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Coachwork by Designed by Pininfarina Coachwork by Scaglietti
Formerly the Property of Eric Stewart
Recently discovered after 25 years in total seclusion, 07797 is a remarkable find.
Completed in October 1965, 07797 was originally finished in Rosso Chiaro (20-R-190) with full black leather seats and light gray carpeting. Destined for the UK market, the Ferrari was specified in right-hand drive with instrumentation in miles and optional Borrani wire wheels. According to the research of Ferrari historian Marcel Massini, 07797 was the 22nd of 48 right-hand-drive 275 GTBs built.
Delivered new to Colonel Ronnie Hoare’s Maranello Concessionaires in England, 07797 was registered as “KPG 5 C” and sold new to its first owner, Dr. Richard S. Wilkins. From there, the 275 GTB was sold to D.A. Harrison and later passed to C.W. MacDowall, a resident of Ingatestone, Essex.
In 1973, 07797 was sold to musician, songwriter, and record producer Eric M. Stewart. Best known as the lead vocalist for pop groups The Mindbenders and 10cc, Stewart also co-owned Strawberry Studios and was an avid Ferrari enthusiast. In addition to this 275 GTB, he also owned a 500 F2, a 250 GT SWB Berlinetta, and a 250 LM.
Soon after taking delivery, Stewart sent the 45,000-mile 275 GTB to David Clarke’s Graypaul Motors for a general cosmetic and mechanical refurbishment. A year later, the Ferrari was sold to its last recorded UK owner, G.N. Keane of Brentwood, Essex.
In late 1977, 07797 was sold to Elliott R. Coyle of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. A successful industrialist, Mr. Coyle was a collector of exotic cars and fine English rifles. For a time, he even lived in London and served as the director of Holland & Holland, a prestigious rifle manufacturer. Between 1978 and 1981, Mr. Coyle faced a difficult choice between driving his UK-spec 275 GTB and the 365 GTB/4 Daytona that he had purchased through Graypaul Motors.
In July 1981, Pittsburgh resident Herb Conner purchased the 275 GTB and the following year he sold it to a mechanic living in Port Angeles, Washington. Between 1982 and 1988, the Ferrari was driven approximately 2,000 miles before being locked away in a container.
Essentially untouched since the early 1980s, the 275 GTB possesses a fantastic time-warp appeal. Over the years, the 275 GTB has been completely repainted at least twice – once in black and more recently in red. The aftermarket prancing horse and 275 badges added by Graypaul Motors in 1973 are still affixed to the trunk panel. The original leather upholstery has been well preserved and the interior is complete with Britax seatbelts, Blaupunkt AM/ FM eight-track stereo, and Toshiba speakers installed in the mid-1970s. The Borrani RW 4039 wire wheels wear Pirelli CN36s – tires that have not been in regular production since the early 1980s. Having spent the better part of its years in wet, unforgiving climates, the 275 GTB has evidence of corrosion in the typical areas, particularly the lower sections of the body.
Attesting to the car’s transatlantic provenance is an extensive collection of original service records and invoices from Graypaul Motors, Maranello Concessionaires, FAF Motorcars, Sewickley Porsche-Audi- Alfa, and Auto Palace Inc. that date back to April 1973. A jack and a set of four corroded Campagnolo Sunburst alloy wheels are also included in the sale.
As with any long-lost Ferrari, some mysteries remain. Although this car has always been known as a three-carb model, the factory Foglio Allestimenti notes that 07797 was equipped with six carburetors. Similarly, it cannot be confirmed if this car was originally supplied in the long- or short-nose configuration. Although 07797 was constructed just as Scaglietti was transitioning to the first long-nose bodies, the presence of welding seams suggests that this car was likely converted to its current appearance at a later date.
However, one can confidently say that if any changes were, in fact, carried out, they were certainly executed before 1980 and most likely before 1973. In a letter dated October 17, 1980, Elliott R. Coyle described 07797 as having the following features: “2 cam, 3 carb, long nose, interior filler cap and boot hinges. This is a transition car, since it has the exposed propeller shaft, alloy wheels and vent windows.”
As interest in Enzo-era Ferraris continues to spread worldwide, cars like this unrestored right-hand-drive 275 GTB are becoming increasingly rare. Offered publically for the first time in over 30 years, this once-elusive Ferrari now has a bright future ahead.
With its matching-numbers engine intact and just 57,400 miles from new, 07797 is an exciting and highly rewarding Ferrari, one that deserves a careful concours-quality restoration and further research into its fascinating history.