Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder

Perhaps the most intriguing piece of history behind the immensely revered Ferrari 365 GTB/4 is its unofficial nickname, “Daytona”. Since Ferrari’s electrifying one-two-three victory at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona was so monumental, the marque’s diehard enthusiasts felt that the forthcoming replacement for the 275 GTB/4 should bear the name “Daytona”, which had been used internally at Ferrari to commemorate the victory. Enzo Ferrari insisted, however, that the car’s technical nomenclature be used instead, in keeping with tradition.

Name aside, the 365 GTB/4 quickly became a legend in its own time as the last front-engine Ferrari GT designed before the marque’s business involvement with Fiat in 1969. In addition, the 365 GTB/4 was one of the last fully hand-assembled, regular production Ferraris, making it a uniquely hand-crafted masterpiece.

The 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta that replaced the earlier 275 GTB/4 in 1968 differed dramatically in styling, though the tubular steel chassis bore many similarities to its predecessor and provided superior balance. Where the curvaceous 275 GTB/4 was clearly a traditional Pininfarina design, the 365 GTB/4 was at once modern, edgy, sleek and forward-looking. Penned by Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti, who continues to maintain an independent styling studio, Fioravanti Srl., outside of Turin, the 365 GTB/4 features a number of styling cues that continue to influence modern Ferrari design.

Famed Modenese coachbuilding firm Scaglietti executed the striking body with hand-formed and hammer-welded steel used for every panel other than the doors, bonnet and boot lids, which were composed of lightweight aluminium alloy. Initially, the headlamps were covered in Perspex, though retractable headlamps were later introduced to comply with U.S. safety regulations imposed in 1971. The 365 GTB/4’s quad round tail lamps are an iconic design element seen on nearly every Ferrari produced to this day. The simplicity of the car’s tail, combined with the aggressiveness of four chrome tail pipes making their appearance below the bumper, makes a lasting impression on even the most seasoned Ferrari enthusiast.

The outgoing 275 GTB/4 lent its 60-degree V-12 engine to the 365 GTB/4, though it was enlarged from 3.3 to 4.4 litres or 4,390 cc. Power output rose accordingly. The new engine, designated Tipo 251, delivered 352 bhp and 315 foot-pounds of torque at 7,500 rpm through six Weber twin-choke carburettors. A five-speed manual gearbox was, of course, the only available transmission.

That the 365 GTB/4 was capable of a top speed three mph greater than its archrival, the Lamborghini Miura, was not a fact lost on contemporary media or enthusiasts eager to see the speedometer needle tickle 175 mph—nor was the car’s spectacular driving experience. The last great front-engine, rear-drive GT to emerge from Maranello for two decades, the 365 GTB/4 represents the ultimate expression of the concept.

Ferrari débuted the new model at the October 1968 Paris Salon. A handful of coupés were produced for customers in the 1968 model year. At the Frankfurt International Auto Show in September 1969, Ferrari unveiled a Spyder version of the car that was now unofficially nicknamed ‘Daytona.’ Unsurprisingly, the seductive drop-top enjoyed critical acclaim that continues unabated today.

Powerful, sexy and tremendously fast in the best Ferrari tradition, the 365 GTS/4 and its 365 GTB/4 Spyder brethren remain some of the finest sports/GT cars ever produced by Ferrari and undoubtedly some of the most thrilling to drive.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2012 at the Grimaldi Forum, Monaco.

352 bhp, 4,380 cc DOHC V-12 engine with six Weber 40DCN20 carburettors, five-speed manual gearbox, four-wheel independent suspension, and four-wheel servo-assisted hydraulic disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,400 mm (94.5")

Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright

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