Ferrari once again used the Paris show in 1968 to unveil its latest front-engined road car, the 365 GTB/4, or "Daytona," as it came to be later known. The Ferrari 365 GTB/4 had a 4.4-liter, 4-cam V-12 producing 352 hp initially, and like its 275 GTB predecessor, it had Pininfarina-styled coachwork mounted on a steel tube frame as well as a rear-mounted 5-speed transaxle and independent suspension all-round.
The muscular looking Berlinetta was available from the end of 1969 until 1973, with U.S. legal cars from 1971 on having pop-up headlights as a result of the original cars' Plexiglas light covers not being compliant with U.S. laws regarding safety and minimum headlamp height. The Daytona's 0-60 sprint was in the low 5-second range, and the car had a tested and confirmed top speed that exceeded 170 mph, all of which fueled an almost immediate legend status that was further boosted by its role in several movies in the 1970s. Furthermore, the factory built aluminum-bodied and privateers spec’d competition (competizione) Daytonas, both of which competed and acquitted themselves well in FIA endurance racing in Europe and in the U.S. in the early 1970s.
Just over 1,400 Daytonas were built, and this includes 122 examples of a factory convertible known as the 365GTS/4 Spyder. These convertibles were produced to order and, like the Berlinetta coupe, were completed at Scaglietti for Ferrari. Factory-produced Spyders command a huge premium over their coupe counterpart, and should not be confused with one of the many Spyder conversions carried out on coupes post-factory by private firms not associated with Ferrari or Scaglietti. Prospective buyers/investors should be aware that VIN numbers are no different between Berlinettas and Spyders on U.S.-spec cars, therefore due diligence is necessary when confirming a Daytona’s history and provenance. Some of the aftermarket conversions did include steel reinforced inner fenders as well as differing A-pillars that were characteristic of the factory Spyders, making for a very convincing conversion.
The Daytona's performance and race history conspire to make it a familiar and desirable target of Ferrari collectors. It trades as a commodity, yet is a thrilling car to drive, reminiscent of a time when road-going Ferraris made few compromises and demanded the attention of their drivers.