I recently had a chance to chat with one of our Undiscovered Classics aficionados – Greg Kishline. Greg’s home is in Kenosha, Wisconsin and from there the handcrafted restorations of full-size and scale size cars comes forth. And Greg’s bringing back history with his restoration and now creation of the Connetti Monza scale model car. Check out the letter and photos I recently received from Greg about his latest completed project.
Gregg Kishline: The Connetti Ferrari Monza
I found a Connetti Ferrari Monza (a scaled ‘junior’ car), or rather it found me. A collector brought it to me for ‘glass repair. Even in scale, I’m an open-wheel guy, so it took some time before I warmed up to the Scaglietti lines of the body. The styling has balance and elegance, not usually found in the 50’s cars. I was soon hooked. The car is an excellent scaled version of the predecessor of the iconic ’57 Ferrari Testarossa, also bodied by Scaglietti for ‘il Commandetore’ (Enzo Ferrari).
Long story short, I got permission from the owner to copy his Connetti body, which I did after repairs were complete. In doing a wet lay-up, I added all the missing production features evident on the full-size cars:
- Instrument cluster
- Egg-crate grill
- Fender brake vents
- Full-width windscreen
- Hard tonneau cover, removable
- Headlight cutouts
- Hood scoop
I also created a fiberglass cockpit insert to allow a finished interior and eliminated the seam for the removable rear deck to integrate the rear body and allow a one-piece body shell. The cockpit was stretched 2″ for added interior room. A custom, dropped chassis was constructed, putting the driver about 2″ off the road. The car build occurred in 2016. It sits on four Margay cast aluminum 6″ wheels – closest I could come to the Halibrands of the period. The car was a fun exercise, and I did molds before applying the Ferrari red paint. (Maybe more Connettis, if the grandkids are eager.)
There’s precious little out there about the history of the Connetti cars (like I have). The Petersen Museum in CA lists one in their collection. Autobooks (also in California) was the distributor, for a while, but all the threads I’ve uncovered end quickly. Even the name is a mystery. One speculation I found suggests it was an homage to Luigi Chinetti, then the exclusive distributor in America for the Ferrari cars and also founder of the iconic North American Racing Team (NART).
Back in the 50’s – much like Bill Devin did with his full-scale fiberglass body – somebody felt compelled to reproduce a mid-50’s Ferrari in scale – producing a junior Ferrari. When I was presented with a Connetti car to restore the tattered fiberglass, I grew more enamored with the perfect styling of Scaglietti’s bodywork – and the absence of compromises in proportion, so often introduced when cars are reduced in scale. At that point I decided to build my own and I received permission to splash a body off an original.
As I continued researching the Monza and Testarossa cars, I discovered they are very similar, differing in engines. I focused on the details of the Monza, adding/adapting its distinctive features to the one I built – maintaining scale. It could be described as a giant-scale model, but fact is, I can get in it.
I can trace this car back only two owners. Earliest is Mike Guffey, a collector of ‘vintage speed’, including drag, circle track, karts and junior cars. Mike’s website, if you’re interested: https://www.guffeystuff.com/
I know you enjoy the hunt, as well. It gnaws at me, not knowing more of this car’s history – wish I had more results to offer, with the junior Connetti. I need to downsize the inventory. My driveway is a poor sales location, so I surrendered the car to Sotheby-RM Auctions. It will go across the block March 21, 2020 in Palm Beach, as a ‘no-reserve’ lot, in the Automobilia category.
Here’s the link to the Sotheby-RM Auction listing for the car – better than the build photos that I ever took. Auction is Mar 20, but I’ll watch it streamed on their site. Palm Beach is a long haul.
Working in half-scale speeds things along and reduces costs. Still, it takes 8-12 months to bring one to completion. I enjoy the ‘finds’ that you share, as well as the backstories. Don’t stop.
Great thanks to Greg Kishline for sending in the story and photos. I’ve asked Greg to share some of his past projects with us too so look for more stories on Greg’s work in the future here at Undiscovered Classics. I look forward to what he shares with us too 🙂 And be sure to scroll down in this story to see more photos of the finished car. Just a beautiful job Greg – nicely done!
Hope you enjoyed the story, and remember…
The adventure continues here at Undiscovered Classics.