This 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Was Built By Michelotto
Photography by Tom Shaxson
A few months ago I happened to be at Luton Hoo, a stunning country estate turned hotel that just happened to be around the corner from Bell Classics. I was snapping away, posting on Instagram as one does when they’re at an absolutely massive luxury hotel in the country and Matt Wilton dropped a line. Sadly I only happened to be there for about 16 hours, but he was very quickly able to explain why I should make a point of stopping by next time I was in town. Namely, he texted me a photo of this Ferrari.
Long story short, we sent Tom Shaxson up that way to get a look at the thing in person. It is, as you can see, a delightfully absurd machine.
Ted Gushue: How did this car come into the world? Ferrari wasn’t spec-ing out Daytonas for Privateers, were they?
Matt Wilton: In the late 70’s a gentleman by the name Aldo Cudone had it converted to Group 4 by Michelotto. He loved the look of the Group 4 cars of the era and decided he wanted to own one himself. At the time Michelotto would custom build you a Spec Daytona for a flat fee. You just bought a new Daytona to them and they converted it to LM spec. This car is a 1971, and the original owner had it for 7-8 years before he took it to Michelotto.
Gaetano Florino, who you may remember was the head of Ferrari Assistenza Clienti, oversaw the production. It was actually one of the last cars that Michelotto himself worked on.
TG: What would that have cost back then?
MW: I don’t know, lots of money! Every single aspect of the car has been changed or upgraded. Suspension. Compression ratios. Aerodynamics. Body panels. It’s an entirely different car essentially.
TG: Did he race it?
MW: He did two races in Italy, but he kept it more concourse prepped than race prepped. Like in the few events in the early 80’s, there was very little about the car when it was first built because he was a quite a private man. He kept it very quiet and took it to a few events in Italy and places like that and when he passed away in 2001 it was bought by a guy called Grahame Bryant and he’s got a son called Oliver. They went on and campaigned it all over the world, they did the Classic Adelaide Rally and the Ferrari rounds in England and everything like that with it.
TG: At what point did it enter the Bell Classics family of cars?
MW: That’s around 2008. It was sold by the Bryant’s through one of the bigger Ferrari garages in England. Then Bell Classics bought it because they liked it, because they liked it the way it looked and everything like that and then he’s just had it sitting in storage.
TG: What’s it like to drive?
MW: It’s a beast, it’s the best way to describe it. It’s got a hard clutch in it, best part of 450 horsepower and no power brakes, no power assist anything, It’s a pure, unadultrated thoroughbred racecar.
TG: So it’s just absolutely terrifying?
MW: Yes [laughs]
TG: Are there plans to campaign the car as a mascot for Bell classics?
MW: Yes, the next year we’re going to try and get it out and get it ready for Le Mans Classic, Goodwood, etc.
TG: Who do you think will be racing it?
MW: I’m not sure yet we haven’t decided on the driver. I was thinking about it, but I’m not done many races yet so I don’t want to get ahead of myself and start racing that around. Got a 360 Challenge I’m going to start with next year.
TG: So the long term plan for this car is not necessarily have it as an investment, but to have it be the mobile mascot of Bell Classics.
MW: Bingo. It’s going to be a fantastic machine to campaign around in.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about what Bell Classics are up to in the UK, head on over to BellClassics.co.uk to learn more.