picture postIt might have become the American Ferrari

1970 Cadillac NART Zagato


1970 Cadillac NART Zagato graphic

The North American Racing Team was organized in 1958 by Luigi Chinetti, famous Ferrari race car driver and the company’s sole U.S. distributor between 1947 and 1970. In 1968, Chinetti joined with GM to create a car in the league of Ferarri’s gran turismos.

1970 Cadillac NART Zagato

Conceptualization began in 1968, with full-size clay modeling carried out at GM’s studio. Design work was by Luigi Chinetti Jr. and aluminum coachwork by Zagato.

1970 Cadillac NART Zagato

GM’s contributions also included running gear and drivetrain components that were primarily sourced from a front-wheel-drive 1969 Cadillac Eldorado, but make no mistake… the Cadillac NART Zagato is powered from the rear, in every sense.

1970 Cadillac NART Zagato

What that means is Cadillac’s 472 cubic-inch V8 was relocated from the front to behind the rear seats, rendering it mid-engined. The motor was tweaked for 400 hp and bits used from other Cadillac models filled in up front. All four corners had independent suspension, disc brakes and slightly modified Eldorado hub caps.

1970 Cadillac NART Zagato

Even the dashboard was adapted and narrowed from an Eldorado but Cadillac wasn’t the only GM contributor… it wears 1966 Pontiac GTO taillights. Additionally, there was a fair share of European components worked in as well. After all, the plan had been to construct them in Italy by independent coachbuilders and then import them.

1970 Cadillac NART Zagato

In the end, GM dropped out of the project due to delays and economic uncertainties. Even so, the Cadillac NART Zagato was shown at Turin, Italy’s Salone dell’Automobile, in late 1970, and roughly four months later at the New York International Auto Show. It was well received and two follow-up designs were drawn (the last, a wagon) but Chinetti’s Ferrari business proved too time consuming to move the project ahead.

This sole prototype went under the gavel in late 2006, through RM Auctions, and sold for a paltry $57,750 in manicured condition.