Saint Louis, MO
Luigi Chinetti was a tough and gritty racing driver who gave Enzo Ferrari his first of many victories at Le Mans behind the wheel of a 166 MM Barchetta. As a reward for his efforts Enzo put Luigi in charge of establishing Ferrari s business in the critically important American marketplace. A shrewd and intelligent businessman Chinetti transformed Ferrari from an esoteric curiosity into a household name in America. Through his dealership in New York and later Greenwich Connecticut as well as his successful North American Racing Team (NART) Chinetti was a highly influential voice in Enzo s inner circle. Along with his son Luigi Coco Jr. Chinetti Motors would be instrumental in several limited production factory models such as the 275GTS/4 NART Spyder and its successor the 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder.The Chinettis were also prolific consumers of one-off and limited production coachbuilt Ferraris. They ordered a number of special road and racing cars through various coachbuilders and were responsible for most of the limited number of coachbuilt Daytonas in existence. In 1974 Chinetti partnered with Giovanni Michelotti to produce a car that would serve as NART s next Le Mans entry. Based on a standard road car it was upgraded to Group 4 specs and Michelotti famous for his crisp and linear style penned an arresting wedge-shaped targa-top body which was based on an earlier Geneva show car. The curious racing car was finished in a colorful livery with a vivid and fully trimmed blue leather interior. Entered at Le Mans and Daytona it would never take the track in anger but the shape inspired Chinetti Motors to commission several more similar cars based on the unique racer.Our featured car S/N 14299 is the first of three road-going NART Daytona Spyders; a very special car that was personally commissioned by Luigi as a gift for his wife Marion. The story of 14299 begins in 1971 when it was delivered as a standard road-going 365 GTB/4 Daytona to Dr. Silva via Chinetti s Greenwich CT showroom. The car was used sparingly and in 1975 it returned to Chinetti motors presumably on a trade. Rather than turn around and re-sell the car Luigi Sr. kept it and along with two other Daytonas shipped it to the workshops of Giovanni Michelotti to be rebodied with the uniquely angular and sharp style inspired by the NART Le Mans car.The three NART Daytonas were crafted using the same wooden buck though each was unique in trim and details. The body constructed of aluminum and fiberglass was quite fresh and modern for the time with faired-in bumpers sculpted sills subtly cut down doors and a distinct wedge profile that was de rigueur for the 1970s. It is a unique and striking shape; balanced and aggressive yet unmistakably Ferrari despite the fact that very few original fittings remain. Mechanically the NART Spyder used the original Daytona engine gearbox and chassis with the lightweight body enhancing performance.Fresh in its new coachwork S/N 14299 was presented to Marion Chinetti in 1977 finished in an attractive combination of dark blue with lighter blue sills and bumpers accented by a rich arancia leather cabin a livery which it retains today. She would use the Ferrari for only a brief period of time amassing fewer than 1500 miles while in her tenure. In 1980 the still fresh design was shown on the Michelotti stand at the Torino Motor Show and immediately afterward was loaned to the Muse des 24 Heures du Mans where it remained on exhibit through 1982 the same year of Mrs. Chinetti s passing. In 1985 it was acquired by a Los Angeles classic car dealer Marty Yacobian who kept the car in his personal collection before it was acquired by another well-known dealer and collector Marv Tonkin of Portland OR. In 1991 Mrs. Chinetti s Michelotti Daytona joined the renowned Jon Shirley Collection in Washington where it remained a proud fixture among multiple important Ferraris for the next twenty-two years. In 2009 the Daytona earned its Ferrari Classiche White Book authentication for Ferraris of historical importance. Mr. Shirley sold 14299 in 2013 and it has remained with just one other collector since.Today the car presents in exceptional and highly original condition with a light patina acquired from the years of limited and careful use. The striking metallic blue paintwork presents quite well. While showing its age in places it remains very attractive for what is essentially an unrestored car. Build quality of the Michelotti body is excellent and the car wears many of its original fittings including the period Cibie Iode fog lamps ANSA exhaust Michelotti badging and hard top. The Marion script on the doors and large NART insignia on the boot lid remain as originally presented to Mrs. Chinetti in 1977.Michelotti fully reworked the standard Daytona interior with a bespoke dash and unique seats incorporating factory instruments and switchgear into the new design. The tan leather cabin is in outstanding original condition remaining totally stock apart from the fitment of an aftermarket radio. This a fully functioning coachbuilt car featuring electric windows air conditioning and a properly fitted soft top. The beautiful Arancia tan leather is accented with brown carpets brown leather instrument clusters and a fat-rimmed Momo steering wheel.Mechanically the NART Daytona remains in excellent condition. It runs strong and feels even more aggressive than a standard car perhaps due to the lighter coachwork. While the total mileage on the chassis is unknown it has seen only limited use in the years since its conversion and it feels tight and solid as only the best low-mileage cars do. According to the Ferrari Classiche report s/n 14299 retains its original engine and sextet of Weber 40 DCN 21 carburetors. The engine is very well detailed and presented in tidy original condition. As expected of a properly preserved Ferrari it retains the original tool kit as well as the jack bag with jack and wheel tools. Period correct Michelin XWX tires are fitted to magnesium alloy Cromodora knock-off wheels which are a later addition that better suit the angular futuristic Michelotti lines. Otherwise s/n 14299 remains as it was when gifted to Marion Chinetti over 40 years ago.This very special Ferrari has a fascinating history with a handful of owners who have each worked to preserve this outstanding piece of marque history. It is a magnificent example of the ultra-rare coachbuilt Daytona and a fabulous expression of advanced 1970s Italian design courtesy of the great Michelotti.