My Car Quest

January 31, 2023

A Ferrari Hot Rod – The Gatto – Custom Coachwork At Its Best

by Mike –

What motivates someone to design and then build, or have built, a fully custom car like the Strale Daytona 6000GT Prototype (Iso Daytona)?

Or the 1933 Ford Roadster Like No Other?

1957 Gatto - Ferrari Hot Rod

Whatever the motivation is I like it and it has been done to perfection with this car called the 1957 Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto built by Steve Moal and commissioned by owner Bill Grimsley.

1957 Ferrari Hot Rod

I have had the pleasure of seeing this car on several occasions and here are some of my photos of this masterpiece.

Description from the Moal Coachbuilders web site

Grimsley wanted a distinct vehicle that would amalgamate a number of ideas regarding form and function, convenience, performance and efficiency.

He knew he would like to own and drive a distinctive vehicle that was highly responsive (stiff and with the handling characteristics of a thoroughbred race car), light and lithe (like a Lotus), one that would incorporate front-mounted power and drive line from an iconic engine that bespeaks not only a special aesthetic–but stands at the ready to deliver vigorous horsepower (the Ferrari 250 GTO motor–one long-associated with the Ferrari Testa Rossa sports racer).

1957 Gatto - Ferrari Hot Rod

The vehicle would have to have amenities that are missing in more traditional sports models: air conditioning, comfortable seating, a fail-safe cooling system, bold, easy-to-read instrumentation, a sure and equitably-matched manual transmission–and the most effective braking system available today.

He would also seek the rare unification of design simplicity with functional accouterments. Unique door handles, cabin and engine compartment vents, filler cap, grille, wheels, and body accents. This would be a cumulative challenge that would broach no afterthoughts, add-ons or post-construction modifications.

1957 Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto interior

Ever-present during the evolutionary phases of this coupe’s three-year construction, Grimsley remains in awe of the Moal artisans and craftsmen who’ve created and assembled the vehicle. Everything from the smallest components like door hinges to the Borrani wheels to the substantial chassis itself.

Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto

He pays tribute to this team for their creative and attentive workmanship, lavishing particular praise on Moal metal smith Jimmy Kilroy, who so adroitly fashioned the aluminum bodywork as well as many of the exterior metal touches–the Mercedes-like fender vents, the exquisite circular grille, so reminiscent of early Maserati Grand Prix racers, the subtle fender creases that again impart a sense of motion and balance, the graceful, integrated topside cabin vents nestled ingeniously in the small rooftop bubble crevice.

1957 Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto

This car is stunning in person and leads one to believe this is a special Italian race car from the 1950s or 1960s. But it is so American, a true modern hot rod with an Italian engine and shape.

I have visited the Moal Coachbuilders workshop and they are real artists – perfection is the only acceptable outcome. It is run by third generation owner, Steve Moal.

1957 Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto

They have built many award winning custom cars including winning the America’s Most Beautiful Roadster award, more than once I believe.

1957 Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto

A Zagatto like double bubble roof line above.


Chassis: Semi-monocoque with riveted and glued stressed panels
Engine: Ferrari 250 GTO Spec
Horspower: 300 @ 7800 RPM
Transmission: Tremec 5 speed
Weight: 2300 lbs
Wheels: Borrani wire
Tires: Michelin 6.00 x 16
Upholstery: Custom tubular seat frames covered in leather
Wheelbase: 96″
Front track: 58″
Rear track: 571/2″
Fuel Capacity: 15 Gallons

1957 Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto engine

Ferrari hot rod Gatto

Let us know what you think about this classic custom car in the Comments.



Originally posted in January 2013. New photos have been added – all photos by Mike Gulett and Michael Menetto.

Ferrari Gatto at The Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Steve Moal (next to the car) with the Ferrari Gatto at The Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in 2017

Ferrari Gatto at The Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Ferrari Gatto at The Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in 2017

Ferrari Gatto at The Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance

Ferrari Gatto at The Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in 2017

1957 Ferrari Hot Rod, Gatto logo

A Ferrari Hot Rod - The Gatto - Custom Coachwork At Its Best
Article Name
A Ferrari Hot Rod - The Gatto - Custom Coachwork At Its Best
A masterpiece of custom car design and fabrication but is it Italian or American?


  1. Yes, very lovely. One of my all-time favourites for Ferrari custom coachwork was Tom Meade’s “Thomassina III”. Really wild!! Like a stretched-out 275GTB with gullwing doors and “bundle of snakes” headers each side. I wonder where it is now…

    • Isobizz, the Thomassima passed to Tom’s “son” upon tom’s death. Surprisingly, it has been displayed (restored) at the Ferrari museum. Tom was pretty much non grata during Enzo’s lifetime.

  2. Maybe this car would look better in person… The quality and special interior & mechanical touches are phenomenal but there seems to be something amiss with the body lines. The grille is a bit too small and protrudes too far out, puckering up the front end. I understand the idea behind the large wrap around back glass, but it seems oversized on the car. Also the B-pillar is neither here nor there… This just my honest opinion… I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  3. Just plain lovely in every detail and the details are truly amazing… Fine work in any ones book.

  4. Like most cars seeing this car in person is a different experience than looking at photos. The fine details are amazing. And like all custom cars some people love it and some don’t.

  5. The steering wheel execution, 6 dual barrels, and the crank windows (rather than electrical) are some of the finer touches that I really liked.

  6. Trevor Griffiths says

    From the A pillar forward this is a Maserati A6GCS Pininfarina Coupe (of which 4 were made) with a Zagato double bubble and Ferrari 250GT rear. Stunning all round.

  7. Looks like a cobra, nice but still needs all the same stuff Cobras need windows Ac cooling heat transfer trunk space spare tire he would do better lowering price at superformance with the perana Modern Daytona coupe for all of above

  8. I think it’s stunningly beautiful car although I might have gone with a interior more like an alfa, the interior seams a bit spartan to utilitarian, a pretty inside would go along with that beautiful body work a lot better . And I really don’t care for the roof it might have been better to raise the center of the roof and hide the rear view mirror up there. just my opinion but it sure is pretty ,nice work guys very nice.

  9. Thom Ollinger says

    Fantastic. And who is qualified to say otherwise?

  10. Sorry for a stupid question. When was this car built? I didn’t see that in the article. And yes I agree it looks like a Cobra.

  11. Derby Preston says

    Didn’t read the Article yet…., but I assume that the builder is more than mentioned ! I had the thrill of seeing this project when it consisted of wood bucks , the wire to outline it’s shape and the 1962 Ferrari block sitting on its birthplaces floor ! What’s more of a thrill is to be friends and neighbor to who few argue is the # 1 Coachbuilder in the World ! I ask the ? S to all ( I’m not shy ) and no one disagreed with my statement

Speak Your Mind