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 at that circuit in 1967. The influential shark-nosed styling was by Pininfarina's Leonardo Fioravanti, later the famed carrozzeria's director of research and development, who later revealed that the Daytona was his favorite among the many Ferraris he designed. The bonnet, extending for almost half the car's total length, was complimented by a small cabin and short tail; the overall effect suggesting muscular horsepower while retaining all the elegance associated with the Italian coachbuilder's work for Maranello. An unusual feature of the show car was a full-width transparent grille panel behind which sat 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. Although the prototype had been styled and built by Pininfarina in Turin, manufacture of the production version was entrusted to Ferrari's subsidiary Scaglietti, in Modena.
The Daytona's all-alloy, four-cam, V12 engine displaced 4,390cc and produced its maximum output of 352bhp at 7,500rpm, with 318lb/ft of torque available at 5,500 revs. Dry-sump lubrication enabled it to be installed low in the oval-tube chassis, while shifting the gearbox to the rear in the form of a five-speed transaxle meant 50/50 weight distribution could be achieved. The all-independent wishbone and coil-spring suspension was a recent development, 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 was optional, but elsewhere the Daytona remained uncompromisingly focused on delivering nothing less than superlative high performance.
With a top speed in excess of 170mph, the Daytona was the world's fastest production car in its day, and surely is destined to occupy the front rank of high-performance sports cars for the foreseeable future. A mere 1,300 Berlinetta models and 123 Spyder convertibles had been made when Daytona production ceased in 1973.
Built 40 years ago in August 1972, this outstanding Ferrari Daytona Coupe comes to the market having covered a mere 26,500 miles from new and remaining in ostensibly totally original order. Its history is charted from day one, quite literally, with copies of the original Chinetti-Garthwaite Import statement of origin, and many bills of sale on file. An original leather wallet, with handbook, additional instructions for U.S. delivered cars, and warranty card also accompany the car.
As new the car was purchased for $26,760, including provision for air-conditioning and a Becker Mexico AM/FM Stereo with electric antenna. Its original owner was Robert B, Puleston of Barrington, Rhode Island who bought the car in June 1973 from Chinetti's Greenwich premises, a period photo on file shows the car almost as new on Mr. Puleston's driveway. Mr. Puleston kept the car up until recent years.
Today, the car presents well, its interior is particularly good and unspoilt, while externally the paint shows light sinkage in a few places, but testament to its originality it still sports details such as its N.A.R.T. delivery badge. Under the hood it is similarly correct, right down to the fitment of the original air pump.
Perhaps the best thing about this car though, is that while retaining its original interior, paint and detail features to give it the feel of an old sports car, it has benefited from a comprehensive engine rebuild at a cost of some $50,000 to put it in a condition where it is 'turn-key' and ready to be enjoyed. This careful balance is particularly appealing and very much in keeping with the theme of this auction, in terms of being preserved, rather than restored.
It is increasingly hard to find a car with such a strong file, strong mechanical aspect, low miles and simple history, in classic Ferrari red livery this is surely a benchmark museum quality example.