The lucrative business of classic car auctions has grown exponentially over the last few years, with every major action tending to break a sales price record of the those that have preceded it. As a result, it’s always exciting to find out that a rare and treasured car from an automotive era long gone will go under the hammer at one of these extravagant events.
This time round, it’s the 10th and last-ever built Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spider that will have everyone’s eyes peeled when it crosses the block at RM Sotheby’s Monaco auction on May 14.
Although not the first 275 NART Spider to go to auction, this example will still garnish much attention as the last of its type ever built and the third-last 275 ever produced. The car’s history is also pretty sensational and the is one of the most important road-going Ferrari’s to be sold.
Here is its story.
Built in 1968, chassis no. 11057 was one of 10 glorious 275 GTS/4 NART Spiders ever to be created and like the other nine, were sold solely through American Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti. The Italian-born Ferrari factory agent led an extraordinary life and had a key involvement with the Maranello firm and its sister marque Alfa Romeo in regards to their racing history.
Chinetti raced at 12 consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans races and won there three times, winning his first in 1932 in an Alfa, while also taking the top step at Spa 24 Hours twice during his racing career. The outbreak of World War II saw Chinetti make the trip to America, where he raced in the 1940 Indy 500 for Ferrari and subsequently began working with the Italian dealer and importer Alfred Momo.
Following more racing endeavours, which included him race a Ferrari to victory at Le Mans for the first time in the marque’s history in 1949, Chinetti made a deal with the Old Man himself, Enzo Ferrari, to become a Ferrari factory agent in the US and was a partnership that saw him become the first official Ferrari dealer in the US.
The Italian’s involvement with Ferrari was forged in history when Chinetti created the North American Racing Team which became and official arm of the prancing horse. It is this set-up that led to the racer and businessman commissioning the 275 GTS/4 NART Spider in partnership with Enzo himself.
The NART Spider has been written into Ferrari folklore, with this particular example special for being the final one in production and also the only one to be delivered new to Europe, to a customer in Spain. Chassis no. 11057 was also the only one of the 10 built to be finished in the darker Girigio Scuro red in combination with the Nero leather interior, ensuring its enduring rarity.
It has since been repainted, retrimmed in beige and lived in the UK since the early 2000s, but still offers that divine 330bhp Ferrari V12.
Rob Myers, chairman and chief executive of RM Sotheby’s said of the car: “Ownership of a NART Spider represents membership in a club of only nine other enthusiasts around the world. If a Ferrari is the choice of car connoisseurs, then the NART Spider is the choice of Ferrari connoisseurs.”
The 275 GTS/4 NART Spider has an estimate of around £15 million (€19/$22 million), but a previous example in 2013 sold for a final bid of $25 million ($27 million including commission), breaking the record for a road-going automobile.
Can this rare version of a super-rare Ferrari get close? The experts have given it a conservative estimate compared to the 2013 instance, but on May 14 in Monaco anything could happen.