‘Okay, so which one would you like?’ is a perfectly reasonable question to ask someone who’s just been presented with a tray of chocolates or who is mulling over which draught beer they’re going to start with. But when such a question is put to someone surveying the cars Chris Evans is selling with Bonhams at the Revival it can catch you somewhat off-guard.
We know this because that exact question was casually put to us just a few hours ago. Bonhams was serious as well; all we had to do was pick out a car and then we’d be taken out for a spin on the sleepy lanes around the Goodwood Estate. It was like a dream. We could go for the Ferrari Daytona Spyder, the 250 GT Lusso, the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta recreation, any of them … Even the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang replica.
Actually, Chitty had been in the reckoning, but truth be told we were always going to opt for the 275 GTB ‘Alloy’. It was the first road-going Ferrari to feature independent rear suspension and set the trend for future front-engined Ferraris with its Scaglietti coachwork. Its enlarged 3.3-litre, 280bhp, ‘Columbo’ V12 with supposed 7,600rpm capability might also have played a part in our decision process, also.
Having found ourselves rather absurdly pointing to the 275 from the incredible line up of Mr Evans‘ cars as the one we’d like to sample, it was carefully moved out of the enormous marquee and given a swift once over by the fastidious team who ensure that all of Bonhams’ cars are presented to a superior standard. A few minutes later we were beckoned into the passenger seat.
Contrary to some perceptions, the old Ferrari V12s are very strong and just a few turns of the crank sees this one bark into life and settle immediately into a steady idle from stone cold. The gearboxes do apparently work best when circulated with warm oil and so with first gear gently engaged we were off. Our route was to be only a few miles and perhaps a cheeky run up the Goodwood hill, so there was no time for small talk; all of our attention being focused on the 275 and how it sounded, behaved and felt.
Sport Auto journalist Jose Roskinski described the car as being ‘…a thoroughbred, with luxury devoid of excess…’ and this describes things on the inside very well indeed. It manages to feel like a very special place to be, but without too much frippery. Drive it in a relaxed manner and it feels like a car you’d be happy to tour in for many hours. But constantly simmering away beneath the surface is that engine, which gives the impression that you’d get a better understanding of the car by doing Milan and back in a weekend and at a brisk pace, rather than a relaxed voyage along the the Cote D’Azur and ending up in a fine Genovese hotel. Not that we’d exactly pass on the opportunity to experience the latter.
Some of the roads around the estate present a challenge to the Ferrari’s ride quality which it passes surprisingly easily bearing in mind the race-bred nature of its suspension. In search of a quiet section of smooth blacktop we took to the Goodwood hill, at the top of which we took some of the photos you see here. On the way back down our driver willingly agreed to our tentative request to hear the V12 pile on some revs along the finish straight at the top of the course. It pulled hard and without hesitation, but far more apparent than the performance was the sound, which must truly rank amongst the very finest and most evocative aural experiences a car can provide. It’s all cams and chains and a unison of howling induction over a basso thrum from the 12 cylinders. What a machine. What majesty.
All too soon our little run was over and the car swung back in to Bonhams’ marquee to be greeted by the same team who prepared it for our drive. After a round of sincere thanks to Bonhams we went for lunch… in our Mondeo.
On Saturday the car will be sold at Bonhams auction, which starts at 10:30am. We’ll be there, regretting that our hands must stay firmly in our pockets since the upper estimate is £2,900,000. If, unlike us, you do though have the means to try to make the 275 yours, we can at least confirm that it is a very special piece of kit and will likely make you tingle every time you drive it. While we’re there, might we also see what Mr Evans chooses to replace it with?
Click here for the list of lots and a full description of the Ferrari.
Photography: Tom Shaxson