Michelotti's Daytona NART Spider is Ferrari done differently

Some Ferraris are exclusive, and then there's the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona NART Spider by Michelotti. Bespoke and immaculate, could this be the greatest Ferrari purchase of 2019?

Giovanni Michelotti remains a byword within automotive circles for hot-blooded design. Responsible for penning some of the most outrageously attractive sportscars of the 20th century – including the Alpine A110, Triumph Stag and BMW 2002 – Michelotti's skill and keen eye for detail resulted in a potent vehicular blend of charisma, panache and style. None more, some would say, than his efforts with the 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona NART Spider.

To be auctioned away by RM Sotheby’s during its Arizona 2019 sale on January 17/18, we believe this 1971 Ferrari could be one of the greatest Italian machines of all time. It’s not the fastest car to boast Ferrari heritage nor the most valuable, but it is downright different.

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Creating a series of five open-top Ferraris based on the 365 GTB/4 Daytona for North American Racing Team owner and official U.S. Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti during the mid-1970s, each example was hand made. Individually crafted with a multitude of unique details, what each car did have in common was the body design.

Sharing an angular wedge-styled shark-nose motif that emphasized a single unwavering beltline from tip to tail, Chinetti commissioned the first of these cars in 1974, presenting the vehicle during that year’s Turin Motor Show to riotous applause.

The initial design showcased cut-down doors, molded bumpers, and a targa top before some adaptation was applied Michelotti’s second vehicle – chassis no.15965. Commissioned as a competition example to run the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans, the car never raced.

Chinetti ultimately withdrew all the NART entries that year following a disagreement with race stewards, but that didn’t stop him from ordering three more Daytonas from Michelotti for 1976. Configured for road specification, chassis no.14299 was the first of the batch – and that’s exactly what RM Sotheby’s is offering next month.

The car began life as a standard Daytona coupe, equipped with air conditioning and power windows, and specified for the American market. Built by Ferrari in May 1971, the 365 GTB/4 was finished in Grigio Ferro (Iron Grey) and upholstered with Rosso Vaumol leather. The car was then retailed through Chinetti’s Connecticut-based distributorship before being returned to him in 1976.

Subsequently submitted to Michelotti, he re-worked the Ferrari in the style of the 1974 Turin show car, though the cut-down doors and vent windows were de-emphasized. The spider was fitted with five-spoke alloy wheels and a tan soft top, and painted in a two-tone scheme of dark blue over grey.

Inside was re-trimmed in orange-hued leather, while the dashboard layout was re-configured using the original car’s Veglia Borletti gauges. A color-matched hardtop was fitted to complete the look. The final product was ultimately given by Chinetti’s wife as a gift.

Three years later Chinetti loaned the Daytona to Michelotti for presentation on the designer’s stand at the 1980 Turin Motor Show, after which the car was displayed through 1982 at the Le Mans Museum in France before being presented at the 1984 La Baule Concours d’Elegance.

The bespoke Ferrari returned to the U.S in 1985 but, as Mrs. Chinetti had passed away in the interim, the importer then chose to sell the car to Los Angeles-based dealer Marty Yacobian, who presented it at the 1986 Palm Springs Concours d’Elegance. Some years later, the minimally driven Daytona would lay claim as the first Ferrari to ever win Best of Show at Pebble Beach.

Offering exclusivity and clout upon the collector scene, as a unique glimpse into the mind of Giovanni Michelotti, this handsome one-off Ferrari Daytona is not only steeped in provenance and history, but also a prime investment should that be your aim.

Displaying just 5479 miles since the 1976 rebuild, as a bespoke piece of automotive heritage, is there anything as exciting as this on the market?

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