Vellum Venom: Ferrari 275 GTB

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta
vellum venom ferrari 275 gtb

I apologize for torturing you, dear reader, with over-analysis of absolutely mundane machinery for far too long. I blame it on my style–or lack thereof–as a student at the College of Creative Studies. So on Christmas Day, how about I let you in on another secret? No matter which bias (American, German, Japanese) got you into car design school, everyone loved Ferraris. This predominantly male student body often equated a Ferrari’s universal gorgeousness with that of the female anatomy. Surprised?

Under the lenses of a design student born in the 1970s, a Ferrari of this vintage has no reference point or historical attraction. Well, at least not a good one: I absolutely adore the 250 GTO after I purchased the 1:18th scale Bburago model when I was a child. Compared to the long, low and mean 250 GTO built solely for race homologation, the 275 GTB looks cute, soft and distinctly Miata like.

Is comparing the 275 GTB to the 250 GTO a fool’s errand? Perhaps.

It needs to lose a good 20 lbs in the face. The headlight buckets are too big for the lights themselves. The fenders are fat with no toned muscles underneath. Worst of all, the transition from front fascia, hood, hood bulge, and fenders lack definition stemming from toned, muscular stampings. What you see here is just plain fat.

No flab and lack of definition here. The egg crate grille that’s a Ferrari hallmark looks mighty tasty from here. Nicely sunken in with a deep chrome lip around it. The craftsmanship is stunning in person. Plus, exposed mechanical bits are cool. I’m digging the easy-access radiator cap, but I trying it is probably a bad idea at a Fezza dealership.

The 275’s overt roundness isn’t so obvious when you focus on the middle, without the headlights and the fenders. But even here, compared to the 250, the hood has round cut lines that accentuate the chubbiness. With so many round lines, the square hood mohawk in the center has no complimentary forms to blend with. This one bit of toned muscle needs some “friends” on the rest of the 275’s face.

While there’s too much round elsewhere, the very bulbous windscreen is a work of art. Visibility must be pretty fantastic inside there.

See how the toned and “muscular” roundness of the headlight itself makes no sense in the fat, amorphic blob of its oval case? Yes, things like this keep me awake at night.

Well it looks better from this angle. But still, if the middle of this oval was sucked in a touch like duckface on some chick’s profile pic on twitter, the Ferrari would look much longer, lower and sexier. Not that duckface is sexy…

And yes, the 275 GTB has a lot of length to promote. Why not suck the lense in to highlight this car’s fantastic proportions? This isn’t a CUV that needs to mask all its heft with eye-catching headlight amoebas!

I once said “a Ferrari is whatever the hell Pininfarina says it is” in my Testarossa review…now watch me back pedal.

Perhaps not everything is fat and/or chubby on the 275. The thin, delicate space between the headlight and chrome wisp of bumper is very elegant. And taut. Muscular, with the frenched-in signal light. How lovely!

The fender starts to look a little plump here, but that teardrop-shaped turn signal is absolutely fantastic. Considering this is the perfect aerodynamic shape found in nature, why don’t we have more side marker lights looking like this? The imagery, complete with that delicate chrome foundation, is fantastic.

The 275’s round and chunky face translates into a rather tall and blocky side profile. Is it possible to have too much dash-to-axle ratio (i.e. that space between the front wheel and the A-pillar) when the fender tops are so high off the ground? Compounding the problem is that insanely laid back, thin and fast A-pillar. The roof doesn’t match the fender’s proportions.

I suspect that mere millimeters separate the heights/curves of the 275 to the 250 GTO (and the Jaguar E-Type) it only takes a few subtle changes in dimensions to turn a sexy sports car into a chubby wannabe. The 275 is unquestionably cute, and certainly an excellent Ferrari. But I still long for more…perhaps Chris Bangle needs to flame surface this to add some excitement and thin down the bulk?

On the plus side, peep that massive stretch between the beginning of the door and the beginning of the A-pillar. It’s grotesquely unnecessary, and I like that. If only the glass to body ratio was a little better: the door is super tall, round and massive: not a proto-Chrysler 300 by any stretch, but it’s too much red paint and not enough glass.

