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275 GTB/4 Nart Spyder
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  Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Nart Spyder
 

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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1967 - 1968
Numbers built:10
Designed by:Pininfarina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:September 26, 2014
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Click here to download printer friendly versionDuring Ferrari's formative years, Italian-born American Luigi Chinetti played a vital role. In 1949 he almost single-handedly scored the fledgling manufacturer's first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory and then went on to represent Ferrari in the all important American market with great verve. Enzo Ferrari's trust of his keen appreciation of his customers' desires led to the birth of the 250 GT California Spyder. Chinetti had correctly identified the Americans' love for a high performance, sparsely equipped roadster. When the 250 GT was replaced by the much improved 275 GT in 1964, no real successor to the California was offered. Ferrari did introduce the drop-top 275 GTS and later the 365 California but both these machines were far too luxurious to really fit the 250 GT California bill.

Although it took some time, Chinetti eventually convinced his old friend that a spartan roadster version of the exquisite 275 GTB would be a welcome addition to the line-up. Ferrari offered their assistance but all the (financial) responsibility for the project lay with Chinetti. The 'official' 275 GTS sported a completely different exterior design than its fixed head counterpart. For 'his' Spyder, Chinetti decided to use the altogether more appealing 275 GTB Coupe lines with its long nose and short tail. For the construction of the bodies, he turned to Sergio Scaglietti, who had been involved in many of Ferrari's special projects. He very effectively transformed Pininfarina's original fixed-head design into a Roadster; there was not a single angle from which Scaglietti's Spyder looked liked an afterthought. With the exception of the first two examples, the bodies were constructed from steel.

By the time Scaglietti built his first body, Ferrari had already introduced the third evolution of the fixed-head model. Dubbed the 275 GTB/4, it was the first production Ferrari powered by a quad-cam V12. This race-bred 3.3 litre engine was rated by the factory at 300 bhp, which probably was a conservative figure. With its all-round independent suspension, the original 275 GTB had represented a major step forward in chassis design for Ferrari road cars. Within two years of its launch, it certainly did not need drastic improvements. Accordingly, it was carried over unchanged, complete with the five-speed transaxle gearbox. In January of 1967, the first 275 GTB Spyder was completed. As the California designation was already in use for a different model, Chinetti dubbed his new roadster the 'NART Spyder.' This was a very appropriate reference to the North American Racing Team; Chinetti's semi-official North American Ferrari team.

Immediately upon receiving the first example, Chinetti entered his new NART Spyder in the Sebring 12 Hours. With virtually no preparation, the new Ferrari managed a highly commendable 2nd in class. The same car later starred in the Hollywood film "The Thomas Crown Affair." Steve McQueen, the star of the movie, liked the car so much that he immediately placed an order for one. Considering the premium of nearly 50% over the latest Ferrari 365 GTS, it is hardly surprising that Chinetti only found a handful of customers for his NART Spyders. Eventually only 10 examples are believed to have been built before the 275 GTB was replaced by the 365 GTB/4 'Daytona' in 1968. Chinetti also had his own Spyder versions built of that Ferrari but they were nowhere near as exquisite as the original 275 GTB/4 NART Spyders. Today they are among the most sought after Ferraris. All of them are owned by big collectors and when they do come to the market they demand very big money.

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