While talking with Kenny Lombino of the Ferrari Club of America on the phone, he asked if I knew Michael Adams. I did not. Kenny tells me that Michael is an interesting guy with some great cars and perhaps I'd like to do a shoot a video of one of his cars for the Elysée Wednesday TV drive series. Yes I would and so it was that we show up at Michael's house to experience his immaculate 275GTB.
Michael would have preferred we sample his 330GTS--his favorite--but the GTB has long been a favorite of mine and it has been decades since I drove one. It belonged to my friend John Andrews and it is said that John's car once belonged to Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys and had been driven by Charles Manson when he spent some time hanging with the band. It wasn't John who told me this but, if true, it makes for an additional connection to the dreadful night on Cielo Drive--Steve McQueen, Sharon Tate, Jay Sebring and that GTB.
Seeing Michael's GTB under the lights in his showcase garage, it could have been sitting in Otto Zipper's showroom on Wilshire at 26th Street back in the day as it looked brand new and flawless.
Making a tour of the car, there isn't a bad angle and I remember Brock Yates' write-up where he described moving a Captain's chair to different positions around a 275GTB so he could sit and contemplate the design from all angles.
When it came time to drive the GTB out of the garage, the ticking of the fuel pump brought back some very fond Lusso/GTO memories. The sound of the constant velocity starter motor completed the flashback. This GTB is a long-nose, single-cam V12 and it makes all the sounds one expects of a Ferrari engine with Weber carburetors, timing chains (instead of belts) and twelve cylinders.
Another vintage reference to the Lusso/GTO days is the view from the driver or passenger seat--one sees the finely sculpted hood and fender contours as they reach forward to a vanishing point. Mid-engined moderns don't offer this, the base of the windshield usually serving as the vanishing point with the front bodywork dropping immediately from sight.
Our drive took us down to the Pacific Coast Highway and up Sunset to Pacific Palisades Park. Continuing on Sunset, we completed the loop turning on Allenford and driving past Paul Revere where I went to school. I don't know which was more pleasurable--being in the GTB or looking at it from the chase car (Kenny's Maserati) and admiring this beautiful piece of industrial sculpture moving amongst the more prosaic automobiles.
Back home in Michael's driveway, Michael and Kenny engaged in some very entertaining banter that will be on display in the video excerpts when I post them. In the meantime, I offer my thanks to Kenny Lombino for making the introduction and to Michael Adams who graciously shared his marvelous GTB with us.
Jeanetta Dumouchel of EWTV was there to enjoy the car and shoot stills and video.