1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder Conversion
Chassis no. 14197
4.4-liter DOHC V12
Five-speed manual transmission
Borrani wire wheels
Spyder conversion by Straman
Recently freshened example
'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 honor of the sweeping 1, 2, 3 finish by the Ferrari 330P4 sports prototype 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 restated 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 favorite among the many Ferrari's he designed.
In response to Lamborghini's 350GT, 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 focused on delivering nothing less than superlative high performance.
Although there had been no official open-top versions of its predecessor, the favorable 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 reworked, 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 and is surely destined to remain a top-ranking supercar for eternity. Some 1,400 Berlinetta coupé models and 123 Spyder convertibles had been made when production ceased in 1973.
Ferrari's limited production run of Daytona Spyders left many would-be customers disappointed, a situation which led, inevitably, to a number of coupes being converted, including chassis number '14197', the example offered here.
Finished in deep black with contrasting tan leather and black inserts, this Daytona was built in March 1971 as a US model with air conditioning and originally delivered through Luigi Chinetti Motors of Greenwich, Connecticut. Early 1970s advertisements in Ferrari club bulletins and the Ferrari Market Letter suggest the original color combination was silver blue with blue/black leather trim. Owned by Philip O. Kraft of Vista, California in late 1970s FOC Rosters, the Ferrari was subsequently converted to spyder configuration it is believed by Richard Straman's shop in Costa Mesa, California where it was reportedly seen in 1979 by Ferrari guru and fellow Daytona spyder conversion specialist Michael Sheehan. Kraft remained the owner into the 1980s. By 1987 the Ferrari was on the market and repainted black with tan upholstery and offered for sale by Prancing Horse collector Bob Bodin in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the early 1990s with 28,000 miles at the time. Cosmetically refreshed in the current Californian ownership, the car is showing 32,397 miles on the clock at the time of cataloging and sits on Borrani wire wheels.