Present by RM Sotheby’s.
Built to do battle with the futuristic, mid-engined Miura, the Ferrari GTB/4 berlinetta was something of a bruiser compared with its indescribably pretty Lamborghini rival—but in open GTS/4 guise, the car that would become coined the ‘Daytona’ by enthusiasts combined thundering V-12 performance with beautiful design to incredible effect.
Announced in 1968, the Leonardo Fioravanti-penned 365 GTB/4 berlinetta served as something of a stopgap before the arrival of the mid-engined Berlinetta Boxer. Built in the front-engined V-12 tradition that had served Maranello so well throughout the 1960s, the model was nicknamed ‘Daytona’ in celebration of the firm’s clean sweep at the 1967 25 Hours of Daytona—a moniker that has stuck fast, even if it was never officially sanctioned by Enzo Ferrari.
Powerful and muscular in tin-top trim, the 4.3-liter dual-overhead cam Daytona was transformed in 1969 with the arrival of the striking GTS/4 Spider, which wowed crowds as the curtain fell at that year’s Frankfurt Motor Show. The final front-engined open-top Ferrari to house a derivation of the firm’s legendary short-block Colombo V-12, the Daytona Spider took all that was great from the berlinetta’s design and added not only the allure of wind-in-your-hair motoring, but also exclusivity, with only 122 highly prized examples ever leaving the workshops at Maranello.
Chassis “16839” is the 90th example of that 122-car cohort, and the 65th of 96 examples that were destined to be sold in the United States. Finished in Giallo Fly over Pelle Nera Vaumol leather, the car is thought to be one of just 16 U.S. examples to feature the classic combination, with air conditioning and a desirable Becker radio adding to the Daytona’s appeal.
Records show that chassis “16839” was completed at the factory in March 1973, after which it traveled to the U.S.A. and into the showroom of William Harrah’s Modern Classic Motors in Reno, Nevada. Bought new by Dearborn, Michigan resident James Nute, the Daytona was soon on the show field, turning out at the 12th Annual FCA Meet at Stone Mountain Park, Georgia in May 1974. After two years of ownership, the car was sold to Atlanta-based dealer Jim Southard, passing through the hands of a further two dealers before finding a home with Fred Johl in 1978.
Fred Johl registered the Ferrari in California with registration plates bearing his nickname, “ITZER”, before exporting the car to his native Germany, where it took part in the Ferrari Owners’ Club meeting at the Nürburgring in June 1980, and returned to the circuit two years later for the AvD-Oldtimer Grand Prix. In 1986 the Daytona was sold to Kay Bradford of Villanova, Pennsylvania, who enjoyed the car for three years before selling it to Gerald Bowes of Philadelphia, by which point the odometer displayed 29,132 miles. In Mr. Bowes’ care, the Spider was presented at the Sixth Annual Reading Concours d’Elegance, picking up a class win in 1990 before being sold three years later.
Gary Schaevitz of Katonah, New York was the lucky purchaser, and he held onto the Ferrari for two years before it passed to Dean Becker, owner of the eponymous beeper company. Chassis “16839” briefly passed through the hands of at least one other U.S. owner before being sold to renowned collector Lord Bamford in April 1999, under whose instruction marque expert Terry Hoyle was commissioned to carry out a full cosmetic restoration that included repainting and reupholstering the car in its correct factory color scheme. Work was also undertaken to convert both coachwork and safety equipment to European specification, which included modifying the headlamps, removing emissions equipment, and adjusting the front and rear bumpers. The air conditioning unit was also replaced with a factory-correct version.
In 2006, the Daytona Spider changed hands once more, before being authenticated by Ferrari Classiche (in original U.S. specification) a year later, confirming that all major mechanical components remained intact and original. From then on, the car has lived a cossetted existence, punctuated by a rare outing to the Concorso Italiano in Seaside, California in August 2018. Two months later the Daytona was thoroughly inspected and serviced by Ferrari of Beverly Hills, which replaced air, cabin, and oil filters, along with a flush and refresh of fluids. The consignor purchased this special Ferrari from the same dealership in 2019, after which a further €4,845.84 was lavished on the Daytona in April/May 2019 at Top Motors of Nonantola, Modena.
As rare and desirable today as when first unveiled in 1969, the Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider offers everything you could want in a sports car. This car further benefits from a striking and uncommon color combination of Giallo Fly over Pelle Nera, an outstanding level of fit and finish, and—for European buyers—a useful change from U.S. specification. Much prized by owners and collectors, Daytona Spiders are rarely offered for public sale, let alone examples of this quality.
This vehicle will be offered at RM Sotheby’s 6th biennial Monaco sale, taking place alongside the legendary Grand Prix de Monaco Historique, on 14 May 2022. Held at the glamorous Grimaldi Forum, RM Sotheby’s will offer some of the world’s finest cars in this can’t-miss event.