To venture to Italy in the 1960s as an American and design an automobile while there was no simple task, but it was a task Tom Meade undertook and completed. The result of his journey was the Thomassima. And now, the Thomassima II is for sale on duPontREGISTRY.com for a cool $9 million after a complete restoration by Red Car Restorations.
Back in the ’60s, Meade had just finished his “world tour” with the Navy and was working in California. After a day of work, he spotted a tail of car on his walk home. Just this tiny glimpse of the car took him by surprise and he had to find out what it was. The owner told Meade that it was a Ferrari 500 TRC and that there was a warehouse full of them in Rome.
Immediately, Meade knew what he had to do, and he left for Italy on a freighter with only $50 in his pocket.
After working with Maserati and Ferrari engineers for years, he produced his first vehicle: the Thomassima I. This car was based on the Ferrari 250 GT and embodied Mead’s vision of elegance. Unfortunately, a very rainy season caused the workshop where the car was housed to be flooded. The high water rendered Meade’s first complete car irreparable before it had even debuted.
Bouncing back after a major loss, Meade was commissioned to create a car for a friend back in California. For the new car’s chassis, he used a modified chassis from a Cooper Climax F1, as Tim Taylor of Red Car Restorations told us in a phone interview. Taylor also noted this very Cooper Climax F1 chassis was raced by De Tomaso.
After months of designing, building and revising, the Thomassima II was delivered to its owner in Los Gatos, California.
“What made this car so important was Meade’s vision and tenacity to walk into Maserati and Ferrari as an American and work with those guys,” said Taylor. “And then, to build a car he believed to be comparable to any cars they were building at the time, beauty wise, was astounding. It was accepted at the time. I’m still in awe that this car even happened.”
Years passed, and the legendary car swapped owners. At an unknown point in its lifetime, it was involved in an unfortunate accident, leaving its nose damaged.
In 1983, current owner Larry Hatfield purchased the car as is. He planned on having it restored and kept it in a barn completely disassembled, but the years passed and the car sat without its planned repairs.
This is when Taylor and his partner at Red Car Restorations, Derik Kennedy, stepped in. Hatfield hired the two due to their reputation of putting one-off cars back together and working with projects that had little to no background information.
The two restorers accepted the challenge.
Their first encounter with the Thomassima II occurred in the barn where it had sat dormant. “Every part was dismantled, except for the engine and transmission,” said Taylor. “We had to take pieces of the car and figure out how it all went back together. It was a difficult task due to no documentation.”
Every single component of the car had to be refurbished. But, for the body, everything could remain original except for the nose, the point where the car had hit a tree.
After seven years of locating missing components, educating themselves on the car and restoring it, the Thoamssima II was brought back to life. “The only thing that remained completely untouched was its wheel, per Meade himself,” Taylor stated. “He told us this is where the hands that built this car connected to the car and he wanted this bit of automotive history to be unaltered.”
At the Concorso Italiano 2015, the Thomassima II in its restored form was unveiled to the world. And now, just months later, the Thomassima II is looking for a new home.
This historic “Ferrari” is currently up for sale for $9 million on duPontREGISTRY.com. Taylor told us he hopes the new owner is a “true enthusiast that understands the car’s history and what it did.”
You can view the car’s listing by clicking the button below.