1973 Ferrari 365 GTS 4 Daytona Spyder
1973 Ferrari 365 GTS 4 Daytona Spyder
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Without a doubt, the Ferrari 365 GTS/4 spider holds a unique cachet among the marque’s vintage front-engined V-12 convertibles, combining rarity and arresting design while occupying an important perch in the manufacturer’s genealogy. Ferrari announced the 365 GTB/4 berlinetta in 1968, introducing the company’s first 4.3-liter dual-overhead-cam engine in a road car. Clothed in Leonardo Fioravanti’s revolutionary shark-nose coachwork, the model was actually a stopgap effort that surprised everyone with its sheer success while a forthcoming rear-engine flat-12 model remained in development. It would be the last of Ferrari’s great front-engine grand touring machines for over 20 years, an exclamatory statement of power and style that capped a legendary tradition.
With a staggering output of 352 horsepower, the 365 GTB/4 dethroned the Lamborghini Miura as the world’s fastest production car. Utilizing dry-sump lubrication that enabled a lower placement of the engine, a five-speed transaxle that provided ideal 50/50 weight distribution, and all-wheel independent suspension, the Daytona offered crisp handling characteristics at speed. Wide wheels with superior tire contact and four-wheel disc brakes rounded out a superb all-around package that eventually proved worthy of competition applications.
That the model was nicknamed “Daytona” in honor of the company’s dominating 1-2-3 finish at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona has become a point of legend, even if the name was not officially sanctioned by Enzo Ferrari. At the 1969 Frankfurt Salon, Maranello introduced a striking open-top variant that revealed how handsome the coachwork became when the top was removed. Endowed with a purity of line and stance, the new spider’s collectability was assured when only 121 examples were produced. As the final front-engined open Ferrari to feature a derivation of Gioacchino Colombo’s classic short-block V-12, the Daytona Spider was the ultimate evolution of 20 years of development, and the final hereditary successor of a generation of vintage Ferraris.
CHASSIS NUMBER 16835
Benefiting from 11 years of doting care and modest driving use by a respected Ferrari collector, as well as a minimal chain of ownership provenance that includes three well-known celebrities, this beautifully presented 365 GTS/4 is a remarkably pure example of the celebrated Daytona Spider. According to a history report by noted marque expert Marcel Massini, chassis number 16835 is the 89th of 121 examples built. Finished in Rosso Chiaro paint over an interior of Nero vaumol Connolly leather, the Daytona was specified in left-hand-drive with instruments in miles and equipped with air conditioning and a Becker Mexico radio.
After completing factory assembly in March 1973, the Ferrari was distributed to Hollywood Sports Cars, Chuck Vandagriff’s well known dealership in Los Angeles, California. In October the Daytona was sold to its first owner of record, James Levitt of Beverly Hills, California, the proprietor of an eponymous furniture company.
Mr. Levitt retained possession of the 365 for three years before selling the car in 1976 to one of the decade’s most legendary showmen, the death-defying motorcycle stuntman Robert Craig “Evel” Knievel, who had already owned another Daytona Spider, chassis number 14737. Due to the many injuries Mr. Knievel had suffered over the years, he reportedly experienced great difficulty getting in and out of the Ferrari, and consequently he sold the car later that year to the famous disc jockey Frankie Crocker.
A showman in his own right, Mr. Crocker was a Manhattan-based radio DJ who helped pioneer the urban contemporary format, incorporating R&B, soul, and disco into his playlists before switching to a rock and roll station. Noted for helping to “break” a wide variety of new musical acts, ranging from Blondie and Madonna to Grace Jones, Manu Dibango, and Bob Marley, Mr. Crocker also managed to parlay his radio celebrity into bit parts in several movies, including the “blaxploitation” film Cleopatra Jones and the comedy Five on the Black Hand Side. He later moved to Beverly Hills, California, as registrations on file reflect, and during a service at Hollywood Sports Cars in March 1986 an odometer reading reflected 22,571 miles of use.
Mr. Crocker owned the Ferrari for nearly 20 years, along the way commissioning a repaint by the noted Bill DeCarr, the Southern California-based body specialist whose personally mixed day-glo paint shades became a thing of legend among local car enthusiasts. In January 1997 the Daytona was acquired by Terry Price of Gazelle, California, and he sold the spider a few years later to the legendary Major League Baseball slugger (and car collector in his own right), Mr. October himself, the great Reggie Jackson.
During his ownership Mr. Jackson commissioned the installation of a new interior in the factory-correct color of Nero, and he mounted new Borrani wire wheels with triple-eared European-style knock-off hubs. As reflected by invoices on file, in late 2008 he entrusted the Daytona to Grand Prix Motors in Campbell, California, for a bevy of rejuvenating measures, including a rebuild of the carburetors, suspension, brakes, and exhaust system. When he offered the car for sale in January 2011, the odometer displayed 26,889 miles.
Purchased then by the consignor, a well-known marque collector, this Daytona Spider has continued to benefit from regular maintenance by a certified Ferrari dealer while accruing a modest average of 222 miles per year. Retaining highly original factory paint markings on the chassis, this beautiful Daytona is believed to never have been subjected to a comprehensive restoration. The spider is desirably accompanied by a substantially complete tool roll, a period Shell dust cloth, and a full set of books in the proper leather pouch, including the owner’s manual, warranty card, the “sales and assistance service” booklet, and a Becker radio manual and associated service booklet. The car is documented with the Massini report, a former registration reflecting Frankie Crocker’s ownership, Reggie Jackson’s restoration invoices, and Ferrari dealer service invoices dating back to 2011.
Displaying 29,431 miles at the time of cataloguing that are believed to be original (reflecting a modest accrual of just 2,542 miles over the last 11 years), this exquisite 365 GTS/4 would make a benchmark acquisition for any serious Ferrari enthusiast, offering future driving enjoyment or exhibition at finer marque events and concours d’elegance. Encompassing rarity, celebrity provenance, dutiful upkeep, and minimal driving usage, chassis number 16835 presents a rare opportunity to acquire a pristine and important example of a verifiable Maranello legend.