To my point about paint vs. glass, imagine how sexy the 275 could be if the red paint below was 1-2″ shorter in height? Course, that would probably be the Ferrari 250 LM. So that’s already been done. And this isn’t exactly a race car, even if it’s trying to look like one.

Look at those massive sidewalls! How I long for the day when we can have a little more rubber…not this much, but you see my point.

This 275 didn’t come with the wire wheels, which is a bit of a shame. I’ll assume these rims are a lightweight alloy casting far superior to the wires, but they look like the dumpy steelies on a 1980’s econobox. Do you think these wheels aged well over time?

The Ferrari hub is certainly cool, even if it looks out-of-place on a wheel you’d expect on a Hyundai Excel. I admit this critique is unfair to the era of this vehicle’s engineering, but hey, history can be cruel. And people write on blogs for a reason…probably.

There’s something universally perfect about this A-pillar shot here. It could be an older Ferrari, or an early Porsche 911…or maybe a the beginnings of the Ford Mustang? Read on…

Oh yes! The other side of the door shows a bit of why the 1965 Ford Mustang fastback is such a hot commodity: Ferrari’s classic styling makes for the Perfect Pony Car. Not to take away from the beauty pictured above, just adding a little context into why this is beautiful. And why you like it.

Because, without a doubt, this is a gorgeous greenhouse. The tumblehome, the inward taper of the glass as it nears the “B” pillar, the body’s “hip” below the B-pillar, the scoops, and the eyebrow of the rain gutter is timeless, priceless.

Maybe the rain gutter is a bit too angular and ends rather abruptly. It should follow the edge of the glass like that Fastback Mustang.

Yup, this is the real reason “we” love Fastback Mustangs. See how the round curves below logically extend into a taut, fit B-pillar that’s so faaaaast? And just to keep the pillar from being flat and dull, there are three vent cut outs to add some excitement. Is the excitement necessary? Perhaps its a bit much.

Round curves and taut straight lines in perfect harmony. If only the front fenders, hood and fascia had this magic blend of perfection. As a bonus, the 275 looks much shorter/sleeker from this angle!

Oh yeah! Flat and muscular merges with fat (PHAT?) and curvy so perfectly. The rear wheel arches just add to the sexiness as the B-pillar extends waaaay back here.

I love the sleek, pure yet functional design of these trunk hinges.

Oh wow, it even has a rear window defogger!

The trunk sports a logical cut line, ending at the base of the dovetail spoiler. The thin, body-hugging chrome bumper looks more than integral with the design: it looks necessary. Add the period correct tailpipes and the 275 looks mighty smart from this angle.

Doesn’t the bright work say it all? The nicely chiseled butt, slick spoiler (eat your heart out, 1970s Camaro) and unadorned rear sheet metal is pure Italian design goodness.

Is this too boring? Maybe more tail lights would help, but then it’d look more like a Corvette. Add a license plate and call it done: this is a pretty posterior.

The reflector pattern in the stop/signal lights is pretty 1960s groovy. Compare that to the loony CGI inspired designs of modern lights and we see how design changes with technology over time.

And the license plate lights are a neat bit of kit. They look far better on the bumper than as warts on the rear end.

Too bad this isn’t a one piece bumper! But if you have to go multiple parts, the fit and finish of the 275’s bumper is very well executed.

But why fall in love with the 275 GTB when you can gawk at her hotter, more mature sister called 250 GTO? Okay, I know this is unfair to the 275 for several reasons, but just look at this beast!

Thanks for reading, have a very Merry Christmas.

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  • Dusterdude @SCE to AUX , agree CEO pay would equate to a nominal amount if split amongst all UAW members . My point was optics are bad , both total compensation and % increases . IE for example if Mary Barra was paid $10 million including merit bonuses , is that really underpaid ?
  • ToolGuy "At risk of oversimplification, a heat pump takes ambient air, compresses it, and then uses the condenser’s heat to warm up the air it just grabbed from outside."• This description seems fairly dramatically wrong to me.
  • SCE to AUX The UAW may win the battle, but it will lose the war.The mfrs will never agree to job protections, and production outsourcing will match any pay increases won by the union.With most US market cars not produced by Detroit, how many people really care about this strike?
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  • Buickman yeah, get Ron Fellows each time I get a Vette. screw Caddy.