Sunday, February 22, 2015

Show Car Sunday returns with a staggering find from L.A. Rob!

I mean really. Look at the picture below and think about the fact that L.A. Rob just rolls down the street one day and passes this scene. This picture alone could be the Chamber of Commerce brochure for Southern California! Let's get to it;
The lighter color car is a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray with the one-year-only split rear window. To me this is hands-down the most desirable 'vette and really one of the most badass sports cars ever to come from the States. The "lake pipes" side exhaust and wheels are aftermarket additions but the rest, including those big gills behind the front wheels, is factory. But enough of that, there seems to be one of the rarest Ferraris of all time parked directly behind it!
What this appears to be is a 1971 Ferrari (Daytona) 365 GTS/4 Spyder. The name Daytona was actually given to the car by the automotive press after Ferrari won 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place in the 1967 24 hours of Daytona race. This car is exceedingly rare (only 122 convertibles ever produced) and valuable (trading well into the millions when they do come around). Why is it parked on the street?!?
Ferrari built the Daytona from '68-'73. Should you encounter one of these (which you WON'T) you can identify the 1971 and earlier cars by the plastic covered headlights. The '72 and '73 model years had pop-up hidden headlights instead of the covers. The Spyder (convertible) was only produced from '71-'73, so combined with the covered headlights this can only be a '71. 
Every bit of this ride is sexy and athletic. This car is notable for being the last front-engine Ferrari produced before they sold 50% of the company to Fiat in 1969. While they continued an unprecedented string of supercar successes after the merger, the models designed previously were truly hand built machines by a handful of craftsman. This is the last Ferrari built in that tradition, with body panels being hammered out on wooden frames one at a time.
It is hard to not be a bit distracted by that stunning Corvette! The race car style gas cap under the split window, 6 round taillights, and split bumpers are all class.
The 2 large vents on the Daytona hood provide air for the 4.3 Liter V12 and its 6 Weber carburetors. 
The round taillights continue as a design hallmark of Ferrari to this day. Rob says he encountered the owner who was all too happy to show off his ride, even firing it up while he was there! The owner said that this was his daily driver which makes him a king in my book. The fact that the guy sounds nice and generous with someone gawking at his wheels makes me wince a bit when I write the following inevitable truth: this is not a genuine Ferrari, but a high-dollar almost perfect replica based on a '72 Corvette chassis.
Please don't confuse this with any old kit car! In its own right this is a spectacular ride; well engineered (and possibly as powerful as an original Ferrari), beautifully appointed and assembled, and 99% correct in its approximation of the real 365 GTS/4. With only 69 Spiders imported new to the States there was always more demand than supply. Along came a company in San Diego named McBurnie who used to produce these kits in the '80s. For $8,000 you could buy all pieces necessary to transform your 'vette. If you'd rather buy the finished product ready to drive away they would sell you one for $40,000. In 1989 Ferrari won a lawsuit against the company which halted production.
Keep in mind that $40,000 in 1989 amounts to a little over $80,000 in todays money. That was enough to buy a very serious set of wheels back then, so this is no joke.
The only visible clue I can find that this isn't an original is the lack of vent windows on the front door. The McBurnie rides even came with correct Ferrari valve covers to dress up the engine (though nobody will miss the fact that it's an 8 cylinder as opposed to 12). Regardless I would absolutely LOVE to roll around town in this beast! Here she is taking off with its VICE TOO license plates. Rob said it sounded great, and I have no doubt.
*Last but not least a factoid from Rob; a replica such as this was carrying Crockett and Tubbs around in Miami Vice until Ferrari made their fury known. The producers of the series wrote the faux-Daytona out of the script by launching an RPG at it, blowing it to smithereens. Ferrari was please enough by this act to donate the Testarossa they used for the rest of the shows run.

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