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Bullitt's GTB4 gets its top back

2012-06-12 09:07

ALL RACKED UP: Steve McQueen's Ferrari GTO being changed from convertible back to coupe by Ferrari Classiche.

MARANELLO, Italy - Ferrari Classiche recently took delivery of one of its ultra-special products, the 275 GTB4 that originally belonged to American film hero Steve McQueen who took delivery in San Francisco in 1968 while the iconic movie 'Bullitt' was being filmed.

It became the movie known as having "the greatest car chase of all" - though better, perhaps, have followed.

The latest owner took the car to Ferrari Classiche for the company’s authenticity certification process, knowing that at some time during the 1980's, when under previous ownership, the car had been converted to a Spider.


Under the provisions of the certification process, a Ferrari can only be authenticated if it is to exactly the same specifications as when it left the factory. To this end, the new owner wisely decided to return the car to its original coupé form and Ferrari Classiche did the restoration by reproducing the roof and buttresses with hand-beaten steel panels.

Ferrari image gallery.

Ferraris continue to be an excellent investment, as has been shown in a recent report by Business Week on a private treaty sale for the equivalent of R280-million for a 250 GTO built for F1 icon Stirling Moss. That was a world-record price and celebrates the 50th anniversary of the launch in 1962 of this homologation special (hence the designation Gran Turismo Omologata), of which on 36 were built.

The cars achieved a seemingly endless series of victories in GT racing in the early 1960's, culminating in three consecutive Manufacturers' titles in 1962, ’63 and ’64.


The Ferrari 250 GTO has been revered in classic car circles for decades for its combination of thoroughbred looks, performance and motor sports heritage and, in 1990, a 1962 example set a then record auction price equivalent today to R88-million. This world record was to stand for 18 years until it was beaten in 2008 by another Ferrari, a 1961 250 California sold by RM Auctions in collaboration with Sotheby's in Maranello for maginally more in numbers - but less if you take inflation into account.

That record was again beaten in 2011 by the sale in Pebble Beach of a 1957 250 Testa Rossa for R131-million.

A considerable contribution to the interest for classic Ferraris in recent years has come from the company’s direct involvement, with its dedicated department providing certificates of authenticity which testify to the originality of a car. Ferrari Classiche, set up in 2006, has to date processed more than 3300 certification requests using exhaustive archive records and original designs.

Which do you think is the best car chase of all? Tell us in the Readers' Comments section below.

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