My Car Quest

June 21, 2024

Classics: Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona

Last of the front engine Ferrari road/race cars

by Wallace Wyss –

The Ferrari Daytona has the distinction of being one of the last new model Ferraris built while Enzo, the founder of the firm, was still alive. You could even say it was front engine because he didn’t like the idea of offering a 12 cylinder mid-engined car for the public (though he authorized the Boxer for a future model).

The Daytona was to carry the spirit of the 275GTB/4 onward. In fact the first Daytona test cars had 275GTB bubble headlights not the flip-ups. It was preliminarily known the 365 GTB/4 because it had a 12 cylinder V12 of which each cylinder was 365 cu. centimeters. “B” was for Berlinetta” (coupe) and /4” for four cams.

The engine was an outgrowth of the 275GTB/4, with larger 4.4 liter displacement. It was designated the Tipo 251 with DOHC, 2 valves per cylinder. Like the 275GTB/4 it had six carbs all in row, 6X2 Weber 40 DCN 20 carburetors or a 40mm Solex twin carburetors as an alternative.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (Daytona)

Ferrari 365 GTB/4

The five-speed manual transmission was mounted in the rear for optimal weight distribution. The Daytona also featured a four-wheel independent suspension with wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers. The rating was 352 horsepower with 431 Nm (318 lb-ft) of torque at 5500 rpm. And the reachable top speed is 174 mph (280 kph). The 0-60 mph acceleration of 5.4 seconds was impressive for a grand touring car. The USA market Daytonas had a reduced engine compression. Genuine US models had all sorts of devices to meet the laws–a fast idle device, large central exhaust silencer, and an exhaust manifold air injection which conversion shops could fit to bring them into compliance (and another shop could take them off).

When Ferraris finished 1-2-3 at the 1967 24-hour race at Daytona that became the official name of the car though it never appeared on the car. One of the first to be presented was a yellow roadster at the Paris Salon in 1968. That one had fixed in place plexiglass headlamps but they wouldn’t meet US laws so new flip up lamps were designed for US mode.

Fortunately though Fiat was about to take over Ferrari by buying a 40% stake, they didn’t change the plan much for the Daytona. After Enzo died, Fiat came in and bought the founder’s 49% remaining stake so you could say it was the last Enzo-supervised V-12.

The Daytona is a Pininfarina coachbuilder design, done by their Leonardo Fioravanti who had done many memorable Ferrari designs. There was a third model, a one off spyder with a very Porsche-like fixed in place roof bar, fold down rear window and removable roof. Only one was made—it became a collector’s item and was one of the first Daytonas to soar in price once they became collectable.

Design Critique

FRONT The front in the European model is more interesting because of the vertical lines in the plexiglass panel between the headlights. Once the headlights are raised in the US model you know it adds to drag but laws are laws…the flush deck air vent on the bonnet are brilliant.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona – art by Wallace Wyss

SIDE An exercise in purity of line. The most exquisite part of the design is the way there is a tiny series of air vents at the rear edge of the rear ¾ windows. They are no larger than they need to be. Interesting too is the groove in the side that runs the entire length of the car.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona

REAR The two taillights per side are a Ferrari recurring theme but alas they are the one part of the design that has “aged” the most. Maybe one per side would do if they think of bringing the design back as Lamborghini did with the Countach.

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (Daytona)

INTERIOR Squeezing all the gauges into a small binnacle was brave considering there was room to spread out but they wanted a race car feel even if most would be street driven only. The steering wheel seems overly large now but, lacking power steering you need as much wheel as you can grab to control this beast.

The standard road version wheels were the five-spoke “star” pattern alloys with a knock-off spinner on a Rudge hub, but if you wanted “Oldskool” you could still order Borrani wire wheels.

The open version was called the 365 GTS/4 Spider, announced a year after the Daytona Berlinetta, first shown at the 1969 Frankfurt Auto.

The Daytona Spider was a car ideal for the appreciation because so few were produced–122 in total, roughly 1/10th the number of coupes (1284). The factory built ones are now going for a million dollars and “cut” ones (aftermarket conversions) for less all depending on who the chopper was.

The irony for the Daytona was that the previous appearance of the Lamborghini Miura made it seem old hat but it still held its own. And some were built as Comp cars which I didn’t see happen to Miuras. So the chance to drive a race car on the street, a Comp Daytona eligible for International racing was still possible with a Daytona, not the Miura though the width of race wheels and race tires would make it a real chore.

The US importer of Ferrris, Luigi Chinetti, sponsored an alloy version chassis no. 12467, at Le Mans which finished fifth overall at Le Mans in 1971. That led to the factory making three different series with five cars each.

The Comps won class victories at Le Mans in 1972, 1973 and 1974. And in ’72 won both first and second places in the Tour de France.

I don’t see the Daytonas much anymore—they are brutes of a forgotten age. I like to think of them as Enzo’s last hands-on product decision. He knew ultimately Ferrari road cars were going to have to go mid-engined but if he hadn’t tried one more front-engined one, we wouldn’t have the memorable Daytona.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR/ARTIST: Some of the Wallace Wyss paintings here are scheduled for the Monterey Mecum auction. A list of Wyss Ferrari prints can be ordered from malibucarart@gmail.com

 
 
 
 
 

Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
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Summary
Classics: Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Article Name
Classics: Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona
Description
The Ferrari Daytona has the distinction of being one of the last new model Ferraris built while Enzo, the founder of the firm, was still alive.
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Comments

  1. Rob Krantz says

    Wallace, great article and beautiful paintings of one of my favorite Ferrari models. As a teen, I remember when these were new and on the cover of Road & Track. I recollect the R&T cover had both the Daytona and the also beautiful 365 GTC/4 sibling which was under appreciated for a long time. The Daytona has a timeless design and will forever be a car I would love to own.

  2. Wes Stewart says

    Local Tucson car guy Dave Cummins has one of these. Dave is in his nineties but still comes out for some of the car shows and Cars and Coffees. One of his other cars is a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4. https://www.hemmings.com/stories/article/scarlet-fever-1967-ferrari-275-gtb-4

    I was admiring this one at show one morning and said, “Dave, I can’t believe you still drive this on the street.” He said, “Well, where else am I going to drive it?”

  3. Robert SCHITTLER says

    Dear All, it’s an odd pleasure to know by heart most dealer’s stocklists, and this 1-off I know where it’s now – and for sale, I cite “There was a third model, a one off spyder with a very Porsche-like fixed in place roof bar, fold down rear window and removable roof. Only one was made—it became a collector’s item and was one of the first Daytonas to soar in price once they became collectable.”

    Never lift!

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