Market Finds: Want, Buy and Drive the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona

Want, Buy and Drive the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona

Matthew Lange By Matthew Lange
May 29, 2013
17 comments

“Dinosaur!” That is what the critics cried in disbelief that the new Ferrari 365 GTB/4 had a front-mounted engine when it was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1968. With the launch of the Lamborghini Miura, many thought Ferrari would follow suit and replace the 275 GTB/4 with a mid-engine supercar, but instead the car resolutely stuck to the same format Ferrari had used for all its road cars since the companies first the 125 in 1947.  It had been expected that the new car would be named Daytona after Ferrari’s 1-2-3 sweep of the 1967 Daytona 24 hour race, and although never adopted officially it is a name that has forever been associated with the car and today is even referenced on Ferrari’s own website.

Model History

The Daytona went on sale in early 1969. With it’s 352 bhp Tipo 251 D.O.H.C. V12 engine the Daytona quickly established itself as the fastest road car you could buy with an independently verified 174mph top speed and 0-60mph in around 5.6 seconds. The flowing Pininfarina body (penned by Pininfarina’s lead designer Leonardo Fioravanti) ensured the car was also very stable at high speed. Handling was excellent thanks to the use of a 5 speed gearbox mounted on a transaxle resulting in fairly even weight distribution. Early critics however noted the car had very heavy steering at low speed that maybe due to Ferrari’s inexperience with the steering geometry needed for the new Michelin XWX radial tyres.

The Daytona follows Ferrari’s traditional production methods of a steel body over a tubular steel chassis. The bonnet, boot-lid and doors (on early cars) were aluminium. Perhaps surprisingly the inner tub and floors are made from glass fibre on the Berlinettas, although this reverts to steel on the Spyders. Scaglietti built all Daytona bodies, except for the prototypes. The wheelbase is the same 2.4m used on the earlier 275 and the iconic 250 SWB and 250 GTO, although for this application the track was widened slightly.

Early cars sported fixed headlamps covered under a plexiglass panel that stretched across the width of the car. This did not comply with US regulations and when the car finally went on sale in the US in 1971 the lights were changed to pop up units which were standardized for all markets shortly after. At the same time a Spyder version of the car went on sale (which had been shown in prototype form at the Frankfurt motor show of 1969).

In the marketplace the Daytona’s chief rivals, in addition to the Miura, were the Maserati Ghibli, Iso Grifo and Aston Martin DBS. It was expected that the Daytona would only be on the market for a short time until Ferrari’s own mid-engine car would be launched but the Daytona was a sales success and stayed in production though to the end of 1973 when it was replaced by the 365GT4 Berlinetta Boxer. By the time production had ended 1284 Berlinettas and 122 Spyders were built.

The Daytona Today

The Daytona has long been considered an icon of the classic car world but in the current market values have lagged behind many of the other classic sixties Ferraris, possibly due to those higher production numbers than its predecessors. This means that, at present, it is the cheapest entry point into sixties V12 Ferrari two seat Berlinetta ownership. Cheap is a relative term though as a perfect example with low mileage will still set you back around $500,000 while a car needing restoration can be around $300,000.  There does not seem to be a lot of difference between euro and US pop up light versions although the early Plexiglas examples will sell for a slight premium in certain markets (Japan especially).

The rare and iconic Spyder version is in a different market all together and you will need at the very minimum $900,000 to put one in your garage today. During the late seventies and early eighties it was popular to convert Berlinettas into Spyders with an estimated 100 cars being opened up.  Today the value of these varies depending on the quality of the conversion but the very best examples are worth only slightly more than the Berlinetta.

Buying One

The most obvious tip about buying a Daytona is to seek specialist advice. Whilst the Daytona is not a particularly complex car compared with a modern Ferrari they are expensive to run with a full engine rebuild costing up to $50,000. A thorough pre purchase inspection by an expert is a must.

Having said that there are a few do’s and don’ts to note before even commissioning a specialist.

Upgrades and Modifications

Driving A Daytona

There is no denying the driving experience is dominated by the masterpiece of an engine. There is an ample supply of torque at low speeds makes ensuring that it copes with traffic and when the roads open up the 4 cams allow the V12 to howl all the way up to the 7500rpm redline.  Despite the newest Daytonas being forty years old the performance is still comparable to many a modern sportscar, and it can even match a Porsche 911GT3 in some of the in gear acceleration increments.

