European delivered, original 'Plexi' nose car
1970 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder Conversion
Chassis no. 13281
'It's a hard muscled thoroughbred, the Daytona - easily the most awesome and yet disciplined road-going Ferrari in that firm's brilliant quarter century of existence. The Daytona isn't fast it's blinding. It will eat up a quarter-mile of asphalt in 13.2 seconds at 110mph and scream out to 175mph - or it will slug through traffic at 1,500rpm with the Sunday manners of a FIAT. It is the perfect extension of its driver. You can cut and weave through shuffling traffic with the agility of a halfback, or lope down the freeway with the piece of mind that comes from knowing you can contend with anyone's incompetence. To say, after you've driven it, that the Daytona is desirable doesn't begin to sum up your feelings - you would sell your soul for it.' - Car & Driver, January 1970.
Every Ferrari is, to a greater or lesser extent, a 'landmark' car, but few of Maranello's road models have captured the imagination of Ferraristi like the 365GTB/4; the 'Daytona' name was unofficial, bestowed by the press in honor of Ferrari's crushing victory at that circuit's 24-Hour Race in 1967. Responding to the challenge from Lamborghini, Ferrari had introduced its first road-car V12 engine with four overhead camshafts on the preceding 275GTB/4 and this superior type of valve gear was retained for the Daytona. The latter's engine though, was considerably enlarged, displacing 4.4 as opposed to 3.3 litres, in part to compensate for the Daytona's increased weight but more importantly to guarantee Miura-beating performance; its 352bhp and 318lb/ft of torque ensuring that these targets were met. Dry-sump lubrication enabled the engine to be installed low in the multi-tubular chassis, which featured all-independent wishbone and coil-spring suspension first seen in the 275GTB, while a five-speed rear transaxle enabled 50/50 front/rear weight distribution to be achieved.
One of Pininfarina's countless masterpieces, the influential shark-nosed body style combined muscularity and elegance in equal measure. An unusual feature of early Daytonas was a full-width transparent Plexiglas panel covering the headlamps, replaced by electrically operated pop-up lights towards the end of 1970. At the time of its introduction in 1968 the Daytona was the most expensive production Ferrari ever and, with a top speed in excess of 170mph was also the world's fastest production car.
The original form of any production car is normally the purest and also the best looking, for that is closest to the dream that the designer sculpts. Turning imagery into reality necessitates some conformity to production components, and then making that something that is acceptable and practical steers a path further from the drawing board lines. It's not hard to argue that the first Daytonas on the road had the best and purest looks, and the greater part of that surely comes from the distinctive Plexi nose. Of a combined production that numbered a whisker over 1,400 units, 530 or just over a third, were delivered in this form.
Once the Daytona had been usurped by more modern Ferraris, it was perhaps only a matter of time before enthusiasts would look to convert coupes into open top versions, not least to copy the stunning factory convertibles, of which only 122 had been built. It's worth bearing in mind that at the time that this and other conversions were done, commercially this was good business, while today, the near parity of conversions over coupes and the cost of restoration/conversion is prohibitive. So the fact that cars such as this exist today, is its own snapshot on a period in the market which has long since passed.
A number of these clever conversions were carried out by qualified Italian coachbuilders, often not too far from Maranello. As an original European supplied car, and having been purchased by its former owner in this form in Bologna in 1985, just fifteen years after it was originally built, it seems most likely that this was one such local conversion, those that have seen the quality of the work suggest that it could well be the work of Scaglietti's employees, though there is nothing on paper to confirm this. The work was unquestionably carried out to a competent standard and importantly for the overall driving sensation incorporates strengthened steel inner front fenders.
Historian Marcel Massini has confirmed that 365 GTB/4 #13281 was completed by the factory on March 25, 1970. It was delivered as new in the period color of Marrone Metallizzato, a tone perhaps best known for being the color of Steve McQueen's famed 250 GT Lusso, with an interior furnished in black Connolly hides. The supplying agent was Dino Ravasio & Sons of Verona, who sold it new to Sig. Torcellan.
In July 1985, the former owner, noted collector Warren Weiner of Villanova, Pennsylvania, acquired the car from Supercars of Bologna, he subsequently imported the Ferrari to the U.S. In 1988, with the odometer reading roughly 57,700kms the car received a comprehensive service by local experts Algar of Rosemont, PA and since that time it has covered a mere 4,000 more kilometers. It remained in his collection until being purchased by a friend last year. Having received only modest use, but still aging over the course of the last 27 years of ownership, the current owner has been through the car technically and aesthetically, fully detailing it and returning it to road usable order.
There aren't too many collectible Ferraris that one can experience at this price point, let alone a convertible. If you are lucky enough to own and drive one these cars you are at once seduced by the glorious sound of the strong V12 ahead of you and the ample gearing and as such these cars make ideal entries for road tours, which can be truly enjoyed without the caution one might have if behind the wheel of one of the original $1million plus Spyders. Better still, stop the car, turn off the ignition and step a few paces from it and you're still looking at one of the greatest designs of all time.
- Bonhams is pleased to confirm that since going to press, the Italian registration/licensing papers have been sourced for the car's early history, confirming all previous owners prior the car's arrival in the U.S. These include noted Ferrari collecting and driving luminaries such as Erasmo Crivellari and Count Vittorio Zanon.
A copy of this document is available from Bonhams.