Auctions and Brokerage
Coachwork by Drogo
Attilio Monti, Forlì, Emilia-Romagna, Italy (acquired new in 1966)Norbert Navarro, Italy (acquired circa 1969)Luigi Chinetti Motors, Connecticut (acquired via Piero Drogo 1971)Gordon R. Tatum Jr., Maryland (acquired circa 1977)Norman Jacobson, St. Petersburg, Florida (acquired circa 1980)John W. Mecom Jr., Houston, Texas (acquired circa 1984)Current Owner (acquired in 2003)
Concorso Italiano, Monterey, California, August 2013XXIII Cavallino Classic, Palm Beach, Florida, January 2014Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, Florida, March 2014
Beginning as a regular-production 1966 330 GT 2+2 Series II numbered 7979, this striking design statement is known alternatively as the “Drogo Speciale,” “Golden Car,” or “Navarro Special.” It was completed during December 1965 and purchased new during January 1966 by Attilio Monti, the highly successful businessman with petroleum, sugar, and newspaper interests who resided in Forlì, near Bologna.
Italian nightclub owner Norbert Navarro subsequently acquired 7979, and he began exploring revisions to the original Pininfarina-designed and -built bodywork, intent on creating a highly personal automotive expression. Mr. Navarro discussed his ideas with the noted former racer Piero Drogo, whose Modena-based Carrozzeria Sports Cars had already gained renown for its sleek bodies gracing various 250 GTs, 250 LMs, the purposeful 250 GT SWB “Breadvan” race car engineered by Giotto Bizzarrini for Count Volpi’s Scuderia Serenissima, Ferrari’s 206P sports racer, and other low-production designs. It is believed that Mario Tadini was the likely designer of 7979’s new bodywork. Credence to this theory derives from the similarity of many of the stylistic changes applied to 7979 to those applied to the Tadini-penned, Carrozzeria Sports Cars-built body of Ferrari 250 SWB chassis 2209.
In August 1971, the Navarro Special was sold via Carrozzeria Sports Cars to Luigi Chinetti Motors, Inc. and imported to the US. It was then profiled in the February 1972 edition of Sports Car World magazine.
In 2004, 7979 was purchased by the consignor, a businessman and noted vintage racer based in Seattle, Washington, who commissioned its complete restoration to its period form, beginning in 2008. The project was overseen by Walter Gerber, the manager of the consignor’s private collection and racing activities. Butch Dennison’s Dennison International Motorsports prepared the chassis and body of 7979 for paint, which was applied by Rillos Restoration. The remainder of the restorative work was performed by the consignor’s in-house staff. Following completion, 7979 was seen at the August 2013 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and then displayed at Concorso Italiano. During January 2014, 7979 formed part of the Design Distinction Class at the XXIII Cavallino Classic held at The Breakers in Palm Beach, Florida. This very special Ferrari may also be familiar to some as the subject of a limited-edition 1:43 scale model.
With its unique exterior design cues, 7979 is exceptionally striking and engaging as the physical manifestation of Norbert Navarro’s singular vision. A true one-of-one coachbuilt car by Drogo based upon the excellent 330 GT 2+2 – Ferrari’s definitive four-place GT car of the mid-1960s – it simply commands attention everywhere it appears today.