Offered from A Private Collection
$1,105,000 USD | Sold
| Monterey, California
- Offered from a Private Collection
- Personally commissioned by Italian industrial titan and style icon Gianni Agnelli
- One of only two Boano creations built upon an American chassis with an American powertrain
- Breathtaking, high-quality restoration in champagne gold with English Hunt Club Green leather roof over an English Ivory interior with green accents
- Awarded 2nd in Class at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance; Best in Show, 2021 Cavallino Classic Sports Sunday and 2021 Ocean Reef Vintage Weekend; and Best in Class, 2022 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este
- Accompanied by fascinating correspondence with Gian Paolo Boano regarding the Angelli commission
Though it is often said that money cannot buy taste, Giovanni “Gianni” Agnelli was blessed with an abundance of both. Grandson of Fiat founder Giovanni Agnelli and eventual head of the Italian automaker, Gianni—known as “L’Avvocato” thanks to his law degree, though he was never a practicing lawyer—enjoyed almost unimaginable wealth and privilege from birth. Yet his unerring eye and boundless appreciation for the best life had to offer made him an international icon of style.
Often unconventional, and just as often trendsetting, Agnelli’s cultivated taste was apparent in all he touched…including this 1956 Chrysler 300B Coupe Speciale by Carrozzeria Boano. Careful study of the design reveals details, most notably the trapezoidal grille, that echo the earlier limited-production Chrysler Specials built by Ghia; little surprise, as Carrozzeria Boano founder Felice Mario Boano had operated Ghia until 1954. But as recounted in a fascinating, handwritten letter from Boano's son and accomplished designer Gian Paolo, which accompanies the sale, Agnelli’s Chrysler was to be a wholly unique creation guided by his request for “a classic coupe in English style without a modern shape.”
Notably, this was one of only two Boano-bodied automobiles built with an American chassis and powertrain, the other being the radical 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Exclusive Study. In contrast with the futuristic Indianapolis, the Agnelli Chrysler wore a timeless design with flowing fender lines and a formal coupe profile; a leather-trimmed roof adds a classic touch. To provide balanced two-door proportions, as well as a footprint more suitable for use on European roads, the Chrysler 300B’s 126-inch wheelbase was shortened to 119 inches. The potent, 354-cubic-inch Hemi V-8 was retained, as was the pushbutton-operated three-speed TorqueFlite transmission.
Luxurious features encompassed a power sunroof, power windows, and even a power antenna for the AM radio. Carefully considered details included Kelsey-Hayes wire wheels, Marchal headlamps, and 300B taillamps artfully incorporated into subtly finned rear fenders.
Agnelli’s automotive dream was realized by the end of 1956. Despite L’Avvocato’s stamp of approval, however, he declined to take delivery; by Gian Paolo Boano's recollection, Agnelli noted that it would have been unseemly for the future head of Fiat to be seen in an American-powered car, especially one as eye-catching as this. Instead, Agnelli gave the car to his brother, Umberto, who was at the time employed by Fiat in France. Even the delivery of the Chrysler was a somewhat cloak-and-dagger affair—Gian Paolo turned the car over to Umberto at a tollbooth on the Milan-Turin highway! First titled in France in 1957, the car would stay in the country after Umberto returned to Italy circa 1960.
A BOANO-BODIED CHRYSLER IN AMERICA
The Boano Chrysler remained in France for over three decades, cared for by two further French owners, before importation to the United States in 1989 by California-based dealer Irving Willems. It was soon acquired by Michael Pomerance of Massachusetts, who would retain the car until 2006; under his care it is said to have received a partial freshening. It would then pass to the Ramshead Collection of Sacramento, California, before joining the present private collection in 2018.
Shortly after the Chrysler’s acquisition, Rare Classics Restorations of Florida carried out a complete restoration to the highest possible standards. The coachbuilt car was carefully disassembled; bodywork was stripped to bare metal and all corrosion rectified; and its correct-type Hemi V-8, as well as all other mechanical systems, were completely rebuilt. Just as when new, its exterior is finished in a champagne-gold color similar to the Ferrari shade of Grigio Ingrid; its roof is now trimmed in highly attractive English Hunt Club Green leather, while the interior features English Ivory upholstery with green leather accents and green Wilton wool carpeting. A rosewood dashboard beautifully completes the interior.
Since the restoration’s completion, the Boano Chrysler been thoroughly maintained and cared-for in a high-end collection. It was immediately rewarded with 2nd in the Postwar Touring class at the 2019 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in a testament to its significance and quality. Further honors include Best in Show at the 2021 Cavallino Classic Sports Sunday and 2021 Ocean Reef Vintage Weekend, as well as and Best in Class at the 2022 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Further, it was featured on a "Behind the Bowtie" segment of Jay Leno's Garage, in which it was driven by Leno and automotive expert Donald Osborne.
Accompanied by a history and research file, including a letter from Gian Paolo Boano, this spectacular 1956 Chrysler 300B Coupe Speciale by Boano boasts remarkable provenance and benefits from a meticulously cared-for restoration. This is a truly special coachbuilt creation—one ideally suited to a caretaker possessing cultivated taste, who appreciates the very best things in life.