1985 Modena Spyder California
In 1984, Mark Goyette and Neil Glassmoyer built a one-off fiberglass replica of a Ferrari 250GT California (1957-1963). Although constructed for a customer, this car was a prototype of the cars they planned to build for their newly established company, Modena Design &; Development in El Cajon, CA. In the spring of 1985, before they had a chance to launch the business, their prototype attracted the attention of John Hughes a Hollywood movie director and writer. Hughes was working on producing the film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and thought the Spyder would be a good stand-in for the Ferrari he wanted the characters to drive. An actual Ferrari was too expensive for the studio to rent or use.
Hughes called Glassmoyer and Goyette to bring the prototype Spyder to Paramount Pictures Studios so he could check it out. After seeing it in person, Hughes requested the car for the film, but since it had been built for a customer, Goyette and Glassmoyer couldn’t loan it out. Instead, the studio agreed to lease a complete car, purchase a partially complete car and a rolling shell.
Goyette and Glassmoyer then embarked on hastily building three cars on a tight timeline for the film. Despite long nights, they were successful and all the three cars in various states of completion were finished for their film debut in Chicago in the fall of 1985.
The film Ferris Bueller’s Day Off premiered June 1986. The car that was completed and leased to the studio (the car that is documented for the National Historic Vehicle Register) was used for the wide shots where it shows the entire car. The partially completed car that was sold to the studio was used for the shots of the actors in the car and the rolling shell was used for the scene where the car is launched out of the window.
After filming was completed, the leased car was returned to Modena Design & Development. The studio used it for the jump scene and the car had suffered significant damage. It was repaired by Modena Design & Development and sold to its first private owner, Dorian Kunch in San Diego, CA. The car changed hands a number of times and exhibits various updates and modifications that were performed by its various owners. By 2003, the car had been sold to an owner in the United Kingdom. The current owner, Bob Winegard, purchased the car from a Bonhams auction that was held April 19, 2010 at the Hendon, RAF Museum in the United Kingdom. Mr. Winegard had the car shipped to the United States and subsequently had the vehicle restored and returned to its movie specifications by Greg Weldy of AmericanCoventry in Highland, MD.
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Following the release of the film, Modena Design & Development was sued by Ferrari, as were other replica and kit car builders. The case was settled out of court with Modena Design & Development allowed to continue production with minor changes. The company went kept producing complete cars and different “stage” kits and Keith Knapp purchased the company in the late 1980s.
Today, Mark Goyette owns an antique car restoration shop in Bennington, VT. Neil Glassmoyer is based in Phoenix, AZ and is producing a new line of Modena Spyder Californias.
Paint and exterior
This vehicle is in restored condition. It was repainted in red when it was restored by Greg Weldy of Americancoventry.
Upholstery and interior
This vehicle’s interior is in restored condition. It features tan leather upholstery, a wood-rim steering wheel, and black wrinkle finish instrument panel.
Liquid-cooled, OHV Ford V-8 cyl 302cid with 4-barrel carburetor. Rebuilt/restored. The engine was originally from a 1974 Ford Torino, but has been rebuilt, de-smogged, and is likely exceeding the original rating of 135hp.
This vehicle was originally used for filming in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It is now driven and displayed.
Wheels and tires
15” Dayton 72-spoke chrome wire wheels, 235/60 R15 BF Goodrich Radial T/A tires
Hydraulic assist power brakes, disc/drum
Ford C4 Automatic transmission, aftermarket floor shifter