Luigi Chinetti recognized the viability of sporty open cars in the American market. The 250 GT SWB California Spyder in particular proved itself a resounding success. But whereas the 4-cam’s predecessor — the 275 GTB — offered a Spyder variant, the wind-in-your-hair alternative to the 275 GTB/4 was a 330 GTS.

As such, the 275 GTB/4S NART Spyder was born of a direct request from Luigi Chinetti to Ferrari. NART stands for North American Racing Team, the American face of Ferrari’s racing efforts. They were one of endurance racing’s most successful teams, with drivers that included the Rodriguez Brothers, Bob Grossman, Masten Gregory, Phil Hill, Jean Guichet and many others. Lending the NART name to the new car and embellishing it with a NART badge made it unique in Ferrari history. This new model was unlike anything Ferrari had built before. Road & Track magazine called it “the most satisfying sports car in the world” and featured it on their cover.

The NART Spider was an open-top version of a 275 GTB/4. The powerful lines of the car were a welcome change from the rather demure 275 and 330 GTS. With over 300 horsepower, a 4-cam, 3.2-liter V12 fed from six Weber carburetors, a 5-speed gearbox, and 4-wheel independent suspension, the car had the performance to back up its styling.

Only 10 NART Spyders were built, and not all of them were equal. Some were built in alloy and some in steel. Some were originally built up as an open-top model and others were built from converted coupe panels. The first NART chassis was raced very successfully at Sebring, and it was later featured in the Steve McQueen film “The Thomas Crown Affair.” Another NART was ordered new by McQueen after he filmed the movie.

This particular car was originally finished in Azzurro Metallizzato (Metallic Blue). A recent inspection confirmed the exceptional condition of the car and how well it has been preserved over the course of its life. The body lines are excellent, and the car’s presentation is thoroughly correct. It runs and drives nicely, pulling through the gears with tremendous power and stopping without issue.

10709’s exceptional purity, matching numbers, and one-owner history makes it unique among NARTs — and particularly desirable. 10709’s offering at auction is quite simply an unrepeatable — and almost unbelievable — opportunity.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spyder
Number Produced:10
Original List Price:$15,000
Chassis Number Location:Right front chassis rail by top of shock mount, plate on right inner fender
Engine Number Location:Right side near starter motor, back of block
Club Info:Ferrari Club of America

This 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder, Lot 225, sold for $27,500,000, including buyer’s premium, at RM’s Monterey Auction on August 17, 2013.

The bidding opened at $10,000,000, immediately followed by $16,000,000, $17,000,000, and $20,000,000. From there the bids slowly upped to $25,000,000 before it hammered sold. Add buyer’s fees, and the total was an astounding $27,500,000 — the highest auction sale of any production car ever. The moment was stunning and a fitting middle to a story that has had the Ferrari community buzzing for months.

Eddie Smith’s legacy

From the moment RM announced that they had consigned a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder for their August Monterey sale, questions filled the air. The well-known 10709 had been in the hands of one family from new. People wanted to know why the family would sell it, how much it was worth, and who would buy it. The speculation was the topic of many Ferrari conversations, and the answers are utterly fascinating.

Eddie Smith was a larger-than-life-personality who left an orphanage at 18 with little more than the shirt on his back. He left the world 70 years later with a fortune that included a loving family, a network of friends and a Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder that he had bought when it was brand new.

Eddie and his Ferraris were a common sight at Southeast Ferrari events. He wasn’t a regular, but he showed up enough that you knew Eddie and the car.

He was easy to get to know, and you soon knew his son — Eddie Jr. — also shared Eddie’s appreciation of cars. When Eddie Sr. passed, the NART went to the family’s airplane hangar, and it appeared that Eddie Jr. would be the caretaker for life.

It turns out that besides an appreciation for cars, Eddie Jr. also inherited his father’s gift of paying things forward. Senior was a bit of a philanthropist who was known to share his good fortune with his community. Eddie Jr. and the family decided that the NART had brought so much joy to Eddie Sr. and the people he had shared it with that it should be passed to a new home.

Eddie Sr. had left his family a thriving business and more money than they could ever spend. The NART Spyder was a lucky investment that had compounded into a second fortune. The family decided to celebrate Eddie Sr.’s life by donating the proceeds of his luck to worthy causes that included the orphanage where Eddie had grown up.

Paying it forward at RM

It sounds weird, but there are a lot of people on this planet who can afford a $27.5m car; however, few of them want a $27.5m car.

There were at least three bidders left at the $20,000,000 mark, with one being SCM scribe and dealer extraordinaire Simon Kidston, who was bidding for a European client. I’m told the bidding had passed their prearranged ceiling when a quick conference yielded a green light to keep on bidding. Bidding was increasing in million-dollar intervals when luck gave the $25,000,000 bid to Kidston’s client. Kidston made the bid, and the car was theirs.

Was the car worth the money? The answer is no. The general opinion put the value generously in the high teens — in increments of a million dollars. Kidston’s client was well aware of the actual value, yet he still kept bidding. It seems he also knew the value of paying it forward.

Although RM made it clear that the proceeds would go to charity and the buyer would get no tax benefit from the purchase, that apparently was no deterrent to this client. He recognized that his money would benefit hundreds — if not thousands — of people and that the premium he paid would benefit many more.

Eddie Smith would have been proud of his family and flattered by his notoriety. He also would have been appreciative of the generosity of others. Everyone came out a winner on this one, especially the people the money will help. The winning bidder got the added benefit of acquiring one of the most important cars in the world — a treasure he will certainly enjoy. It was an evening that will be remembered for a long time. ?

(Introductory description courtesy of RM Auctions.)

[nggallery id=181]

Comments are closed.