Monterey

19-20 August 2016

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Lot 129

1953 Moretti 750 Gran Sport Berlinetta

  • Chassis no. 1290S
  • Engine no. 1294S

Sold for $132,000


71 bhp, 748 cc dual overhead-cam four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse semi-elliptical leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptical leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 78 in.

  • Offered from the Skip Barber Collection
  • The first of approximately 10 examples delivered to the United States by Ernie McAfee
  • Road-tested in the August 1954 issue of Road & Track
  • Recent extensive mechanical sorting; incredibly rare and fun to drive


Giovanni Moretti initially made his name with racing engines for motorcycles. Following World War II, he began making small automobiles, the first powered by his own vertical twin-cylinder engine. In 1950 he developed a four-cylinder overhead-cam engine, in both 600 and 750-cubic centimeter sizes. Built on a backbone chassis, it was a lively package available in several body styles, including attractive designs from Zagato and Michelotti, and achieved significant competition successes on both sides of the Atlantic.

The Michelotti Berlinetta on the 750 Gran Sport chassis was a particularly attractive offering, resembling, as it did, a scaled-down Ferrari 212 Inter with semi-fastback lines and a two-passenger interior, with “greenhouse” space aft for luggage and the spare tire.

The car offered here, chassis number 1290S, was the first of 10 750 Gran Sport Berlinettas imported into the United States by Ernie McAfee, the legendary sports car racer and California Italian car guru. It sufficiently impressed the editors of Road & Track when they road-tested this very car for their August 1954 issue.

Having spent most of its life in California, the 750 was exported to the Netherlands by the late Raymond Milo in 2005. Following a nut-and-bolt restoration, it was repatriated to the United States in 2010 to join a distinguished collection of sports cars in the American Southwest. More recently, it has become part of the collection of legendary American racing driver Skip Barber, from whose stable it is proudly offered here today.

Finished in its correct original colors of red and black, this fine Moretti has black leather seats and deep grey carpeting. The engine, originally from the Gran Sport Barchetta chassis 1294, was completely rebuilt and nicely detailed in previous ownership. In a recent conversation with RM Sotheby’s, Mr. Barber stated that the engine presently runs very well and that a leak-down and compression check by Dominick’s European Car Repair in White Plains, New York, as part of a general sorting, showed very good numbers.

The next owner can justifiably feel like John R. Bond, the venerated Road & Track editor, or perhaps even like the Pebble Beach Road Races legend Ernie McAfee, when putting it through its paces.

Addendum

Please note that this title is in transit.

Please contact our exclusive automotive transportation partner, Reliable Carriers, for a shipping quote or any other information on the transport of this vehicle.

Alexander Weaver

aweaver@rmsothebys.com

+1 864 313 6844
California, United States

Alexander Weaver joined RM Sotheby’s in 2011 as a Car Specialist after graduating from Furman University in South Carolina. Born... read more

Augustin Sabatié-Garat

asabatie-garat@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 74 1511 4179
United Kingdom

Augustin Sabatié-Garat joined RM Europe in 2012 as a Car Specialist after more than a decade in the collector car hobby. Gradua... read more

Barney Ruprecht

bruprecht@rmsothebys.com

+1 203 912 7168
Ontario, Canada

Barney’s interest in classic cars began at an early age after being introduced to his father’s all-original 1965 Porsche 911. Barney l... read more

David Swig

dswig@rmsothebys.com

+1 415 302 2247
California, United States

David Swig joined RM Sotheby’s West Coast division as a Car Specialist in May 2015. David is a life-long automobile enthusi... read more

Don Rose

drose@rmsothebys.com

+1 617 513 0388
United States

Don joined RM in 2006 after several years of professionally trading sports and classic cars, and after earning a reputation as a noted... read more

Donnie Gould

dgould@rmsothebys.com

+1 954 566 2209
Florida, United States

Donnie Gould joined the RM team in 2002 as a partner and Car Specialist after more than two decades in the vintage automobile auction ... read more

Gord Duff

gduff@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

Gord Duff began his journey with RM Sotheby’s in 1998. Since then, he has gained an intimate knowledge of a variety of marques a... read more

Jake Auerbach

jauerbach@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Jake Auerbach got his start in the automotive industry at an early age, spending his summers during high school working at a classic c... read more

Kurt Forry

kforry@rmsothebys.com

+1 717 623 1638
California, United States

Having worked for Bonhams’ Automobilia department for over 10 years, Kurt Forry joined RM Sotheby’s with more than a decad... read more

Matt Malamut

mmalamut@rmsothebys.com

+1 805 231 6410
California, United States

A long-time car enthusiast and Southern California native, Matt studied Automotive Technology at San Diego Miramar College and complet... read more

Michael Squire

msquire@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Michael Squire joined RM Sotheby’s European Division in the summer of 2016. He comes to RM with a prestigious racing background ... read more

Mike Fairbairn

mfairbairn@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 352 4575
Ontario, Canada

As one of the three founding partners of RM Sotheby’s, Mike has a long-standing interest in the classic car industry. Graduating... read more

Oliver Camelin

ocamelin@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 75 0110 7447
United Kingdom

With an extensive background in exotic sports car history and sales, a particular passion for American curves, and fluency in three la... read more

Paul Darvill

pdarvill@rmsothebys.com

+44 (0) 20 7851 7070
United Kingdom

Paul Darvill joined the RM Sotheby’s European team at the beginning of 2015. Paul holds a degree in French and Politics from the... read more

Pete Fisher

pfisher@rmsothebys.com

+1 519 784 9300
Ontario, Canada

Pete Fisher was first introduced to antique cars in high school, working for Classic Coachworks in his hometown of Blenheim, Ontario. ... read more

Shelby Myers

smyers@rmsothebys.com

+1 310 559 4575
California, United States

Shelby Myers grew up with the classic car industry infused into every aspect of his life. He had the unique opportunity to watch the R... read more

Tonnie Van der Velden

tvandervelden@rmsothebys.com

+31 653 84 19 60
United Kingdom

Tonnie Van der Velden joined RM Sotheby’s European division in September 2015 as a Car Specialist. A lifelong enthusiast, Tonnie... read more