Year of manufacture1972
Mileage14 000 mi / 22 531 km
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Michelotti Competition N.A.R.T Spyder #15965
In late 1974, Luigi Chinetti, the US Ferrari Importer and owner of the North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T) decided to build a special Ferrari Daytona Spyder with the aim to compete in endurance races and more particularly in Le Mans 24 Hours.
He chose Giovanni Michelotti (see side note), one of the most prolific car designer of the 20th Century, to design this very special car.
For this purpose, the Ferrari factory which was as usual informed about the project, chose chassis no. 15965 (which was a standard European production Daytona Coupe chassis), albeit one of the rarer A-type specifications.
For rigidity reasons, the car has been built as a targa, instead of a full spyder as it was originally asked for. The targa top is removable allowing opened or closed top motoring, while the electrically operated rear window can come down to allow complete airflow in a manner reminiscent of the 60’s rear aerofoil open prototypes.
The car was shown soon after completion at the 1975 Geneva Motorshow.
LE MANS 1975 ADVENTURE
There was no April test at Le Mans that year 75, so three months after Geneva, the car was prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It was entered by Luigi Chinetti’s N.A.R.T team.
The North American Racing Team brought three additional cars: a standard Competition Daytona, a heavily modified 308 GT4 and a nearly standard 365 GT/4 BB in the type’s first appearance in the Sarthe. Never had a Ferrari team entered such a varied cross section of models.
#15965 had a full GR4 competition specification engine, prepared by DIENA in Modena for the N.A.R.T, with high lift camshafts, racing headers, a raised compression ratio and special racing side mounted exhaust. In view of the short delay to prepare the car for Le Mans and with 365 GTB/4 group IV works s/n 15685 in the same workshop, Diena used the opportunity to install this works engine in the NART Spyder s/n 15965.
Entered in the GTX class, the Michelotti Daytona qualified with a time of 4’31”8 in the hands of Jean Pierre Malcher who was to share the car with Patrick Langlois.
Some accounts state that it was faster in top speed that the participating Competition Daytona Gr4 thanks to its more aerodynamic shape.
At some point before the race, Luigi Chinetti got some troubles with Le Mans Organizers regarding the 308 GT4 and he was so upset that he decided to withdraw the three cars at 2:32 pm, 88 minutes before the start.
The N.A.R.T contingent then returned to New York and 15965 was later delivered to Mr. Ward in Los Angeles.
Three years later, it was entered by Otto Ziper for the 1978 Daytona 24 hours with Devenfort / Kline / Keyser.
Bruno Borri of the Los Angeles area had serviced the engine. Michael Keyser had seen the car at Le Mans in 1975 when himself participated in a Chevrolet Monza.
The participation of the car at Daytona was not a success as the car was withdrawn from the race after a protest (by eventually overall winner Peter Gregg, driver of a Porsche Turbo) on the grounds of its non-standard body.
Note that on the Florida banking road course it practiced with the pop up headlights replaced by perspex covers and with race number 66.
It was still white / red during that race, but soon after was offered by the VIP Toy Store in Los Angeles listed as red / tan as it has been until its restoration in 2008.
In 1978, 15965 was purchased by John Mecom Jr, the noted Houston Oil businessman and founder of the New Orleans Saints NFL franchise. Mr. Mecom was also known as motorsports enthusiast and racing-team owner.
In 1988, the car has been sold to Pat. Ryan who kept it until 2001, the year Jean Guikas - GTC bought it. He then raced the car (and performed) several times in the Shell Ferrari Challenge Historic.
5 years later, GTC sold the car to a collector who decided to race the car in several events (including the US Ferrari Challenge race at Laguna Seca in 2007 where it won its class).
In 2008, he decided to repaint and retrim the car to its Le Mans livery giving her back the unique blu leather interior and white / bright paint.
In 2008, 2010 and 2016 the car entered famous race ‘Le Mans Classic’ and rally Tour Auto Optic 2000 in 2007, 2014 and 2015.
The current mileage indicates 14,000 Miles, which is the original mileage.
Engine: Original Daytona GR IV V12 engine, four cam, 4,390cc, No. 15685 (as raced at Le Mans in 1975); fully rebuilt in 2002 to series III specification, delivering 420 bhp at 6400 rpm (open road configuration) or more than 450 bhp at 8100 rpm (racing configuration)
In open-road configuration the car is fitted with a street in-line exhaust system, and two fuel cells of approximately 60 liters each.
In racing configuration, the car is usually fitted with a side mounted racing exhaust system as well as a central 70 liters fuel cell. Additionally, pop-up lights, electrical windows and bumpers can easily be removed which could give the car a gain of weight of at least 60 kg.
Gearbox: Matching numbers five-speed manual
The car is fitted with electrical windows allowing complete airflow.
The car has been completely serviced by Graber Garage during the winter of 2014 / 2015, very well prepared for its participation in the Tour Auto 2015.
The car has been overhauled on an electrical standpoint in Italy in 2015 and got a completely renewed electrical circuit as well as head bumpers according to Geneva auto Salon 1975 specs.
A UNIQUE CAR
s/n 15965 constitutes the best of both worlds, a street legal (regularly registered in France) and competition Ferrari combined with a unique design.
It is also important to bear in mind that this car is the only 365 GTB/4 Competizione ever built as a spyder. It is. Recognized by Ferrari Factory as a genuine example of historic interest.
It is also the last Ferrari of Enzo-era ever designed for dual purpose.
Ready for racing. Eligible for the Tour Auto, Le Mans Classic, Modena Cento Ore, Concours d'élégance and many more.
Inspection upon appointment.