As the story goes, around 1960, engineers Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini left the Maserati racing team to launch their own workshop in Modena, Italy. At first, they produced spare parts needed for sports and racing car owners, but soon they were shaping sheet metal, creating their own bodywork, often taking unused Ferrari chassis and wrapping them in stunning shapes.
The Ferrari 250GT “Breadvan” was one of their projects, and they also were involved in Count Giovanni Volpi’s Scuderia Serenissima. Later, after Bonacini left the firm, Neri would supply the distinctive side strakes for the Ferrari Testarossas of the 1980s.
One of their creations was the Nembo Spyder (Nembo takes its Ne from Neri, its M from an American enthusiast and businessman, Tom Meade, and its Bo from Bonacini). First built on Ferrari 250GT chassis, later there were four done on the 330 platform. The last of those cars, a 1964 Ferrari 330GT Nembo Spyder, will be sold for charity at H&H Classics’ auction March 29, 2017, at the Imperial War Museum in England.
The car was owned by the late British collector and racer and former Ferrari UK Club chairman Richard Allen, who remembered an East Anglia Air Ambulance Service helicopter flying in to rescue a fellow driver after a crash and who left the Ferrari Nembo Spyder to be sold to benefit the helicopter service.
H&H Classics expects the car to sell for more than £500,000 ($633,760).
“The gift opportunity which this legacy offers would enable to us to proceed with the building of a bespoke hangar to house our Helicopter, Anglia 2, at Cambridge airport some 400 meters from our base,” Patrick Peal, chief executive of the helicopter service, said in a news release.
“Our own hangar next door would mean adding some 180 available shift hours a year, significantly increasing the number of lifesaving missions we could fly each year.
“The EAAA is all about changing what could be the last day of your life into one that is merely the worst day in your life,” he added.
According to H&H, the cost for such a hangar is nearly $250,000.
H&H said that Allen acquired the car in the mid-1990s but decided not to drive it on public roads. Instead, it became his favorite car in his collection and he displayed it frequently at Ferrari events.
Each of the Nembo Spyders was unique (for example, only the fourth car has right-hand drive) while having a family resemblance to each other. Chassis 5805GT was built on a shortened wheelbase and carried a 4.0-liter V12, four-speed manual gearbox and other 330 running gear. The car had been commissioned by a British collector, who reportedly ran out of money before the car had a windshield, hood or a completed interior.
Allen learned of the car in the early 1990s, traveled to Modena and bought the car and had it completed. The car made its public debut at a Ferrari Owners’ Club concours in 1998.
“None of the four Nembo Spyders are eligible for Ferrari Classiche Certification because they have been re-bodied,” H&H noted in its news release. “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 Spyder 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.”