1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 That Belonged to Steve McQueen Is Ready To Cruise in Santa Monica

Steve McQueen Ferrari 11 photos
Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Everyone links Steve McQueen's name to the famous Ford Mustang in Bullit and the best car chase in the history of cinema. He was this cool guy driving that cool car with the pedal to the metal, not thinking for a single second that both car and man on board might end up in pieces. But it's not just the Mustang of Mustangs that he got his hands on. Oh, no, sir, no way! This Ferrari 275 GTB/4 was one of the many cars that Steve McQueen owned. 
One of 330 examples made between 1966 and 1968 with bodywork by coachbuilding firm Scaglietti, this car is used to being in the spotlight. It was exhibited in Museo Ferrari in Maranello, Italy. It showed up at the Petersen Automotive Museum in California. It was on display at the Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza. And back in the 1960s, it was just the right car for Steve McQueen.

The King of Cool just had to have one. He wasn't just pretending to love cars on the screen. He was actually crazy about them in real life. He loved them raw and rough and everything in between and loved to drive them hard. He didn't need the service of a stuntman too often on the movie sets. He did the stunts himself when they involved cars. He had been a tank driver and mechanic in the United States Marine Corps. What would you expect from him? He would not just sit back in some luxury sedan while being chauffeured around. Not in a million years.

Race cars, sports cars, motorcycles, you name them. He owned them. He was, after all, one of the best-paid actors in Hollywood. He could afford pretty much everything that he laid his eyes on. His son, Chad, said that the actor owned around 100 classic motorcycles, as well as around 100 cars. But there was one car he was dreaming of owning and never did: one of the two Mustang GT 390s that he drove in Bullit and were especially modded to fit his driving style.

Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Photo: RM Sotheby's
One day, one of his Ferraris, a super rare 275 GTS/4 N.A.R.T. Spider, got rear-ended while he was waiting at a stoplight in Malibu. You could call McQueen anything but patient. He was 37 years old, and people around him called him unpredictable, vicious, and short-tempered. Instead of waiting for the soft-top grand tourer to be repaired, which would have taken months or even more than a year at the time, he ordered this V12-powered 296-horsepower (300 PS) 275 GTB/4 Berlinetta to replace it.

Chassis number 10621, the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 looked totally different back then than it does today. McQueen purchased it in Nocciola (hazelnut) with Nero leather interior through the then-famous Hollywood Sport Cars dealership in December 1967. But he did not like the color combo. So he took it straight to his car guru, Lee Brown, for a repaint. Brown was the one who had also carried out the mods on the iconic Ford Mustang GT 390 that starred in Bullit in 1968.

When it drove through the gate of the workshop, the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 wore a unique shade of maroon that Lee Brown proudly called Chianti Red. Yes, Chianti, like the Tuscany-made wine. McQueen asked Brown to fit in two components from the Ferrari 275 GTS/4NART Spider: the Borrani wire wheels and the side-view mirror from the driver-side fender.

Steve McQueen's Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Photo: RM Sotheby's
So you can imagine the last thing he could do was to keep a low profile while cruising in this Chianti Red Prancing Horse. The King of Cool thought his Ferrari was not that cool anymore in 1971, when he sold it to fellow actor Guy Williams. Five years later, the car ended up in the hands of a police officer in Los Angeles. In 1980, Robert Panella, the head of a trucking company from Stockton, California, bought the Berlinetta that had got damaged in a crash. He wanted a spider, though. So he entrusted Robert Straman of Costa Mesa with the conversion.

Panella eventually sold it in 1997. By 2009, the model belonged to ex-Porsche factory driver and 1983 Le Mans winner Vern Schuppan. He was the one who wanted to make it a Berlinetta back again and asked for the help of Ferrari Classiche, the carmaker's in-house restoration program. The team rebuilt the roof and repainted the car in bright Chianti Red as a tribute to Steve McQueen.

In August 2014, British collector David Moores bought the Ferrari at the RM Auctions in Monterey, California, for a staggering $10 million. Moores was the one who entered it in the Villa d'Este Concorso d’Eleganza in 2016.

It now goes again under the hammer, fully certified with a Ferrari Classiche Red Book, in Monterey next month. This time it is expected to fetch up to $7 million.
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