In 1958 automobile importer and race car driver Luigi Chinetti created the North American Racing Team to promote the Ferrari marque in North America. Chinetti, who had raced a Ferrari in the marque’s first win at Le Mans in 1949, quickly established N.A.R.T. as a force to be reckoned with at Le Mans, the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, where the team made its debut with a Ferrari 250 GT. In 1965 a N.A.R.T. 250 LM became the last Ferrari to win Le Mans outright, before the advent of Ford’s giant-killing GT40 . The team continued to race Ferraris until 1982 with the likes of Mario Andretti and Phil Hill at the wheel, by which time the hallowed initials had become a legend in the motorsports world and had also spawned one of the most beautiful Ferrari road cars of all time, the 275 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Spyder.
On Nov. 18 in New York one of the most important N.A.R.T. Ferraris ever built, a 1969 365 GTB/4 N.A.R.T. Competizione, is set to go under the hammer. It’s part of the Rolling Sculpture sale in New York, the first event from Keno Brothers Fine Automobile Auctions, the new venture from the slightly cartoonish antiques mavens who also happen to be classic car experts. Expected to bring in $4.9–$5.9 million, the beautiful racer was modified from a 365 GTB/4 Daytona road car for N.A.R.T. and finished fifth overall at the 1971 24 Hours of Le Mans. Paul Newman bought and raced a nearly identical example. The last front engine road-based race car built under the direction of Enzo Ferrari, in 1972 it went on to place in the top 5 in the 6 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring and 6 Hours of Watkins Glen.