Lot 624: 1973 Ferrari 365GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ Spyder Conversion
“The Daytona has been called the last great front-engined supercar. For one who has thought about it, it is not difficult to see why; for one who has driven it, it is very easy to see why… A supercar must prove its superiority on ordinary roads; the Daytona did.” - L J K Setright, Supercar Classics, Autumn 1983.
The ultimate expression of Ferrari’s fabulous line of V12 front-engined sports cars, the 365GTB/4 debuted at the Paris Salon in 1968, soon gaining the unofficial name ‘Daytona’ in honour of the sweeping 1-2-3 finish by the Ferrari 330P4 at that circuit in 1967. Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti, later the famed carrozzeria’s director of research and development, was responsible for the influential shark-nosed styling, creating a package that re-stated the traditional 'long bonnet, small cabin, short tail' look in a manner suggesting muscular horsepower while retaining all the elegance associated with the Italian coachbuilder’s work for Maranello. An unusual feature was a full-width transparent panel covering the headlamps, though this was replaced by electrically-operated pop-up lights to meet US requirements soon after the start of production in the second half of 1969. Fioravanti later revealed that the Daytona was his favourite among the many Ferraris he designed.
In response to Lamborghini, Ferrari’s road-car V12 had gained four overhead camshafts during production of the 275GTB (cars thus equipped acquiring a ‘/4’ suffix) and in the Daytona displaced 4,390cc. Power output was 352bhp at 7,500rpm, with maximum torque of 318lb/ft available at 5,500 revs. Dry-sump lubrication permitted a low engine installation, while a five-speed transaxle enabled 50/50, front/rear weight distribution to be achieved. The chassis embodied long-standing Ferrari practice - being comprised of oval-section tubing - the all-independent wishbone and coil-spring suspension was a more-recent development though, having originated in the preceding 275GTB.
Unlike the contemporary 365GTC/4, the Daytona was not available with power steering, a feature then deemed inappropriate for a ‘real’ sports car. There was, however, servo assistance for the four-wheel, ventilated disc brakes. Air conditioning - vital for the US market - was optional, but elsewhere the Daytona remained uncompromisingly focussed on delivering nothing less than superlative high performance.
Although there had been no official open-top version of its predecessor, the favourable reception of Luigi Chinetti’s 275GTB-based NART Spyder no doubt influenced Ferrari’s decision to produce a convertible Daytona. Again the work of Pininfarina, the latter was first seen at the Paris Salon in 1969, deliveries commencing in 1971. Although the rear end had been extensively re-worked, so successful was Pininfarina’s surgery that it was hard to credit that the Daytona had not initially been conceived as a spyder.
The most powerful two-seater, road-going GT and the world’s fastest production car at the time of its launch, the Daytona was capable of over 170mph (274km/h) and is surely destined to remain a front-ranking supercar for the foreseeable future. Just 1,300 Berlinetta models and 123 Spyder convertibles had been made when production ceased in 1973.
Ferrari’s production run of just 123 Daytona Spyders left many would-be customers disappointed, a situation which led, inevitably, to a number of coupés being converted, including ‘16647’ which was imported from Italy in 1973. A right-hand drive model, ‘16647’ was converted by recognised specialists with guidance from UK Ferrari importer Maranello Concessionaires with regard to structural reinforcement. The car was purchased by the current owner in 1995. Professionally stored and fastidiously maintained, ‘UYH 998M’ comes with a substantial history file containing all invoices dating from 1987 to the present day (copies of these will be available for inspection, the originals to be forwarded to the purchaser after sale). Finished in red with tan leather interior, this example of what is still one of the fastest, and rarest, open two-seaters in existence is offered fresh from servicing by Ferrari specialists DK Engineering and comes with jack, tool roll, current road fund licence, MoT to April 2008 and Swansea V5.
Collectors' Motor Cars and Motorcycles|
Bonhams, Olympia, London,
|Hammer Price (inc premium)||£107100|
|Registration number||UYH 998M|
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