The first cars to bear the name of Enzo Ferrari appeared only 50 years ago, but in that time they have built a legend for delivering uncompromising performance from their V12 power units whilst clothed in some of the most exciting and elegant Italian coachwork designs. From the earlier 275 GTB/4, a natural development was the larger engined 365 GTB/4 (commonly known as the Daytona after the car’s strong result in the 24 hour race of the same name in 1967), and this was the swansong for the successful front-engined berlinetta series.
The deliberately aggressive shape styled by Pininfarina and the uncompromising mechanical specification ensured its success in the very demanding sports car market. The 352bhp delivered by the race-bred engine was delivered via a five-speed rear transaxle mounted in a welded steel tubular chassis frame.
Independent road tests gave a top speed of over 170mph in standard form, which in the early 1970s was an amazing feat. Such capability confirmed the 365 GTB/4 as the last and fastest in the long line of competition-bred front-engined Ferrari grand touring cars.
Rolling off the Maranello production line on 5th April 1972, this fabulous example, finished in Azzuro Mettallizato with a Pella Nera leather interior, was built to European specification, but destined for the Ferrari franchisee Elie Ayache of Beirut, the so-called “Paris of the Middle East” until the early 1970s.
This Daytona was held in a small private Ferrari collection, until being repatriated into Europe in 1978, later residing in Germany before being brought into Belgium in 2008.
From 2009 to 2014 the Daytona enjoyed a substantial “nut and bolt” restoration, with no stone unturned. A file of approximately 1000 photographs supports the lengthy restoration. The body was completely stripped, rebuilt and lead filled as per factory standards, and finally painted in its original shade of metallic blue. During the careful reassembly the car was fitted with new rubbers and chrome trim.
The engine enjoyed a complete rebuild, with new crank bearings, camshafts, piston rings and relevant gaskets and seals. A new custom made exhaust system was fitted, and other ancillaries such as the starter motor and alternator were replaced, as was the radiator, and air conditioning condensor.
During the rebuild the suspension was renewed with many new components being fitted. The interior was deemed to be in excellent condition, and so was left to retain its wonderful patina.
Offered with a Belgian title document, and with approximately only 500 kilometres since restoration, this incredible example really is the best of the breed.