skin, the 275 was also a more modern automobile
– the first production Ferrari with independent rear suspension and the first
to utilize a transaxle that moved the gearbox into a unit with the rear axle,
providing the car with almost perfect balance front to rear. The 3.3-liter V-12
produced 275-280 hp in standard trim. A six Weber carburetor option
provided an additional 20 hp.
The 275 GTB was designed to be raced, but was soon found to be
unexpectedly in the midst of one of Enzo Ferrari’s legendary feuds with the
FIA. The 250 GTO successfully brought the FIA GT championship to
Ferrari in 1963 and 1964. The unexpectedly close competition from
Shelby’s Cobras in 1964, however, made it clear that something better than
the GTO was needed to defend the championship in 1965.
Ferrari proposed the mid-engine 250 LM – designed for Le Mans – as their
entry for the 1965 GT championship. The FIA rejected Ferrari’s proposal on
the grounds that the 250 LM clearly was designed as a sports prototype
racer, leaving Ferrari without a competitive entry.
Ferrari built four special lightweight 275 GTB ‘specials’ that were also
rejected by the FIA. Finding his options quickly narrowing for the 1965
racing season, Enzo Ferrari authorized construction of an alloy-bodied
competition version of the 275 GTB that was closer to the production car.
Outwardly, these cars were distinguished by three additional cooling slots
in the rear quarters and a racing-style fuel filler mounted on the right side of
the car. Only ten cars were built.
Given his long relationship with Ferrari, and having already taken delivery of
a production 275 GTB, Alfred Ducato was high on the list when Ferrari
offered the ten competition cars to customers in 1965 – the Competizione
275 GTB s/n 7477
The ten 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti were supposed to be
sold primarily to private teams, who would ultimately race the cars with
significant success in 1965, including the Targa Florio, the Nurburgring, Le
Mans, and Nassau in the Bahamas. One Clienti finished 3rd overall and 1st
in GT at the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Perhaps alone among the ten 1965 competition 275 GTB’s, the automobile
purchased by Alfred Ducato was never raced. What it did represent for its
new owner was the ultimate 275 GTB one could own for the road. As a
result, this car may now be the only complete and original 1965 Ferrari 275
GTB Competizione Clienti in the world.
This 275 GTB was delivered new to Mr. Ducato at Maranello and driven in
Europe before being shipped to California. As delivered, and still today, the
car is finished in Rosso Corsa red with a tan interior. The car is entirely
original other than the paint, which was beginning to show crazing by the
early 1990s. It was carefully refinished to an extremely high standard and
reassembled using all of the original rubber.
The interior is untouched from new. The seats are finished in tan leather
with fabric inserts, intended for racing, and still smelling new nearly fifty
years after the car was built. The center console and door panels are
finished in grained tan leather. The door sills, under dash, kick panels and
the bulkhead panel behind the two seats are covered in tan leatherette, as
are all GTBs. The carpets are tan with leatherette trim. The dashboard is
trimmed in black, surrounding the gauges and switches with matched-grain
wood that also lines the center console.
The engine is the Colombo-designed 3.3-liter V-12 with single overhead
camshafts. This car is equipped with the six Weber carburetor option,
producing approximately 300 hp as originally rated, mated with a 5-speed
transaxle. Disc brakes are fitted all around.
Two sets of wheels, alloy Ferrari wheels and polished Borrani wire wheels,
are provided with the car. The original alloy spare wheel and tire, mounted
vertically in the trunk filled by the 37-gallon racing fuel tank, have never
been on the ground.
Alfred Ducato maintained ownership of s/n 7477 for twenty-two years, and
it could be considered the penultimate Ferrari he ever purchased. The last
was a Daytona Spyder Mrs. Ducato saw in Luigi Chinetti’s showroom,
purchased on the spot and had flown to California so she would not have to
wait to drive it.
Terry Price became acquainted with Alfred Ducato while working in the
shop that maintained the Ducato Ferraris. One of the cars was the 275
GTB Competizione Clienti. Price never forgot this Ferrari, nor has ever been
far from the car.
Following Alfred Ducato’s death Mrs. Ducato asked Gene Babow, a close
family friend and respected Ferrari authority, to value the unraced, low
mileage Ferrari. An arrangement was made between Mrs. Ducato and Terry
Price to find a new home for the 275 GTB Competizione Clienti. This was
accomplished in a 1987 private exchange that brought s/n 7477 quietly into
the sympathetic conservatorship of Ferrari dealer, Ed Wettach, where it
remained until the early 1990s. During this period, s/n 7477 participated in
two significant events – the 1987 Chicago Historic and the 1989 Ferrari
Club of America National Concours at Watkins Glen, New York.
A second transfer of conservatorship was made in the early 1990s when
s/n 7477 passed into an unnamed private collection where it remained until
Terry Price, today a partner in Rick Cole Auctions, arranged both of the
car’s ownership transfers.
This exceptional Ferrari has been thoroughly inspected and authenticated.
Over 400 hours have been lovingly spent on the car going over all systems
and components that have seen a total of just 332 road miles since leaving
Alfred Ducato’s garage. This has been the first comprehensive service
performed on the car in decades of careful storage.
The fuel system, water pump, brake system and shock absorbers have all
been carefully disassembled, inspected, and rebuilt, taking care that the
external components remain original. Wear components such as the
carburetor accelerator pumps, fuel lines, and brake lines have been
replaced for safety and reliability in order to fully enjoy the original
performance of this unique automobile. The disc brakes and calipers have
been disassembled, inspected and rebuilt.
Any original parts removed during the recent servicing of the car have been
retained and will be provided with the sale of the automobile.
The Ferrari is exceptional in every way. The car has been road tested and
is ready to be enjoyed by a new owner as a preservation award contender
in Concours d’Elegance, or any number of tours in any of which would be
guaranteed to be a first rank participant in overall appearance and
A New Method of Buying for the Auction World
Bidders participating in the 2014 Rick Cole Monterey Auction will be given
the option to place bids in person on the auction site or by smartphone.
Complimentary bidder registration is now available in advance of the
auction on the web at www.rickcole.com or similarly by smartphone, iPad
In order to enjoy all of the activities of the Monterey week, bidders will be
able to place, review and confirm bids from anywhere they are, eliminating
the need entirely to sit or stand for hours in a typical live auction venue.
Bidders will be able to inspect the automobiles at their leisure over a
four-day display period and place bids regardless of their location or
The auction will be held at the Monterey Marriott hotel. The auction begins
Thursday, August 14, 2014 and bidding will end at 12:00 pm Sunday
August 17, 2014.
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