In order to understand the significance of this particular car, it is important to discuss it within the scope of siblings. Four 365 GTB/4 Spiders were rebodied by Michelotti at the request of Luigi Chinetti for his North American Racing Team: one in 1974, this car built in 1975, and two in 1980. That first car was unveiled at the Turin Motor Show in 1974 and featured a Targa style top with cut down doors, molded bumpers, and pop-up headlamps. The 1980 cars were styled in a similar fashion, but slightly more restrained in design.
This second car is arguably the most exciting and interesting of the lot. The basis for this project would be a standard 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona. Chinetti specifically sought a car to compete at Le Mans, chasing victory at the fabled race some 10 years after his team had clinched the last overall victory for Ferrari in 1965. Like the first car, it also boasted rollbar and Targa top, to ensure greater structural rigidity. Interestingly enough, this would be the last dual-purpose Ferrari racer designed from scratch.
After the conversion, which included fitting a competition-spec Group IV Daytona engine, and side-mounted exhausts, Chinetti arrived at Le Mans in 1975 with three other cars in addition to the 365 GTB/4 Michelotti: a standard Group IV Daytona, a highly modified 308 GT4, and a 365 GT/4 BB. As part of the GTX class, the 365 GTB/4 Michelotti qualified for the race with a lap time of 4:31:08. Unfortunately, politics took hold and the ACO and Chinetti became involved in an argument over the qualification of the 308 GT4. Furious and feeling as if he had been disrespected by the organisers despite his history with the event, Chinetti withdrew his entire team from the race just 88 minutes prior to the start.
Arriving stateside having been robbed of potential glory at the Circuit de la Sarthe, its next chance at competition was at the 1978 24 Hours of Daytona. Yet again, politics reared its ugly head and the Daytona was withdrawn after a protest by Peter Gregg, who went on to win the race, over its non-standard Michelotti bodywork.
RM Sotheby's will be offering this 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Spider Competizione at their upcoming Monterey auction between the 24-25th August. Its estimated value is $2.3m – $3.5m. For more information on this and other vehicles at the sale, click on the link below. Photos: Erik Fuller ©2018 Courtesy of RM Sotheby's.