Ferrari built over 1,200 examples of the 365 GTB/4, but only five wore lightweight aluminum competition bodes. Of those, only one was produced in street-going trim. After being hidden away for nearly 40 years, that car will see the light of day on the auction block at RM Sotheby’s “Leggende e Passione” single-marque sale on September 9 at the Ferrari factory in Maranello, Italy.
The one-of-a-kind “alloy” GTB is expected to fetch between $1,700,000 and $2,000,000.
The front-engined 365 GTB/4 debuted in 1968, two years after the mid-engined Lamborghini Miura took the world by storm. Sergio Pininfarina, the head of the design studio behind the car, had been unsuccessfully pushing Ferrari to accept a mid-engine design for years. He was pleased when he saw drawings of a unique front-engine car presented. “The fundamental objective we set for ourselves was to obtain a thin, svelte car, like a mid-engine design,” he said later. “The whole idea was really a search for this sense of lightness and rake, a slender look.”
While the official Ferrari designation of 365 GTB/4 translated to Grant Turismo Berlinetta with 365cc per cylinder and 4 overhead cams, the press nicknamed the car “Daytona” after a 1-2-3 Ferrari finish at the 24-hour race at the track there the year before and the name stuck for all eternity.
It was marginally faster than the Miura, and quicker, too. The 4.4-liter V12 under the hood was topped by six downdraft Weber carburetors. Total output was 352 horsepower at 7,500 rpm, amazing for the time.
The Daytona would prove to be the last of the “old school” Ferraris. V12 engines disappeared after its demise until the 1980s, and another front-engine design didn’t debut until the 550 Maranello of the late 1990s. The 365 was also the last car made before Enzo Ferrari sold 50 percent of the company to Fiat in 1969.
With such a pedigree, it’s hard to imagine any Daytona being put into storage and seemingly ignored for almost half a century, especially such a singular example. Chassis number 12653 was completed in June 1969 and delivered to a retail dealer in Bologna a few months later. It changed hands in Italy a few times before being imported to Japan in 1971. The last sale of the car was in 1980 before the car was hidden away for almost 40 years.
The Alloy Daytona faded into legend and was known by only a very few to still exist. Offers to purchase were made, but they were unsuccessful. It’s unknown at this time just what circumstances brought the fabled Ferrari back into the light. After discovery, it was thoroughly evaluated by expert Marcel Massini and and found to be authentic. “What a super scarce Daytona barn find,” he commented, “The only remaining aluminium-bodied production GTB/4, sold new to Luciano Conti, a close friend of Commendatore Enzo Ferrari.”
The Daytona will be presented in “barn-find condition,” unrestored and unmolested. Interested parties can register to bid at RM Sotheby’s.