Presented by RM Sotheby’s.
The genesis of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona is so well known that it almost requires no introduction. Nicknamed for the manufacturer’s 1-2-3 sweep at the 1967 24 Hours of Daytona, the 365 GTB/4 was initially conceived as a stopgap model while a planned rear-engine car with a horizontally opposed 12-cylinder engine underwent further development. Gioacchino Colombo’s classic short-block V-12 was further bored to displace 4.4 liters, but the new type 251 engine was fitted with dual-overhead cam valve actuation, making the Daytona model Ferrari’s first DOHC road car. The powerful mechanical elements were clothed in an aggressive new coachwork design penned by Pininfarina’s Leonardo Fioravanti, and the shark-nosed body style remains one of the most singular forms ever to grace a roadgoing Ferrari.
The Daytona coupe proved to be so popular that the development of an open variant was inevitable, and at the 1969 Frankfurt International Auto Show the 365 GTS/4 was unveiled. The ultimate expression of Ferrari’s longstanding grand touring tradition, the Daytona Spider was also endowed with great rarity when production ceased after just 121 examples had been built. These crown jewels of Daytona production now stand as the centerpieces of many Ferrari-focused collections, offering exhilarating performance and beautiful open-air styling in the last, and most highly developed, variant of the manufacturer’s great tradition of front-engine V-12 touring models.
Once owned by a famous Hollywood director, and later the center of a cross-border drama worthy of a Hollywood plot itself, this beautifully restored Platinum Award-winning 365 GTS/4 is one of the most desirable examples of Maranello’s celebrated spider. According to the research of Rosso Corsa Consulting, chassis number 14779 is the 31st of 121 examples built. Factory-equipped with air conditioning, and specified with instruments in miles, the Daytona was originally finished in Argento Metallizzato paint over a Nero interior, exactly as the car presents today. It is important to note that only 14 Daytona Spiders were finished in Argento Metallizzato, and in a field of cars often dominated by rosso or giallo, this distinguishing feature endows the car with significant rarity and distinctive character.
Completed in December 1971, the Ferrari was distributed by Luigi Chinetti Motors in June 1972, distributed to Carl A. Haas Automobile Imports of Highland Park, Illinois. Shortly thereafter the 365 GTS/4 was purchased by its first owner, H.J. Hoff, an enthusiast residing in Norfolk, Virginia. Around this time the car was displayed in the paddock at Road America during a Trans-Am race at the famed circuit in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Three years later the Daytona Spider was sold to Sydney Pollack, the famed Hollywood director whose 50-year resume included numerous Oscar nominations, as well as Academy Awards for best picture and best director for the 1985 film Out of Africa.
In 1979 the Ferrari was purchased by Alberto Amezcua of Mexico City, and he reportedly evaded import tariffs by paying an American tourist from Texas to drive the car over the border. Amezcua unfortunately encountered trouble in 1981 when the car was essentially stolen after he was forced to sign over the title in a strong-arm tactic by a powerful local pawn shop owner with ties to the Mexican president. In spring 1983 the Daytona was confirmed to be back in the United States when it was submitted for repairs to European Auto Restoration in Costa Mesa, California.
By 1984 the Ferrari was purchased in good faith by the Ohio-based collector Ed Zamarelli, and two years later he advertised it for sale, at which point the odometer showed 34,000 miles. After becoming aware that his stolen Ferrari was being offered on the open market, Amezcua took legal action and successfully sued Mr. Zamarelli to regain possession of the fine Daytona Spider. Amezcua went on to keep the car for at least ten more years, refinishing the coachwork in black, and presenting the car at the 1993 FCA Vintage Ferrari Concours d’Elegance at the Quail Lodge and the 1996 Vintage Ferrari Concours d’Elegance, held in concert with Concorso Italiano.
After passing through three California-based collections over the following two years, the Ferrari was purchased in 1999 by Ron Bridges of Longwood, Florida, and he commissioned a show-quality restoration by Vantage Motor Works, including a repaint in the original factory color of Argento Metallizzato. In 2004 Mr. Bridges sold the car to David Nagle of Oakland Park, Florida, and when Nagle offered the Daytona a year later the odometer still displayed a desirably low figure of 39,306 miles—an indication of how sparingly the car was driven.
In 2006 the Daytona was acquired by the noted collector Gordon Apker of Scottsdale, Arizona, and he presented the car at the 2007 Concorso Arizona, winning a FCA Platinum Award. The 365 was then sold in January 2008 to Chris Cox of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, before being purchased in 2009 by the esteemed collector Steve Adler of New Vernon, New Jersey. Mr. Adler retained Steve Babinsky’s Pebble Beach award-winning firm Automotive Restorations to further restore the car, including reconditioning the interior to concours standards. In 2011 the spider passed to Haines “Chip” Marshall of Broussard, Louisiana, although the car was reportedly maintained within a Texas-based collection through January 2020.
Currently displaying 40,150 miles, this modestly driven 365 GTS/4 is accompanied by a tool roll and owner’s manuals. In preparation for the current offering the car has been treated to a bout of freshening work, including the performance of a compression/leak down test and the installation of a new Ansa exhaust system.
The rare Daytona Spider is beautifully refinished in its original factory color combination of Argento Metallizzato over Nero, and it bears repeating that this unusual one-of-14 exterior finish further bolsters the car’s rarity and distinctive character. Most Maranello-focused collectors, whether they are just beginning their journey or have assembled a deep collection over the course of many years, have seen fit to build around a Daytona Spider, as it is undeniably the quintessential blue-chip Ferrari. For the collector in search of a dynamic and exceptional example, chassis number 14779 offers a nearly unparalleled opportunity.
Still benefiting from a proper mechanical restoration and subsequent upkeep as needed, this 365 GTS/4 is a striking example of the developmental zenith of Maranello’s celebrated open front-engine grand tourers that retains its numbers-matching engine and gearbox. The spider is equally suited for presentation at FCA events and major concours d’elegance, or enjoyment of its powerful and refined drivetrain, inviting serious tifosi to indulge in a living legend.
RM Sotheby’s is set to kick off the collector car auction calendar once again by returning to the stunning grounds of the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa in Phoenix on 27 January for its 23rd annual Arizona sale. View all lots and register to bid online at RMSothebys.com.