Steve McQueen’s Ferrari 275 GTB/4 goes up for auction

This rare Ferrari coupe was once owned by Hollywood heartthrob Steve McQueen and was meticulously restored over a decade ago with the financial backing of an Australian racing star.

A Ferrari 275 GTB/4 first owned by Steve McQueen is going up for auction in California later this year, following its most recent sale for more than $10 million nearly 10 years ago.

Listed by RM Sotheby’sthe 1967 ferrari The 275 GTB/4 is one of 330 examples built between 1966 and 1968 with bodywork from the iconic bodybuilder Scaglietti, although this particular car has the rare accolade of being owned by Hollywood movie star Steve McQueen.

By 1967, McQueen had already starred alongside some of the world’s biggest actors in The seven magnificents and The big escapewhile his auto-focused roles in bullitt and le mans they were yet to come.

McQueen had owned the convertible version of the Ferrari 275 GTB/4, officially known as the NART Spider, but after the soft-top gran turismo was in an accident, he bought this red, V12-powered coupe from Chic Vandagriff at Hollywood Sport Cars.

Although the actor was given Nocciola (hazelnut) gold metallic paint, McQueen reportedly asked his mechanic Lee Brown, who had worked on the iconic Ford Mustang in bullitt – to change its color to red, creating a color known as ‘Chianti Red’.

Several parts from the Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider carried over to the coupe, including the Borrani spoke wheels and bespoke rear view mirror, before McQueen finally sold the car to fellow actor Guy Williams in 1971.

Between 1971 and 2009, the Ferrari changed hands several times, eventually ending up in the UK as a silver car before Vern Schuppan, a retired Australian racing driver, bought the coupe in the late 2000s.

Schuppan, a former Formula One driver and winner of the 1983 Le Mans 24 Hours, bought the 275 GTB/4 with the intention of restoring it to McQueen’s exact specifications, resulting in South Australia shipping the car to Ferrari for a nut-and-bolt restoration.

The process included Ferrari’s in-house restoration program, known as Classiche, first painting the 275 GTB/4 in its original Nocciola paint before spraying it ‘Chianti Red’, using a sample Lee Brown provided to Italian restorers.

After a season at the Ferrari Museum in Maranello, Italy and the Petersen Automobile Museum in California, Schuppan sold the 275 GTB/4 a tan RM Sotheby’s auction in August 2014 for a staggering US$10,175,000 including fees, equivalent to nearly US$12,975,000 or A$19,130,000 today.

RM Sotheby’s it is slated to feature Steve McQueen’s Ferrari at its Monterey auction once more in August 2023, though it has yet to provide an estimate for how much the classic coupe could sell for.

Despite its McQueen connection, this red coupe isn’t the most expensive Ferrari 275 ever sold.

In August 2013, a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider sold for $27.5 million (A$52.5 million today) after it was bought by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll, current owner of Aston Martin and whose son, Lance, drives from the brand’s Formula One team.

McQueen made his fortune as a movie star in the 1960s and 1970s, spending much of his earnings on exotic cars and motorcycles.

At the peak of his career, McQueen was estimated to be one of the highest paid actors in Hollywood.

He died in 1980 at the age of 50 after undergoing experimental medical procedures in Mexico to treat cancer.

The previous year, McQueen had been diagnosed with mesothelioma, a cancer linked to asbestos exposure that, according to foreign reports, could have been the result of the material used in the flame retardant racing suits at the time.

FURTHER:Find used Ferrari cars for sale
FURTHER:Find used Ferrari cars for sale

Jordan Mulach

Jordan Mulach was born in Canberra/Ngunnawal and currently resides in Brisbane/Turrbal. Joining the Drive team in 2022, Jordan has previously worked for Auto Action, MotorsportM8, The Supercars Collective and TouringCarTimes, WhichCar, Wheels, Motor and Street Machine. Jordan is a self-described iRacing addict and can be found at the weekend behind the wheel of his Octavia RS or cursing in his ZH Fairlane.

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