Driving a $27.5-million Ferrari | Chaher K

23 Jun 2014 | Author: | Comments Off on Driving a $27.5-million Ferrari | Chaher K

If a fleeting celluloid appearance summarized a car’s personality and it into the memory, it was early on in Jewison’s 1968 cars-and-crime The Thomas Crown Affair . As he around the polo pitch on his pony, Steve McQueen to have it all: the looks, the the cars, the cash, the successful heist behind him and a rosy ahead. But then his world is upside down by the appearance of Dunaway on the sidelines, effortlessly the King of Cool with her own yet laid-back savoir-faire. And how should be manifested? By no more than on the rear deck of a highly drop-…-gorgeous car, and looking fabulous herself. The car in question was pitted to the role: Like character, it was impossibly glamorous and unattainable and, like character, those facets of the Ferrari so impressed McQueen that he had to have one in real

The car, of course, was a Ferrari 275 NART Spyder (or 275GT/4/S, B/4, or even 275GTB/4*S, on which Ferrari document you are the chopped version of the 250-succeeding 275 It was one of just 10 built—two of which alloy-bodied—and, as the North American Team (NART) tag suggests, the of U.S. Ferrari importer Chinetti. As the rest of the name the foundation for this spectacular was that last of Ferrari’s GTs before the more chiseled 330 and the fully independently suspended 275 The curvaceous long-nosed, short-(Kamm)-tailed Turismo started life as a two-seater coupe surrounding a development of Giotto Colombo’s small-block V12 engine. It also the combined rear axle and transmission that was to become a staple. Launched in 1964, it was joined by a dowdy-in-comparison open-top but the fireworks were yet to come. In the four-cam version of the engine—with a of Weber 40DCN9s as standard—came being, wearing a reworked, shell, but that still enough for a certain Stateside specialist and racing team

Chinetti, a trusted importer, Le winner and, most an old chum of Enzo’s, reckoned people had been hungry for a proper-performing and, crucially, front-engined convertible Ferrari since the 250 GT California ceased to be in You do have to wonder whether sudden impetus was driven by the of Tom Meade’s stunning 250-based Spyder, an all-alloy beauty by Neri and Bonacini (thus the shape of which was close to a of the 275 GTB. Only four of the cars were built had Chinetti waited to see how they sales-wise, he might have questioning his certainty that was the market he assumed for his own V12 convertible.

was not Luigi Chinetti’s style, and neither was questioning his own instincts, so at his a limited run of Spyder versions was The paper trail suggests 25 cars were planned—it was to be from the outset—but only 10 it to reality.

James Lipman

there are rather more The NART Spyder—with few obvious changes—was unveiled at the New York Show in April 1967, as being #8220;produced for the United exclusively#8221; and floridly described as for its exceptional maneuverability [sic], for its instantaneous pickups, distensive for its The price was a heady $14,400, near-as-dammit $8000 for the Berlinetta, also happened to be the price Ferrari was charging Chinetti for Scaglietti-converted car. The first and famous of them, the  Crown Affair  car, was later that year and had a Sebring history—with Denise and #8220;Pinky#8221; Rollo, racing the North Vermont Racing (NVRT) banner due to a NART problem following a fatal the previous year—before turning to but all are immensely desirable and exclusive So much so that only one is to reside in the U.K.—if one assumes Lord Laidlaw’s spends of its time in Monaco. And this is it.

Chassis 10749, the second-last car and last to go to the States, has had a fascinating and life. It was bought from Motors for $15,500, with radio, by New York-based Dr. Michael soon after its August build. Serman piled on an 5000 miles a year his ownership and his son, then old and another Michael, has fond of the car he was fortunate enough to enjoy: I remember most was washing the car by It was a shape one never tired of looking at—especially the rear He also recalls being a blank cheque by one collector and told to fill in whatever was for the NART. No deal.

After a of U.S. owners—one of whom it for a Lamborghini Urraco, Maserati Spyder and $35K in cash—it was by John Moores from Fe, who at one point was custodian of a brace of Spyders. After Junior’s of Color restored the car to its original (it had been previously been and a Pebble Beach appearance in the noted philanthropist then the extraordinary gesture of putting it up for in 1998 to raise cash for the Institute. A few further owners including Pebble Beach Sam Mann, before it made its way the Atlantic to a new owner. In 2009, it was of Show at Salon Privé in

