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1967 ASA 1000GT Coupe

car description

In the days before the days of the 246 Dino, Enzo Ferrari himself once sought to extend the reach of his company via an entry level sports car that he planned to design, then license the construction to an outside firm. At a year-end press conference in 1959, Enzo displayed a prototype of the engine and announced it would go into specially designed smallbore sports car. Known internally as “854” (850cc, 4 cylinders), the tiny engine looked very much like one-third of a 250-series V12 (if you imagine another inline four and a V4 left over). While in development, the engine was fitted to a Fiat 1200 test mule that had been modified to handle the new powerplant and fitted with a strange mix of leftover and new Pininfarina panels, built by Scaglietti to look like a 250 PF coupe in miniature. Journalists dubbed the car “Ferrarina” despite it wearing nothing in the way of identification (save for a mysterious machine gun badge) as they had spotted none other than Enzo Ferrari himself driving the prototype every day as part of its development.

Enzo Ferrari never had the intention of building the car himself despite his staunch support of the project. He shopped around the first prototype to a number of manufacturing facilities (including an Italian arms company, explaining the badging) but found no takers. Regardless, development continued, as the great Giotto Bizzarrini designed a new chassis to accommodate an updated, 985 c.c. version of the four-cylinder engine. The tubular chassis resembled that of a scaled down 250 GT, with double wishbones up front, a live axle with trailing arms in the rear and a set of specially designed Dunlop disc brakes. A new prototype featured a sleek and purposeful fastback body by Bertone. Finally, a deal was struck with the De Nora family of Milan and several former racing drivers who agreed to build the car under the newly formed Autocostruzioni Societa per Azioni banner. Despite its exquisite quality and Ferrari cachet, sales were sluggish, and ASA could not build enough cars to keep costs low enough to compete with Lancia, Alfa Romeo or even Abarth. In the end, just 52 coupes, 14 spyders and 20 post-Ferrari “Berlinetta 411s” were produced. 32 of those coupes would come to American shores. Yet, in spite of the commercial failure, the ASA 1000 GT has become a highly collectible piece of classic Italian etceterini and Ferrari history.

We are pleased to offer this rare and exquisite 1967 ASA 1000 GT. This beautifully restored example is one of just 32 original US spec cars, and was first sold on March 16, 1967 via Luigi Chinetti Motors. The original invoice shows this car, S/N 01196, was purchased by Ms. Ruth Lesson of Duanesburg, NY. At $5,967 the ASA was no bargain, and Ms. Lesson traded her 1964 Mercury Comet Cyclone Coupe in for a $1570.00 credit. While the ASA lacked the grunt of the Mercury, it was certainly a step up in terms of handling, build quality and exclusivity. The extensive history file shows it was sold by the Lessons in 1986 to William G. Inglis, a noted Ferrari enthusiast from California. Notes show the car had been off the road since the 1970s, with unknown engine problems. The little ASA remained with Mr. Inglis for many years, and in the 1990s he commissioned the highly respected restorer Mike Regalia to perform a comprehensive, multi-year restoration. The ASA was repainted to a very high standard in the red it wears today, the drivetrain fully rebuilt, and the interior fully restored to original spec using correct style black upholstery. The car traded hands in 2004, joining Ed Brown’s collection in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Mr. Brown enjoyed the little ASA for several more years before selling it on where it became part of another large collection of rare Italian sports cars.

Today, the ASA presents in beautiful condition, the concours quality restoration having matured nicely with some careful use and enjoyment on the road. One of the reasons the ASA 1000 GT was so expensive in its day was its exceptional build quality, and this example does not disappoint thanks to excellent panel fit and fine detailing. The paintwork remains in very good condition, and the delicate chrome bumpers and trim are straight and beautifully presented. The body wears correct Carello lights and ASA/Bertone badging as original. It rides on factory original knock-off alloy wheels, made for ASA by Borrani. The wheels are wrapped in classic-style rubber to round out the period correct look.

Under the bonnet is the 1,000 c.c. four-cylinder engine that looks quite familiar to anyone with early Ferrari V12 experience. This is the original, matching-numbers engine; fully rebuilt as part of the restoration and well detailed with correct fittings including correct Weber 40DCOE carburetors, tubular exhaust header, as well as ancillaries such as correct reservoirs, washer bag, and wrinkle finish paints. Records show the original flywheel was lightened during the extensive engine rebuild, making the already eager little engine even happier to rev.

The junior Ferrari theme continues inside the cockpit, which has been fully restored in correct black upholstery and light gray carpets. Switchgear and controls fall easily to hand and the seats are comfortable, with plenty of room even for six-footers. A gorgeous Nardi wheel falls easily to hand and the driver faces a clear array of ASA-branded Jaeger dials. On the road, the Bizzarrini-designed chassis is balanced and lively, with light steering, a positive gearshift, perfectly suited to the intoxicating engine with its distinct, staccato exhaust note.

Included in the sale is an extensive history file with numerous receipts and records, original invoice, magazine articles, photos, as well as original manuals and brochures. Eligible for numerous driving events and concours worldwide, this exquisite, intoxicating automobile is an outstanding example of the rare and charming baby Ferrari, a car that was worthy of praise from il Commendatore himself.

key Facts

  • Ad ID
  • Ad type
    For sale
  • Category
    ASA > 1000GT
  • Vehicle sub type
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United States

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