Zagato Cadillac Eldorado
It’s for sale, in Brussels, Belgium. Though AutoBlog reports that the car was originally designed to the specifications of Luigi Chinetti, at one time Ferrari’s importer to the United States, it actually has a more interesting history.
In fact, this car was something of a joint project of General Motors and Chinetti, originally envisioned as a super-luxury vehicle that could compete with expensive grand touring vehicles being imported into the United States. The project started in 1968, with GM providing the powertrain, Chinetti the engineering, and Zagato assigned to provide the bodywork. In the following year, however, GM pulled out of the project due to delays in meeting project deadlines.
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GM’s withdrawal from the project effectively ended any chance that the car, which has come to be known as the 1970 Cadillac NART Zagato – “NART” was the North American Racing Team, which was a semi-factory Ferrari racing team operated by Chinetti - would ever see production. Beyond this initial version, two others with modified styling were designed, both in an effort to minimize the humplike appearance of the rear window area. Neither, however, was built.
Though the car is said to have been penned by Chinetti’s son, Luigi, Jr., the similarities to the Oldsmobile Toronado of 1967 through 1970 are striking. The front wheel cut-out and surrounding vender area are very similar to that used on the Toronado. So, too, is the rear roof profile.
Underneath, however, it’s a Caddy, to the extent that it’s anything production. A 472 cu. in. Cadillac V-8 and HydraMatic transmission unit from an Eldorado are mounted backwards, so that the rear wheels, rather than the front wheels, are driven. Front suspension is from a Cadillac deVille and the car carries the full compliment of power accessories available in Cadillacs of the early seventies.
The Cadillac NART Zagato was retained in the Chinetti family until 1987, when it was acquired by a new owner. Some sources say it then underwent a complete restoration. Other sources say the car was purchased in perfect condition from the Chinetti family. Either way, it eventually went on the block at RM Auctions at Monterey, in 2006. As mentioned, AutoBlog reports that the car currently is for sale in Belgium.