I owned a 1973 Daytona coupe for a period of about 3 years when I lived in Houston in the mid to late 80's. When prices skyrocketed I had to let it go. I have regretted not having a Daytona ever since. However, there is no clear reason why I hated selling the car and why I am looking for one today.
Appearance: A lot of people like the looks of Ferrari's last (well until the Maranello) front engine V12. Personally I think it looks OK but not as classic as the 275GTB or as racy as the Boxer. They appear to me to be big 240Z's. Though I believe some of the Z was copied from the Daytona. However, I will admit that I may be in the minority in this opinion.
The inside is well laid out. There is ample head room even for taller/larger people. Most of the interior is leather except for the dash which is covered with Ferrari "mouse hair" dash material. There is also room in back of the seats to store a small amount of luggage. A/C is good for the period, not as good as cars now a day but better than say a Boxer. Most of the cars you encounter will have pop up headlights as opposed to the earlier stationary ones which shown through Plexiglas. You either like the "plexi" front or you don't.
Drivability: People always comment on the heaviness of the steering at low speeds. So what. Nobody drives them in traffic these days. However you can definitely feel the heaviness of the car vs. say something like a 275GTB who’s steering I always felt was much lighter. Interior noise is very tolerable and you would not hesitate to drive this car at 80mph from NY to Houston over a two day period. Don't try that in a Boxer; it will beat you up! The Daytona, at least to me, does epitomize the definition of the quintessential 70's GT car.
Performance: These are fast cars. Zero to 60 is pretty good even for today. But the car really performs well say from 50 to 100. It's a rocket and it's rock stable on the straight. I would think this is not a car to push around the curve as you might a mid-engined car like a 308 or Boxer. I’m sure the car has plenty of grip, the weight distribution is almost 50/50 but once the back end came loose I know my reactions would be too slow to catch it. In a 308, yes, I could catch it but probably not a Daytona.
With the transmission in the rear shifting is a little "notchy" but slightly better than the early mid-engine cars. You don't speed shift the car anyhow. You run the gate shift pattern and put (vs. slip) it in gear.
These cars are European muscle cars. Roll down the windows and wind it up just under redline for a couple of shifts and you will hear what people call the Ferrari V12 wail. It is electrifying.
Mechanical: The cars are well put together, though rust is always a problem. However, by now a lot of these cars have been restored properly that this is not as much a problem as it use to be. Everything in the engine compartment is very accessible including what has to be one of the easiest oil filter changes ever. The overhead cams are gear driven off a gear which is chained to the crank. There are 6 twin choke Webers. Admittedly, a handful but once set up tend to hold tune for several years. Spark is induced by two Dinoplexes, one on each bank, however a lot have been converted to MSD or Perma-Tune systems for reliability. There are twin distributors which utilize points and mechanical advance which must be timed and synchronized. USA spec cars have an extra set of points in each distributor to retard the spark at idle for emissions. Additionally USA spec cars have an air pump and diverter valve system.
There is always some discussion regarding European spec, especially the 365/GTB4 "A' spec engine. European cars have a different, I believe, less restrictive exhaust system. However in The Ferrari Daytona, Gerald Roush and Pat Braden state that to their knowledge there is nothing different regarding the "A" spec engine. They believe the spec was to be a Euro spec car with pop up headlights which all Euro cars had after approximately 1970/1971. I would like to hear some other comments on the "A" spec and Euro Daytona's. I am guessing that the less restrictive and lighter exhaust may make them a little faster.
By the way, the definitive book on the Daytona is The Ferrari Daytona by Gerald Roush and Pat Braden. Out of print for some years now, however, it does turn up on Amazon.com or e-bay every once and a while. If you are seriously considering a Daytona spend a couple of hundred and buy the book.
So what makes this car so desirable? Would I rather have a 275GTB, well yes, but is it worth twice the price, well not in my opinion. Is the Boxer just as fast, better handling and racier looking, well yes. Yet there is just something about the combination of looks, GT drivability and V12 song that makes these cars very desirable. Maybe Road and Track said it best in their review of the car. And I am going to paraphrase and take some literary license here. These cars may not be the most exotic, best looking, or best performing but taken together they have to be arguably one of the best sports and GT cars ever produced.
Daytonas are not for long hauls during the summer or during the winter. Neither the heater nor the A/C are worth much. It is a great car to drive in the fall and spring, with the windows down. The sound of the V-12 engine is intoxicating. The power is awesome, but be sure to be pointing the car straight ahead when you punch the accelerator...it is quite difficult to drive as the steering is indeed heavy and for my liking doesnt lighten up until you get up in speed.
I had several opportunities to sell my daytonas at prices above 400K in the late 80's; turned them down. I now have one for sale listed in the FML as of the next issue. I guess I prefer the creature comforts of the 550 Maranello and would take it anywhere any time.
But I will always own a daytona. I think it is a most beautiful car and some 20 years of ownership has made the cars grow on me.
I have a daytona and my heater works great although it doesnt modulate well. It makes plenty of hot air, more than enough for any weather. Maybe your secondary heater valve is plugged or corroded. Air conditioning is only ok, just doesnt provide enough airflow. I too think the Daytona is a classic that I will always own.
Can anyone recommend an honourable person who can give me a valuation on a 1973 RHD Daytona Spyder (Straman).
As an original RHD Coupe (I believe only 41 RHD Coupe were produced)it was sent to the US for conversion in 1976 and has travelled only 5,000 miles from new. Black with Black/Red Stripe Interior and Borani Wire Wheels (correct Michelin Tyres). Indistinguishable from new. Prices in GBP or AUD would be appreciated. Enquiries welcome.
I assume you checked the FML and the FCA classifieds?
I found these
365 GTB/4, S/N 14133 (1971 USA prod.). Red with black interior. Borrani wire wheels. Good history, excellent in every way. 33,475 miles. $136,500. 2/04
Motorcar Gallery, www.motorcargallery.com, 954-522-9900 (FL)
365 GTB/4, S/N 14201 (1971 Euro. prod.). Red with tan leather. Factory air plus supplemental rear air. Optional wide Borrranis. Just underwent big service & is ready to be enjoyed. 56,287 km. $136,000. 3/04
Motorcar Gallery, www.motorcargallery.com, 954-522-9900 (FL)