1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona NART Spider by Michelotti
- The third of five examples rebuilt to the order of Luigi Chinetti
- Attestation of Historic Interest issued by Ferrari Classiche
- Commissioned as a personal car for Luigi Chinetti’s wife, Marion
- Displayed at the 1980 Turin Motor Show and the Le Mans Museum
- Long-term care by renowned collector Jon Shirley
- Documented by marque authority Marcel Massini
Perhaps best known for his work on behalf of the carrozzeria Vignale, Giovanni Michelotti was one of Italy’s most prolific sports car designers, penning both series-built and one-off coachwork designs for various firms through the 1950s before founding his own concern. The stylist was responsible for the visual cues of numerous early Ferraris, as well as later production-based models from Triumph and BMW.
Among Michelotti’s most interesting work, he created an exceptional series of five open cars during the mid-1970s based on the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, largely at the behest of NART principal and U.S. importer Luigi Chinetti. Though these cars were individually built with myriad distinguishing details, the body designs were essentially the same, 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 it at that year’s Turin Motor Show, and the initial design featured cut-down doors, molded bumpers, and a targa top. The second car, chassis no. 15965, was commissioned as a competition example to run the 1975 24 Hours of Le Mans, though Chinetti ultimately withdrew all the NART entries that year following a disagreement with the race stewards.
In 1976, Chinetti ordered three more Daytonas from Michelotti to be configured to road specifications, and the featured car, chassis no. 14299, was the first of these. The car began life as a standard Daytona coupe equipped with air conditioning and power windows, and specified for the American market. Completing assembly 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 and purchased by a Dr. Silva.
Sometime over the next four years the Daytona was traded back to Chinetti, and he submitted it to Michelotti in 1976 for use on his three-car order. Michelotti re-bodied 14299 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 it was painted in a two-tone scheme of dark blue over grey. The interior 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 finishing touches.
In 1977 the NART Spider was delivered back to Chinetti and he added script reading “Marion” in honor of his wife, to whom he gave the car as a present. 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. Two years later the spider was also presented at the La Baule Concours d’Elegance.
In 1985 the 365 GTB/4 returned to the U.S., and as Mrs. Chinetti had passed away in the interim, the importer chose to sell the car. The spider was then purchased by Los Angeles-based dealer Marty Yacobian, and he presented it at the 1986 Palm Springs Concours d’Elegance. In January 1990 the car was sold to Richard Gorman of North Miami, Florida, and he in turn sold it to Marv Tonkin, brother of the well-known Oregon-based Ferrari dealer Ron Tonkin.
In September 1991, the minimally driven Daytona special was acquired by the highly respected Jon Shirley, whose world-class collection has garnered numerous awards at the finest events worldwide, including the first Ferrari to ever win Best of Show at Pebble Beach. The unique Ferrari remained in Mr. Shirley’s collection for 22 years, being consistently maintained as needed while enjoying the company of his production Daytona Spider and alloy 275 GTS/4 NART Spider, among others. Later in Mr. Shirley’s ownership the spider was certified by Ferrari Classiche with a unique Attestation of Historic Interest, an honor bestowed on cars that are deemed to possess important competition or show history subsequent to when they were first sold by Ferrari.
After being purchased by the consignor in August 2013, this Ferrari was presented at the Cavallino Classic in January 2014, winning an award for Design Distinction. A few months later the car garnered an Amelia Award at the 2014 Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and it returned to the Florida-based concours in 2018. The spider has accrued roughly 3,000 miles of rally use during the consignor’s ownership, including participation in the Copperstate 1000.
Offering rarity and a unique glimpse of Michelotti’s interpretation of the celebrated Daytona, this handsome one-off Ferrari is steeped in the provenance of the famed Luigi Chinetti, and would make a great acquisition for the Maranello completist searching for particularly unusual coachbuilt examples. Still displaying just 5,479 miles accrued since the 1976 rebuild, the spider is sure to draw interest at FCA gatherings and major concours d’elegance, or may be appreciated for its sublime styling, a tribute to the genius of the great Giovanni Michelotti.