Ferrari 330 GT Nembo Spider
330 GT Nembo Spider
- Widely regarded as the fourth and final Nembo Spider not to mention the only RHD car and the sole 330-series 4-litre V12 powered example
- Commissioned from and reconfigured by Giorgio Neri (the 'Ne' of Nembo)
- The jewel in the crown of the late Richard Allen's collection since 1992 (Mr Allen was chairman of the Ferrari Owners' Club of Great Britain for many years)
- Offered for sale at No Reserve to benefit the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service
Widely acknowledged as the fourth and final Nembo Spider, chassis 5805GT was commissioned from Giorgio Neri (the 'Ne' of Nembo) during the 1980s by a wealthy British collector whose stable also included one of the three 330 GTOs ever made. Unlike its earlier siblings, chassis 5805GT was based around a 330 GT chassis and running gear (rather than 250-series components). The two-seater also differed in being the only right-hand drive example made. The first Nembo Spider - chassis 1777GT - was completed in 1966 and has been credited with inspiring the design of the legendary 275 GTB/4 'NART' Spiders (Luigi Chinetti of NART apparently spying it during the mid-1960s).
Posited by Cavallino Magazine as 'The Most Beautiful Ferrari?', chassis 1777GT began life as a 250 GT Pininfarina Cabriolet before being reconfigured by Giorgio Neri and his then business partner Luciano Bonacini with input from American enthusiast / entrepreneur Tom Meade. Legend has it that 'Nembo' was a contraction of the names Neri, Meade and Bonacini but the distinctive moniker was also associated with an Italian parachute regiment not to mention the 'Nembo Kid' (a re-branding of the comic hero Superman).
Neri and Bonacini were well known in Modenese car circles and something of an obvious choice for Meade. Not only were the pair former Maserati race engineers but they had also helped create the famous Ferrari 250GT 'Breadvan' and made a significant contribution to Count Giovanni Volpi's Scuderia Serenissima. Although, Neri and Bonacini had gone their separate ways by the end of the 1960s, the former remained very much part of Italian supercar culture. Indeed, at the time he was tasked with transforming chassis 5805GT, Neri was fabricating the distinctive side strakes for Ferrari's then flagship, the Testarossa.
Still more than capable of bespoke commissions, his workshop contained a number of fascinating projects when work on the fourth Nembo Spider began. Despite bearing a strong family resemblance to each other, no two Nembo Spiders were the same. The different commissioning owners all had subtly varying briefs. The one for chassis 5805GT included a shortened wheelbase and retention of its 4 litre V12 (rated at 300bhp / 288lbft of torque), four-speed manual gearbox and other associated 330-series running gear. The two-seater aluminium bodywork was crafted to a high standard as an examination of its inner wheelarches will attest. Sadly, chassis 5805GT's then owner ran out of funds when the project was nigh-on complete aside from its windscreen, brightwork, hood and various inner panels.
A director of the Ferrari Owners' Club (UK) at the time, the late Richard Allen learnt of the fourth Nembo Spider's existence on the grapevine and journeyed to Neri's Modenese workshop to inspect it in 1992. Accompanied by fellow marque enthusiast Tim Blackburn, the pair were impressed by the presence of a 250LM, assorted bucks / jigs and a scrapped Drogo body! Determined to make chassis 5805GT the jewel in the crown of his collection, Allen struck a deal and had the Ferrari brought back to the UK.
Interestingly, chassis 5805GT is rumoured to have covered a mere 26,000 miles or so prior to its transformation. A proud Richard Allen began showing his Nembo Spider at Ferrari Owners' Club Concours events in 1998 and continued to do so up until its last public outing some fifteen years later at the Club's Waddeson Manor Concours meeting.
None of the four Nembo Spiders are eligible for Ferrari Classiche Certification because they have been re-bodied. However, the quartet remain part of a noble coachbuilding tradition and are judged by many to be among the most beautiful Ferraris ever made. There are those who consider chassis 5805GT to be a continuation car. However, others feel it has a genuine claim to being the fourth and final Nembo Spider because of Giorgio Neri's involvement. Certainly, few would doubt its right to wear Nembo badges in the same way that few would doubt Figoni's ability to execute a Figoni & Falaschi design or that only Maseratis made before the founding brothers' departure are worthy of the Trident badge.
Regardless, chassis 5805GT is a unique motor car made all the more so by the late Richard Allen's incredibly generous decision to offer it for sale at no reserve so as to benefit the East Anglian Air Ambulance Service. We consider it to be the fourth and final Nembo Spider, the only RHD example and the only 4-litre V12-powered one.
Richard Allen never drove chassis 5805GT in anger but nonetheless had it road registered as 'BPR 455B'. The 'NMB 64' plates it wears in many of the accompanying photos were for show purposes only. Still very smart several decades after its rebirth, the Ferrari possesses a current MOT certificate valid until October 2017.
Imperial War Museum Duxford