“The 365 GTS/4 was, therefore, a sort of official successor to the NART Spyder” – Antoine Prunet in his standard book on the marque, The Ferrari Legend, The Road Cars
“How do you go from this tranquillity to that violence?” – “I usually take the Ferrari….” – an exchange between Detective ‘Sonny’ Crockett and his architect girlfriend Brenda in Miami Vice
The mighty 365 GTS/4 ‘Daytona’ Spyder, built to order in small batches by Scaglietti over a four-year period, was one of the world’s most desirable convertibles, a regular sight in sunny hot-spots from Beverley Hills to St Tropez.
It was the first convertible V12 from Maranello since the 365 GTS and also, unlike the ten NART 275 GTB/4s, produced with the full backing of Ferrari and sold through its worldwide dealer network. Only 121 examples, plus one prototype, were ever made.
The Ferrari 365 GTS/4 ‘Daytona’ Spyder
With hindsight, perhaps, the 1969 Frankfurt Motor Show was an odd choice of venue to launch such a gorgeous open-top car intended primarily for the North American market. A yellow car was presented on Pininfarina’s stand in Germany and it was a stunning variation on the potent berlinetta, effortlessly blending the lines of the now flat rear deck with the top profile of the rear panel and the wide, but intimate cabin for two.
As a mark of its status as a fully catalogued model, Ferrari gave it an official designation: ‘365 GTS/4’. ‘Daytona’, as always, was an informality, never used officially by the factory.
Although intended for a more sybaritic clientele, the ‘Daytona’ Spyder nevertheless packed all the ferocious performance of the coupé, a model starting to be seen on the race circuits that year. Underneath the bonnet sat a 352bhp, 4390cc, four-cam V12. This was mated to a five-speed transaxle, the combination good enough to give 160mph+ performance and searing acceleration.
The fortunate few to be offered the new car could choose Borrani wire wheels or regular-fit alloys, either coming with tall Michelin XWX tyres. The soft top was fabric, and although the prototype carried Plexiglas headlights, all production cars were ‘pop-ups’. The colour palette ranged from traditional red, vibrant Rosso Dino and very period Oro Metallizzato to the exceptionally stylish Grigio Ferro metallizzato you see here.
Air-conditioning was an option.
Like the berlinetta, a separate model with special ‘anti-smog’ emissions equipment on the engine was offered in North America. These cars also have distinctive repeater lights, no ‘ears’ on the wheel spinners and other minor changes such as seat-belt warning buzzers. Ninety-six of the 121 cars were to this specification.
The ‘Daytona’ Spyder remained in production throughout the life of the berlinetta, with the last cars delivered in 1973. After the 275 GTB/4 NART Spyder, it remains one of the most coveted regular production Ferrari convertibles.
This Motor Car
Chassis 15297 is number 46 of the 121 ‘Daytona Spyders’ built. It left the factory as a US-specification car in November 1972 and arrived at William Harrah’s MCM Modern Classic Motors in Reno, Nevada, the following month.
The car was delivered in a subtle combination of Grigio Ferro 106-E-8 (iron grey) with Connolly Vaumol Rosso VM 3171 leather interior. The seats were classic ‘Daytona-style’; red with contrasting black inserts. Factory air conditioning and instruments in miles completed the order. Borrani alloy-rimmed wire wheels, an option at the time, were fitted prior to collection by its first owner.
Harrah, a casino tycoon and fanatical Ferrari enthusiast, was one of the country’s top dealers with a nationwide network of contacts. It was no surprise that ‘15297’s first owner was out-of-state Dr Roger Sherman, from Coconut Grove in Florida, who kept the car until the mid-1980s.
During his ownership the Spyder was repainted black with tan/black seats, in which form it was to appear in the very first episode of the hard-hitting 1980s TV series about the Florida underworld, Miami Vice. The programme’s producers wanted a suitably flamboyant car for leading man Don Johnson, who played Miami vice detective James ‘Sonny’ Crockett, to give extra credibility to his role as an undercover cop.
In the 1984 pilot, Brother's Keeper, ‘15297’ makes an appearance 22 minutes in, parked outside a café and clearly recognisable as a genuine car. For the rest of the action and in-car scenes the well-known Corvette-based replicas by Tom McBurnie are used. It is the only occasion on which an original ‘Daytona’ Spyder, the signature car for the series, was featured. Dr Sherman, a prominent cardiovascular and thoracic surgeon in Miami, was known to live life to the full and was also an enthusiastic flyer of helicopters, seaplanes and jets.
It can be but conjecture that in a spirit of fun he volunteered his beloved car for use in what was to become a totemic television series of the full-on 1980s, the era of white suits, wide shoulders, pastel shirts and Wayfarers
After Dr Sherman’s ownership the car was briefly owned by Hollywood star George Hamilton. From then onwards it spent time in the States before a sojourn in Australia (2004-2005) and then returning to Europe. Kidston SA arranged the sale to the current German owner.
As a significant car in the new owner’s world-class collection, the decision was taken to embark on a total restoration by Italy’s leading craftsmen to return it to its original colour combination and convert it to European, rather than North American, specification. The work was entrusted to official Ferrari service centre Autofficina Bonini (engine and mechanicals) and Gozzi (electrical), while Carrozzeria Cremonini (coachwork and painting) finished the car in its original shade of Grigio Ferro metallizzato. The interior trimming in Rosso was by specialists Ferraresi. Every aspect of the car was restored to the highest concours standard.
The works totalled some €300,000 (invoices and full professional photo documentation are supplied) and took two years. The result was the granting of Ferrari Classiche status on 12 May 2015.
In the comprehensive (26 pages) document that accompanies the Certificate of Authenticity, Ferrari Classiche confirms that the car meets every criteria for originality, simply noting: “absence of the air pollution system” (US-spec ‘anti-smog’), “originally delivered with different front and rear lights” and “absence of side markers and reflex reflectors”.
Later that May, ‘15297’ made its public debut on the stylish lakeside terraces of Ville d’Este for the annual Concours d’Elegance. Presented on behalf of the owner by former Ferrari F1 and sports car driver Arturo Merzario, the immaculate ‘Daytona’ Spyder won the aptly titled ‘GT man has arrived – Interpretations of opulence’ class.
Extraordinary, recently unearthed history as the worldwide television poster car for a generation, a world-class, concours-winning restoration to the most desirable European specification and in quite arguably the most desirable colour combination, this Ferrari 365 GTS/4 ‘Daytona’ Spyder has it all. Whether the new owner should invest in a white linen suit and T shirt for the night club or a fresh Montecristi Panama for the concours lawn is down to individual taste…