Monterey Sports & Classic Car Auction

18 - 19 August 2006

Lot 504

1970 Cadillac N.A.R.T. Coupe

To be auctioned on Saturday, August 19, 2006

Sold for $57,750

  • Chassis no. 1486238


Coachwork designed by Luigi Chinetti, Jr., executed by Zagato
400 hp 500 cu. in. overhead valve vee eight-cylinder engine, four-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel independent suspension with torsion bars, four-wheel disc brakes.

In the late Sixties being Ferrari’s US distributor put Luigi Chinetti back in the driver’s seat which he had exited nearly twenty years before after his last Le Mans win. His North American Racing Team attracted the best drivers and had no trouble selling its used, and frequently race-winning, team cars to wealthy clients. From its headquarters in Greenwich, Connecticut the Chinetti organization enjoyed success and admiration.

However, even in these heady times, there was a cloud on the horizon: the certainty of more stringent auto emissions regulations. There also was an apparent reluctance on Ferrari’s part to acknowledge the superiority of mid-engine designs, or at least their attractiveness to potential buyers of high performance limited production automobiles. What part these factors played in the evolution of the 1970 Cadillac N.A.R.T. offered here is only conjecture, but work began in 1969 on an exciting and daringly different four-seat, mid-engined concept which became the 1970 Cadillac N.A.R.T.

Conceived by Luigi Chinetti, Jr., the Cadillac N.A.R.T. was designed to provide Chinetti’s clients with a luxurious, sophisticated, high performance four seat automobile that could be built in limited quantities at a reasonable cost. It was based upon the simple but ingenious concept of relocating the front wheel drive Cadillac Eldorado power train to behind the rear seats to create a mid-engined layout, then using other standard Cadillac assemblies for the front suspension. Carefully packaged and built in limited series by independent coachbuilders in Italy, all of whom were well known to the Chinetti family, it promised to deliver neck-snapping performance in a distinctive package.

Luigi Chinetti, Jr. worked with General Motors in the initial planning and, with GM’s guidance, employed an Art Center graduate to convert the layout and Chinetti’s concept drawings into full size elevations. Following the practice of a major automaker, a full size clay model was then made in GM’s studio. Zagato was chosen to build the prototype from the drawings and clay model. Chinetti provided a Cadillac Eldorado and other parts from which the finished car, offered here for the first time to the public, was constructed.

In addition to the Cadillac Eldorado powertrain, including the torsion bar suspension and disc brakes, the front suspension of the Cadillac N.A.R.T. is from a full size Cadillac, with the giant vented disc brakes needed to arrest a loaded six-passenger Cadillac. All the comfort and convenience features expected by buyers of Cadillacs, or of top of the line Ferraris for that matter, were provided including power steering, power brakes, power windows, climate control air conditioning and an AM-FM signal seeking stereo.

The design communicates its American origins with flared wheel arches that tightly wrap the tires but those cues are countered by other elements of Luigi Chinetti, Jr.’s design. The reverse wrapped rear window is buried deep within the roof’s rear quarters to give adequate access to the mid-located engine and the rear deck is high both to enclose the engine and to give a reasonable amount of luggage capacity for a four-passenger automobile. The side windows drop below the fender tops, giving the driver and passengers great visibility. High visibility also has another aspect: it allows the occupants of this distinctive and rare automobile to be recognized as they pass by in comfort and safety and at speed.

Fitted with pop up headlights over shallow parking lights recessed in the full width grille, from the front there is no mistaking the Cadillac N.A.R.T for anything but the high performance luxury coupé that it is.

After this prototype’s completion it was displayed at the 1971 Turin show by Zagato and a few months later on Chinetti Motors’ stand at the New York International Automobile Show. It was reportedly well received by potential buyers, but Chinetti’s Ferrari business had come to require their full attention and a second prototype for further development work was never built. This is the only example of the Cadillac N.A.R.T. ever built.

It was acquired nearly twenty years ago by the present owner in original, as-displayed condition directly from Luigi Chinetti, Jr. Since then it has had cosmetic attention and consistent care and maintenance.

Concept cars and prototypes are among the most exciting and vibrant area of collecting today but few examples have escaped either the manufacturers’ collections or the crusher. As an example of an extremely rare collaboration among three of the most recognized and respected names in automobiles, Cadillac, Zagato and Chinetti, the Cadillac N.A.R.T. is particularly important and rare.

“Unique” is a word frequently misused when describing collector cars, but in the case of the Cadillac N.A.R.T. it is fully deserved. Whether it is conserved as an artifact of automotive history, advanced concept and design or treated to a concours restoration for the many shows, events and concours where it would be an appreciated participant, this is a unique opportunity to acquire a unique automobile with the combined heritage of Cadillac, Zagato and Luigi Chinetti’s North American Racing Team.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alain Squindo


Detroit, Michigan

Alain Squindo joined RM Auctions in 2007, after graduating from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., with a degree in History. R... read more

Alex Classick

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Alex Classick joined RM Europe in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Nottingham University with a degree in Business Mana... read more

Alexander Weaver

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Alexander Weaver joined RM Auctions in 2011 as a car specialist, after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born into ... read more

Annette Abaci

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Germany

With post-secondary degrees in Economic Science and Mechanical Engineering, Annette Abaci initially worked part-time at Mercedes-Benz ... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a senior car specialist, after more than a decade in the collector car hobby... read more

Dan Warrener

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Ontario, Canada

Possessing a degree in Economics from Brandon University, Dan Warrener spent the initial stages of his career working around the globe... read more

Don Rose

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United States

Don Rose joined RM Auctions in 2006, after many years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputatio... read more

Donnie Gould

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Florida, USA

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

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Ontario, Canada

Gord joined RM Auctions in 1998, initially responsible for the transportation and logistics of the company’s auction and restora... read more

Ian Kelleher

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New York, United States

Ian Kelleher began his automotive career immediately following his graduation from Oberlin College, with a B.A. in Politica... read more

Jack Boxstrom

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+1 818 703 2816
Ontario, Canada

Jack Boxstrom joined RM Auctions in late-1996 to assist with the recently acquired, and subsequently record-breaking, auction in Monte... read more

Max Girardo

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+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Max Girardo started his career in the vintage automobile industry in 1998, joining Brooks Auctioneers (now Bonhams) as a car specialis... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Auctions, Mike Fairbairn has a longstanding interest in the classic car industry. Graduati... read more

Peter Wallman

pwallman@rmauctions.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Peter Wallman joined RM Europe in 2007, following nearly two decades in the international advertising industry, read more

Rob Myers

rmyers@rmauctions.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As chairman and founder of the RM Group of Companies, Rob Myers’s entire career has been devoted to the classic car industry. Ro... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmauctions.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Shelby Myers literally grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to w... read more

Vinnie Mandzak

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+1 310 559 4575
California, USA

Vinnie Mandzak joined RM Auctions’ California office in 2012 as a car specialist, following more than 30 years’ experience... read more