The car in question is a 275 GTB/4 that the King of Cool acquired in San Francisco while filming Bullitt. Sometime after McQueen sold the car, its subsequent owner had its roof chopped off, transforming it into a de facto Spyder (there are only 10 real 275 GTB/4 NART Spyders). The car's new owner, however, has sent it back to Ferrari to have its roof rebuilt and the car returned to original factory specification.
The conversion is being undertaken by the Ferrari Classiche division, which will certify its authenticity once the process is completed. The unit was established in 2006 specifically for that purpose, and has since then dealt with some 3,300 classic Ferraris.
Maranello, 11 June 2012 – Ferrari Classiche recently took delivery of one of the more interesting cars ever to leave the factory – a 275 GTB4 that originally belonged to legendary American star, Steve McQueen who took delivery of the car in San Francisco when he was on the set filming Bullitt.
The new owner brought the car to Ferrari Classiche for the company's authenticity certification process, knowing that at some time during the 1980s, when under previous ownership, the car had been converted to a Spider.
Under the provisions of the certification process, a Ferrari can only be authenticated if it is to exactly the same specifications as when it left the factory. To this end, the new owner wisely decided to return the car to its original coupé form and Ferrari Classiche has undertaken the restoration reproducing the roof and buttresses with hand-beaten steel panels.
Ferraris continue to be an excellent investment, as has been shown in a recent report by Business Week on a private treaty sale for $35 million of a 250 GTO built for Stirling Moss.
A world record price that celebrates the 50th anniversary of the launch in 1962 of this homologation special (hence the designation Gran Turismo Omologata), of which just 36 examples were built, and which achieved a seemingly endless series of victories in GT racing in the early 1960s, culminating in three consecutive Manufacturers' titles in 1962, '63 and '64.
The Ferrari 250 GTO has been revered in classic car circles for decades for its combination of thoroughbred looks, performance and motor sports heritage and, in 1990, a 1962 example set a then record auction price of $10,756,833. This world record was to stand for 18 years until it was beaten in 2008 by another Ferrari, a 1961 250 California sold by RM Auctions in collaboration with Sotheby's in Maranello for $10,910,592. That record was again beaten in 2011 by the sale in Pebble Beach of a 1957 250 Testa Rossa for $16.39 million.
A considerable contribution to the interest for classic Ferraris in recent years has come from the company's direct involvement, with its dedicated department providing certificates of authenticity which testify to the originality of a car. Set up in 2006, Ferrari Classiche has to date processed over 3,300 certification requests using the company's exhaustive archive records and original designs.