10 September 2022

More than an old car #199: Ferrari 365GTB/4 'Daytona'

As our country slowly opens up its measures, it has been really great to see car meets back in full force. I have also known of others who have travelled overseas for car shows and a apart of me feels envious that I may not have a chance to see them. This also reminded me of a car show that I attended back in 2018, where I was able to see this lovely 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 'Daytona'!

By the time Ferrari introduced the traditional front-engined 275 GTB/4 in 1966, its competitors were already releasing cars with larger engines and a mid-engine layout: Ford with its GT40 and Lamborghini with its Miura. The Miura was more of a threat to Ferrari as it was a genuine series production also in Italy. Aware that it was lagging behind, the 365 GTB/4 was conceived and subsequently unveiled at the Paris Motor Show in 1968. The new car was unofficially dubbed Daytona, in recognition of Ferrari's podium finishes at the 1967 24 Hours race.

The bodywork was designed by Pininfarina and made at the Scaglietti works in Modena. Featuring a chiselled nose, rakish cabin and muscular tail, Pininfarina was able to blend the curves with flat pointy surfaces that would characterise the wedge era of the 1970s. Apart from a pair of discreet vents on the hood, there were no ducts nor spoilers (other than a set of quarter bumpers), giving the car a very clean design. More uniquely, the headlights were covered by a Plexiglas panel, giving it a distinctive look. 

As expected of a Ferrari, the interior was upholstered with luxurious leather and alcantara. Cockpit visibility was extremely good compared to the GT40 and Miura, and gauges were all contained within an oval binnacle. Additional options could be had, such as head rests, air-conditioning and wire wheels instead of the star-shaped Cromodoras. 

Ferrari was unable to sell the 365 GTB/4 in the US as the covered headlights were deemed illegal; this led to a revamp in 1971 when pop-up headlights were introduced. Additional marker lights and installation of an ignition system were some of the numerous changes introduced. It was also around this time that a convertible version known as the 365 GTS/4 was released as well, even though a prototype had been exhibited in 1969. The steering wheel was further changed to a smaller leather one compared to wood rim previously.

The 365 GTB/4 was powered by a 4390 cc Tipo 251 Colombo V12 engine, allowing it to reach a top speed of 280 km/h with an acceleration of 5.7 seconds [0-100 km/h]. It had dimensions of 4425 x 1760 x 1245 mm, weighed in at 1600 kg and had a whopping fuel consumption of 25 litres / 100 km.

Production of the 365 GTB/4 ended in 1973 with 1,284 made, of which only 149 were in RHD. The Daytona gained fame for featuring in the inaugural Cannonball Run in 1971, where it made the journey from New York to Los Angeles in slightly less than 36 hours (with an average speed of 129 km/h). It also appeared in the sitcom Miami Vice (though the actual car used was a Corvette C3 chassis). 

This particular unit is currently owned by the Sultan of Johor, and it was exhibited 4 years ago as part of a classic car show. Interestingly, at least 1 existed in Singapore back in the 1980s before it was exported to the UK. While there is none currently here to the best of my knowledge, it is not everyday that you get to see this rarity up close...perhaps you may be able to see one overseas!

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