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Doubly famous Ferrari to feature at Monterey

The 2005 Gooding & Co. auction at Pebble Beach includes a Ferrari with two reasons for celebrity: finishing second in class at Sebring in 1967, and starring as Steve McQueen’s car in The Thomas Crown Affair.

The 275 GTS/4 NART Spyder was conceived by Ferrari’s Le Mans-winning driver and U.S. importer Luigi Chinetti as the ultimate convertible Ferrari. It is the prototype and the first of the ten car series, chassis number 09437, which will be offered for sale. It is also one of only two NART Spyders with aluminium coachwork. Completed at the end of 1966, the car arrived in the U.S. just in time to be entered in the 1967 Sebring 12 Hours where it was driven by journalist Denise McCluggage and Marianne "Pinkie" Rollo. It was the only Ferrari team or NART-supported entry at Sebring following a dispute between the factory and Sebring promoter Alec Ullman over appearance money. This was also the sole period race in which a NART Spyder ever competed, and the ladies finished a superb second in class behind a race-modified Shelby GT350.

Incredibly, the NART Spyder had been spotted by the producer of The Thomas Crown Affair, starring Steve McQueen and Faye Dunaway. The powerful open car perfectly fitted McQueen’s carefully-groomed, risk-taking character. Its Giallo Solare paint didn’t photograph well so it went into make-up and was repainted Burgundy.

McQueen, who had found some good driving-time time between takes, found the NART Spyder so rewarding to drive that he ordered his own which would be the sixth built in the series, chassis 10435.

Chinetti soon after sold the NART Spyder to his good customer Norman Silver, who drove it regularly over the next nearly twenty years, still in its Thomas Crown Affair burgundy paint, before selling to Dano Davis in 1985. Davis had it completely restored by Shelton Ferrari and returned to its original Giallo Solare colour, winning the Ferrari Club of America National Concours Best of Show in 1987.

The present owner acquired the car in 1996, and has driven it enthusiastically since, participating in several US rallies. Careful maintenance and regular use have preserved its 1987 restoration and only two changes have been made; installation of an onboard fire system and upgrading the flexible brake lines for safety and reliability.

The 275 GTS/4 NART Spyder chassis 09437 is offered by Gooding & Co. in its original Giallo Solare colour, with black leather interior, and is fitted with alloy wheels as delivered by Ferrari, and raced at Sebring in 1967. For a likely estimate – please refer to the auctioneer.

Also entered is another historic Ferrari, the 1950 166MM/195S Le Mans Berlinetta, chassis # 0060M. Built on the shorter 2,250mm wheelbase, the Touring-bodied Le Mans berlinetta features a 2,341cc V12 specifically built for competition, being rated by the factory at up to 180 horsepower. It had an impressive racing history when new and was the cover car for the Ferrari Club of America magazine, Prancing Horse, in 2002. Estimate: $1,400,000-1,900,000.

The Gooding & Co. auction will be held in conjunction with the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center on Sunday evening, August 21, 2005 with viewing scheduled from Thursday through Sunday morning, August 18-21.

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Text/Photos - Classic Driver/Gooding & Co.

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