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Unlike Lamborghini’s new Miura, the 365GTB/4 "Daytona" was a traditional front-engined, rear-drive car. Over time, some pundits and customers were disappointed that Ferrari stuck with this layout unlike with the race cars, and the Daytona was replaced by the mid-engined 365 GT4 Berlinetta Boxer in 1973. Today, however, the car represents the last of the great front engine Ferrari GTs before this layout was revived in the 1990s.
First introduced to the public at the Paris Auto Salon in 1968 the Daytona replaced the 275 GTB/4. Although it was also a Pininfarina design, the Daytona was radically different. Its sharp-edged styling resembled a Lamborghini more than a traditional Pininfarina Ferrari. The Daytona name commemorates Ferrari’s triple success in the February 1967 24 Hours of Daytona with the 330P4. While it was initially used as a pre-production internal denomination, Ferrari still insists that this was never the model’s official name and as such should not be used when referring to the car in any true manner.
The engine, known as ‘Tipo 251’ and developed from the earlier Lampredi V12 used in the 275 GTB/4, was a 4.4 L DOHC V12 with a 60 degree bank angle, 365 cc per cylinder, 81 mm bore and 71 mm stroke, featuring six Weber 40DCNF twin carburettors or, occasionally, 40mm Solex two-barrel units. At a compression ratio of 9.3:1, it produced almost 350 bhp and could reach a top speed of 174 mph. 0-60 mph acceleration was just 5.4 seconds. For the American version, slight modifications were made – the compression ratio was reduced to 8.8:1 and the exhaust system was equipped with a large central silencer, necessitating visible alterations to the primary pipes. The 5-speed manual transmission (transaxle concept) was mounted in the rear for optimal weight distribution, and a 4-wheel independent suspension featured wishbones and coil springs. Early Daytonas featured fixed headlights behind an acrylic glass cover. This particular setup was completely abandoned in favor of pop-up twin headlights when lobbying efforts by the Center for Auto Safety led to a variety of new safety regulations for U.S. road traffic in 1970, one of which concerned minimum ride and bumper heights.
In 1971, the Daytona gained notoriety when a Sunoco Blue example was driven by racing legend Dan Gurney and Car & Driver’s Brock Yates from New York to Los Angeles in 35 hours, 54 minutes, covering 2,876 miles at an average speed of 80.1 miles per hour to win the inaugural Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. At one point, the two claimed to have driven the car to 180 miles per hour on the back roads of Arizona. Befitting the car’s heritage, both reported stability to be rock-solid the entire trip, even at that elevated speed.
Built in May of 1972, the 1973 365GTB/4 Coupé offered here this weekend was sold new by Luigi Chinetti to a New York company on the last day of July, 1973. From this time until 2002, the car was almost completely off the radar of Ferrari enthusiasts the world over. At this time, the car was with a broker in Connecticut who advertised it for sale as having just 27,000 miles on the odometer in amazing original condition with all books and tools. Five years later, the car made the rounds of the Concours circuit, winning its class at the Ferrari Club of America International Meet Field and Driving Concours, where it won its class. Following this event, it went on to a number of other 2007 awards, also attending Le Belle Machine d’Italia, where it took 2nd Place only because the owner’s Spyder (being auctioned here today #16913) took first place and a Platinum Award at Watkins Glen at the Ferrari Nationals. In beautiful condition and with a unique pedigree for a US-model car, this example is sure to brighten even the best Ferrari collections in the world today.