Villa Erba

25 May 2013

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Lot 122

1953 Moretti 750 Gran Sport Berlinetta

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

Sold for €134.400

71 bhp, 748 cc dual overhead cam four-cylinder engine, four-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with transverse semi-elliptic leaf springs, live rear axle with semi-elliptic leaf springs, and four-wheel hydraulic drum brakes. Wheelbase: 1,980 mm (78 in.)

  • The first of approximately 10 examples imported to the U.S. by Ernie McAfee
  • Road-tested in the August 1954 issue of Road & Track
  • Incredibly rare and fun to drive

Giovanni Moretti 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 centimetre sizes. Built on a backbone chassis, it was a lively package and available in several body styles. Morettis achieved significant competition success, particularly those fitted with the twin cam version of the 750 engine. Bodies came from the likes of Zagato and Michelotti, and included coupés, spiders, barchettas, and berlinettas. Particularly attractive was the Michelotti berlinetta, which was perfectly proportioned despite its diminutive size. A semi-fastback, it seated two in comfort, with “greenhouse” space behind for luggage and the spare tyre.

The first of some ten 750 Gran Sport Berlinettas imported by Ernie McAfee, the legendary California Italian car guru and sports car racer, this very car impressed the editors of Road & Track when they tested it for the August 1954 issue. Having spent most of its life in California, it was exported by the late Raymond Milo to the Netherlands in 2005. Following a painstaking nut-and-bolt restoration by the previous owner, it was repatriated to the United States by the current owner several years ago, and it has been well-maintained in his collection since, including a recently rebuilt generator and some tuning and adjustment of the carburettor. In his words, “it has been a great little car”.

Finished in its correct original colours of red and black, this fine Moretti has black leather seats and deep grey carpeting. The engine, originally from the GS Barchetta chassis 1294, has been completely rebuilt and nicely detailed. It runs perfectly, and the car drives and performs virtually as new. The next owner can justifiably feel like John R. Bond, the venerated Road & Track editor, when putting it through its paces.

Alexander Weaver

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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