Ferrari NART Spider At The Petersen…
Of all the open bodied road cars ever produced by Ferrari, the 275 GTS/4 stands alone. Originally commissioned by Luigi Chinetti Sr., the factory produced just ten of the beautiful NART Spyder, machines, so named for his racing team. The Ferrari 275 NART Spider was his baby.
Few know that Chinetti had to seriously plead with the factory to get the NART built but truth is, the 275 GTB was a tough sell back in the day, due to its very high price tag. The Shelby AC Cobra 289 was approximately $6000 in 1965 and the 427 model was around $8000. At almost $15,000 in the mid-1960’s, the 275 GTB was struggling with consumers, even those with serious money.
But Chinetti was extremely close with Enzo Ferrari, and just no ordinary guy. Luigi Chinetti drove in 12 consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans and won three times. He also won Spa twice and rode shotgun as the mechanic in a Ferrari 212 that won the Carrera Panamericana Race in 1951.
Appointed the first and only Ferrari dealership in the US in 1954, Chinetti was charged with both selling Ferrari automobiles and spreading the Ferrari name. Concerned with the slow to sell 275 Berlinetta, Chinetti successfully lobbied the factory to build a car that would be easier to sell in America, a convertible.
A legendary car for many reasons, Steve McQueen’s The Thomas Crowne Affair had Fay Dunaway famously filming McQueen playing polo. Later, the car was parked in front of a restaurant for its second appearance in the movie. McQueen was so enamored by the car during the movie that he subsequently bought one.
Not just confined to the street, some 275 NART’s were raced, most famously in my opinion, by two successful women, Marianne “Pinky” Rollo and Denise McCluggage who raced their 275 GTS/4 to a 2nd in class at Sebring.
Now at the Petersen Auto Museum in Los Angeles, it stands as a “don’t miss” in their incredible collection.