1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta

Coachwork by Pininfarina

"The Daytona 365GTB/4 is the embodiment of [Ferrari's] image: a fiercely powerful, sleek and sensuous machine combining beauty with strength. As such the Daytona has reached near mystical status among Ferrari enthusiasts, and the stratospheric price tags now attached to the car attest this desirability". Pat Braden and Gerald Roush, 'The Ferrari Daytona', 1980.

The most powerful two-seater, road-going GT and the world's fastest car at the time of its launch, the Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona debuted at the Paris Salon in 1968, with production proper commencing in the second half of 1969. Worthy successor to the classic 275GTB/4, the aggressively styled Daytona (nicknamed after Ferrari's crushing 1-2-3 victory over Ford at the US circuit) boldly re-stated the traditional sports car 'long bonnet, small cabin, short tail' look in a way which suggested muscular horsepower while retaining all the elegance associated with the Italian coachbuilder's work for Maranello.

Ferrari's road-car V12 engine 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 enabled the engine to be installed low in the chassis, while a five-speed rear transaxle enabled 50/50 front/rear weight distribution to be achieved. The chassis embodied long-standing Ferrari practice, being comprised of oval-section tubing. All-independent wishbone and coil-spring suspension was a more-recent development, having originated in the preceding 275GTB.

"The Ferrari 365GTB/4...will make the most blasé car nut consider financial slavery to acquire one" said US author Dean Batchelor back in 1969, whilst Belgian racing driver Paul Frère commented that the styling "suggests speed even when the car is stationary and...is striking without being flashy." The Daytona was capable of over 170mph (270km/h) and has been a landmark in Ferrari history since it ceased production.

This Daytona was sold new in July 1973 in Turin, Italy, from where in March 1976 it was exported to Switzerland by one Claude Mollet. Collector Manuel Ferrer acquired the car via broker Philippe Fournier in July 1987 and it was imported to Germany, remaining with Ferrer's family after his death in 1992. Overhauled by Satzer Granturismo in Hamburg in July 2000, the Daytona was acquired by the last owner, a wealthy private Italian enthusiast, via Heijstee Classic Cars on 23rd July 2004, whereupon it returned to Turin. The new owner's intention was to create the ultimate Daytona, preserving the model's classic styling and driving excitement whilst improving some of the weaknesses of an almost 40 year old design to make the car useable on a daily basis. Compare it to a Vicarage Jaguar, if you will.

This major task was entrusted to his favoured restorer, former Bizzarrini works manager Salvatore Diomante (Autocostruzioni SD) of Nichelino, near Turin. The car was completely stripped and dismantled (photographs available) and every last detail repaired, restored or replaced. The list of works is too exhaustive to provide here, but a few upgrades in particular should be mentioned. Daytona brakes, for example, are not entirely up to the job of stopping a 170mph projectile. This car has been fitted with four specially designed Brembo calipers (30% more efficient than the originals) and the shock absorbers are adjustable gas filled Bilsteins; great attention has been paid to avoiding diving and squatting under hard braking and acceleration, and the car was meticulously weighed at each corner to give the best handling set-up. The Borrani wire wheels have a greater offset to give an increased track, thus improving roadholding. The crown wheel and pinion are custom made to provide quicker acceleration and to compensate for the altered tyre profiles.

The engine received new heads and pistons and new valves allow it to run on unleaded fuel, whilst a stainless steel sports exhaust system provides a glorious soundtrack and helps to liberate a few more horses.

Inside the passenger cabin, the air conditioning system was uprated with more, better located, chrome trimmed air vents. The seatbelts now have inertia reel tensioners, and a modern, excellent quality hi-fi system provides crisp entertainment. The interior has been trimmed in best beige leather with matching inserts and contrasting dark blue wool carpets. Hidden details abound such as the door panels which now have stronger backing to avoid future warping. Outside, the razor edged, Pininfarina designed berlinetta coachwork is finished in a deep Blu Sera; a more elegant colour combination would be hard to find. Twin driving lights under the front bumpers complete the package. Overall, Signor Diomante reports: "We did everything and more. Great attention was paid to both panel fit and the mechanics. To me this car is better than new."

It was completed in October 2006 and has driven less than 2,000km since then, but due to family reasons the Italian owner accepted the purchase approach of a UK based collector via Kidston SA earlier this year. The Daytona was duly imported to the UK, where it is now registered, taxed and MoT certified, but due to new, much greater work commitments the investment banker owner has decided to reduce his collection and "simplify my life", therefore the decision has been taken to sell the Daytona, which he has not yet even driven. If you have ever considered a classic, V12 Ferrari as a more charismatic and stylish alternative to the modern equivalent, here is the perfect example, ready to drive anywhere.