And now it is here in Essex, on an autumn day a personality disorder, undecided it wants to be summer or winter, and we are marveling at it. At first it is difficult to get the NART because photographer Lipman has gone into one of rare camera frenzies, all around the car, cooing to and trying to capture every If ever we needed confirmation what we are looking at it is a bit special, behavior is it. It’s easier to by while he goes into and just take in those Golly, it must have a simple chop for Scaglietti. the rump appears to have at all – even that kicked-up feather remains. Okay, so you the sensuously tapered roof of the and the front-rear balance of aggression and that it gives the car, but the deck and trunklid meld between the hips. It is exactly the of bench worthy of Faye then recently catapulted to by  Bonnie Clyde . The front is from the second-series (’65-on) with the longer, furrowing and hood bulge. Overall, no one ever question the over-the-top of the NART, but you do start to wonder it is quite as well resolved its roof. The answer is yes.



With no sign of calming down and the weather in, it is necessary to force my way into the seat, keen to be on the road but by the sheer splendor of the surroundings to pause and take stock. The seat in deep, lustrous is surprisingly well padded, the and splashes of chrome a wonderful to the relative austerity of the stark dash. Grip the wheel and that familiar, almost wooden warmth, two of the three sprouting west and east just thin enough a for you to curl your fingers either side of them for driving. Then reach to the right—but not too far—to rest a atop that long, wand-like gear lever its chunkier, finger-grooved knob and a just above where it the open dog-leg five-speed gate. Casting your further you will notice footwell vents, the footwell-mounted and the surprisingly honest-for-the-era 180-mph

Fire it up and that reassuringly V12 beat suddenly sounds all up. It is still deep-throated and mesmerizing, but it is raucous, more civil for want of a better word, On the move, the vast difference an pair of cams makes is all the obvious. Coerce that lever into first and you ping away on a wave of Ping? Well, waft capture the power and crispness, and suggests an unseemly struggle to put the power that just compute with the refined Not until you have slick-changed way up to 5500 rpm, anyway, the engine comes on cam(s), out of its steady power curve as if it has a second wind. From it screams all the way to the 7700-8000-rpm redline and pace with unruffled but alacrity.

So far, so Ferrari. It is on other occasions that the characteristics start to chime, it establishes its individuality within the through its astonishing flexibility. You can from near standstill in a gear and work up to speed as as spreading soft butter on The upshot is that such a and less brutal demeanor encourage you to explore the understeer can be found when you really on in an otherwise gorgeous-handling car. than that it is surprisingly planted and solid for a convertible, not to largely free from shake—testament to its weight and balance, its wheelbase, and the quality of Scaglietti’s Plus, there are constant of the NART’s pedigree, with its low take-up and narrow-spaced pedals more for jabbing with boots than caressing loafers.

James Lipman

All of this may as if the driving experience is slightly but it is quite the opposite. This is a car, extremely aware of its and capabilities. Why the NART Spyder was met so much apathy in its day, is hard to fathom. Perhaps it was the there is evidence to suggest Chinetti accepted significantly amounts to shift his obligation. it was, the lack of interest was so that the final car was never shipped to the States and remained in Of course, such paucity of cars has had a huge impact on today. Ferrari expert Cottingham of DK Engineering reckons one would set you back as much as million. [ Or $27.5 million, as by the recent auction results. —Ed ] were built to be exclusive in day,” he explains. “It was the car that wanted but no one could have, and still holds true. rarity adds hugely to values and means that the between a 275 NART Spyder and the car it was based on is far greater than on Ferrari open and closed

“There is also the fact very rarely do Ferraris, or any look quite so equally as GTs or convertibles. The balance is absolutely But then, the balance is what these cars apart, not aesthetically but in including all of the latest five-speed transaxle, disc all-independent suspension et al—in a traditional performance car that has as power as you could possibly but not so much that it becomes or nose-heavy like some cars. To my mind, it’s an shame that they build more of them thanks to that four-cam it is the absolute embodiment of the gentleman’s Ferrari, the ultimate incarnation of a 1960s sports car should

Of course, that valuation not just the rarity, but also the of the car. This was no homebuilt it was a bona fide factory (though factory records suggest that some were sold as converted, as scratch-built) that offered the Ferrari range was conspicuously With that smoother, docile four-cam V12, it may not quite the wham-bam sporting of the fiercest 250-series drop-tops, or the closed GT it was based upon, but it is a away from the contemporary 275 GTS so dismissed, perhaps harshly, as a Here was a Ferrari that you seriously hustle, race to in class at Sebring even, as it simply cruise with a that no previous Maranello could match. In fact, as an from a time when output was still terrifically between road and track the NART Spyder might be the best of the best.

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