Saturday, 11 June 2011

Reason No. 671 to go to Pebble Beach this August: The 1955 “Fred Astaire” Ferrari 750 Monza Spider by Scaglietti.
The car is one of only 35 750 Monza spiders built and was raced by Fred Astaire in his first non-singing, non-dancing movie role.

It debuted–snakeskin interior and all–at the Brussels Motor Show in January 1955, then was sold to Luigi Chinetti in New York, who promptly delivered it to Porsche importer John von Neumann in Los Angeles. Von Neumann raced the 4-cylinder, 260-horsepower Monza a lot around Southern California, where it quickly became notorious enough to be featured in Road & Track and earn a spot in the Gregory Peck-Ava Gardner-Fred Astaire apocalypse flick On the Beach.

The film was shot in and around L.A., with some frames taken at the Phillip Island race course and on Riverside Raceway. (In the plot, Fred Astaire’s character had always wanted to be a racing driver, and when Australia holds the world’s last Grand Prix, he buys the Monza to enter.) It didn’t exactly go smoothly: Eight cars were totaled in 12 days of filming the racing scenes, including a Jowett Jupiter, MG Special, Nash Healey, Austin-Healey, Jaguar XK120 and a Corvette.

Lucky for us the 750 Monza survived. It’ll go on sale Aug. 19 and 20 at RM Auctions’ Monterrey sale in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Expected price, according to Driven: $3.25 million.