The gearbox is very precise but unhurried and second needs to be avoided when cold. The handling is neutral and for the most part friendly although care needs to be taken in wet and greasy conditions as the combination of power and fairly skinny tyres means the rear can break away suddenly.

The driving position is fairly unusual with a high mounted steering wheel but once you have adapted to it, is excellent and very comfortable with supportive bucket seats. Visibility is also excellent although the long front means care needs to be taken when parking.

The surprisingly spacious cabin also means there is plenty of space for luggage in addition to the usable boot, making the Daytona a great Grand Tourer although you do pay a price at the petrol pumps with at best 11 (US) MPG. It is however fitted with a large 33.5 US gallon fuel tank allowing for a reasonable touring range.

The standard heavy steering means the car is not at it’s best on tight and twisty back roads, but find a fast flowing open road where you can push the throttle open a bit wider and let the six Weber carburettors suck in petrol to that mighty V12 and the car is glorious, intoxicating experience that you want to experience again and again.

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David Ardley
David Ardley

Lovely cars, and a very useful article on the model. I’d love one but sadly out of my price range. Looking to ‘invest’ in a 400/412 though as they are still just about doable for me. Last of the front engined v12 4 seater Ferraris and achingly beautiful to me (square lines are not everyone’s cup of tea I admit). I’m glad to see that you use your car quite a bit – good on you! It’s the best way to make them last in my opinion….they need use!

JR Arsenault
JR Arsenault

I didn’t own one, but was a very happy passenger on Charlotte Motor Speedway in an early morning extended run before a private club event. The 12cyl wail up close to the wall was glorious, as we pulled up to 130mph on the long backstraight then the banked corner. Twenty minutes of pure bliss on an empty track. Later, a seriously upgraded F40 ride that remains a high point to me – glad I wasnt driving that one! No, I wasn’t driving, buying, owning. As is the case with most of us reading Petrolicious. Forgive me, but it is sad… Read more »

Jim Levitt
Jim Levitt

My first Ferrari, I had 4 of these during the 70s. I was young, you needed to be to pak it and steer it at low speed. They also have the best sounding exhaust ever, even compared to any of today’s hyper cars, a sound of its own.

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson

I think it’s a fantastic write up and even though I’ll probably never put this new-found knowledge to any use, it’s still a very interesting read. It is true that we had an article about Matthew’s Daytona a couple of weeks ago, but you can never have “too much Daytona” in your life…

BLS
BLS

I hate not to be all sunshine and roses, but seriously, what is the point of this post? A) I’m guessing 95\%+ of your readers are not in this market and do not have half a million USD to buy a vintage car that needs a lesson in how to buy a Daytona. There are a thousand other cars you could write up on “how to buy make and model X” and I dont’ get why we are picking the Daytona. Would make much more sense for something of much lesser value that is easier to find and more attainable.… Read more »

Afshin Behnia
Afshin Behnia

Hi BLS, The reasons we posted this article include: 1. We actually do have a good number of high-income readers on our site who may now or one day be in the market for a Daytona. 2. It’s true we had a write up on Matt’s Daytona, but that was personal look at his particular story. This article, on the other hand, is more of practical article detailing the history of the Daytona and what to look for when buying one. 3. I believe the article to be very well written and authoritative, coming from someone who has lived with… Read more »

Ollie Streek
Ollie Streek

The Daytona is a fantastic car and a lot of people are interested in this post. I would love to see more pictures of this beautiful car, it inspired me to buy a 240z.

Ryan Hoyle
Ryan Hoyle

Very cool article. Great job Matthew!

Dan Woodward
Dan Woodward

Oh no, now I’m even more disappointed.

My Citroen is being typically French so I seriously doubt I’ll make it.

Dan Woodward
Dan Woodward

Looks fab! I’ll definitely check out the other pics.

Didn’t make it today, but I saw that Lusso back in March.

ACFowles
ACFowles

Didn’t make it to Goodwood, but just saw you crossing the railway line in Ashtead 🙂

Leucea Alexandru
Leucea Alexandru

One of the most beautiful cars Ferrari has ever made.

PawnSacrifice
PawnSacrifice

Great write up, not that I’ll be needing the details any time soon 🙁 but I do love the facts 😉 It really is incredible to think that the car was launched to criticism. As much as I love the English countryside, it certainly benefits from having a 365 GTB/4 in it.