There isn't much more to say about the way the Ferrari Daytona looks that hasn’t already been eulogised elsewhere. The Daytona is a motoring icon in the truest sense: stunningly beautiful, rare and with even a little motorsport pedigree. The Pininfarina-designed, Scaglietti-crafted Daytona is considered one of the greatest front-engined V12 GTs the marque has ever produced.
Launched at the Paris Salon in 1968, this Ferrari was called 365GTB/4 (or GTS/4 for Spider versions) to give it its formal name. In 1967 Ferrari’s 330 P4 racing cars finished first and second, with a privateer 412P third, on American soil, finally breaking the Ford GT40’s dominance. The word Daytona became Ferrari’s internal designation for the 356GTB/4 during development but apparently was leaked by the press, incensing Enzo Ferrari, so it was never an official moniker. Today, however, this Ferrari is universally known as the Daytona.
When launched in Paris the Daytona was not met with rapture because it was rather conservative both in terms of looks and engineering. Lamborghini had stolen Ferrari’s thunder with its rock star-esque Miura, featuring a mid-mounted V12, which did make the 365 Grand Touring Berlinetta four-cam look a bit straight-laced.
The Daytona was the fastest road car in the world though. The 4.4-litre engine offered up 350bhp, enough for a 174mph-plus top speed – by comparison, the Lamborghini Miura maxxed out at 171mph (if you dared). It had the chassis to cope with the power, too: fully-independent suspension offered impressive body control, while the transaxle gearbox sending drive to the rear helped to balance the weight distribution.
All of these attributes made it an ideal car for competition use. Though it never competed with the full factory backing of Ferrari, 15 racing examples were produced to be run by privateer teams. The high top speed paid dividends, particularly at Le Mans where Daytonas scooped class victories in three consecutive years from 1972-74.