In the early 1960s an American named Tom Meade arrived in Modena on a motorcycle with no money in his pockets. But he was a great car enthusiast and soon he had acquired an old Maserati racing car for a few hundred dollars. Before too long, Meade had established himself in Modena’s car world, supporting himself by buying and selling Italian cars, primarily Ferraris and Maseratis. One of Meade’s specialties was buying an older model Ferrari, then out of favor and inexpensive, and giving it a new body and a new life as a modern-looking car, salable at a substantial profit. One such exercise was the June 1966 rebody of a 1960 Ferrari Pininfarina Cabriolet (chassis number 1777GT) which became known as the Nembo Spyder. This Nembo was the first of three Ferraris which carried that name, all designed by Meade and built in Modena.
The Nembo Spyder was created at the Modena carrozzeria of former Maserati technicians Giorgio Neri and Luciano Bonacini. It combined design elements of the Ferrari 250GTO/64 and the later 275GTB. The result was stunning and elegant in its original dark blue with tan leather interior. It was also probably the inspiration for Luigi Chinetti creating his short run of Ferrari 275GTS/4 NART Spyders. The name “Nembo” was a contraction of Neri, Meade and Bonacini. It also happened to be the name of an Italian parachute division in World War II and a 1960s Italian comic book knock-off of Superman called NemboKid.
After a period of ownership in Italy, the first Nembo found its way to the USA where it remained for many years. At one point the original 250GT motor was replaced by a more powerful 250GT power unit and the interior was modified somewhat due to the fact that its 250LM windshield, although a striking element for the spyder, had been designed for a narrower cockpit and made driving this Nembo rather uncomfortable.
Tom Meade’s design talents were recognized by Enzo Ferrari and another of Meade’s creations, the somewhat outrageous gullwing Ferrari-engined Tomassima III, has been displayed at the Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari in Modena. Tom Meade died in Los Angeles in August 2013 but his standing creations live on.
Photos by Peter Colton ©The Klemantaski Collection