It's hard to imagine nowadays, with Ferrari Daytonas like this one for sale at half a million pounds, but once upon a time the 365 GTB/4 was seen as a bit old-hat, and not all that desirable. Most will probably be aware that the Lamborghini Miura was the Daytona's downfall, offering a mid-engined V12 layout for a supercar that made the Ferrari's front mounted engine look terribly passé. Formula 1 cars had made the switch by the time both arrived in late 1960s, and now road cars were doing the same - the Daytona hadn't.
Ferrari then spent the following decades putting 12 cylinders behind the driver, various BBs, Testarossas and 512s adopting a layout that came to define the modern supercar. V12s in the front became the preserve of the GT cruisers - 400s, 412s, 456s - and it looked like the more aggressive Ferrari with the engine ahead of the driver was done. But then the 550 Maranello turned up in the mid-1990s, turned expectations of front-engined Ferraris on their head, and the Daytona was of interest again. The legacy was further embellished by the staggering cars that have followed the 550: 599, f12, 812 Superfast. We can probably all agree that V12, front-engined Ferraris are now among the best cars in the world.
That said, much more has helped the Daytona's cause in recent history than just Ferrari making vaguely similar cars again. Its spectacular design for one thing; easily among the best exponents of the front-engined, rear-drive template, and unarguably one of the most stylish classic Ferraris. The motorsport element contributed, too, with privately entered Competiziones taking class wins at Le Mans during the 70s and thrilling spectators ever since in historic events. Oh yes, and don't forget about the Cannonball victory in 1971, as good an advert as you'll ever find for GT credentials - Brock Yates and Dan Gurney averaged 80mph across 2,876 miles.
All of which means the Daytona is now remembered more fondly as an iconic Ferrari V12, rather than the slightly outdated supercar it may have once seemed. And it has aged fantastically. Oh sure, everyone says it can be a bit of a pig to drive at low speed, but since when did cool care about practicality?
This Daytona looks a gem. A lot of GTB/4s seen are, predictably enough, Rosso Corsa, with a few dark blues and blacks as well. Silver has to be rarer, yet just as well suited to the aesthetic. Sold new in 1972 by Maranello Concessionaires, it's spent most of its life in Singapore; restored at the beginning of this decade and having covered just 18,000 miles in 47 years; surely as good an example as is going to be found.
What more do you need to know? As time passes - the Daytona itself already 50 years old, don't forget - and front-engined Ferraris continue to evolve, so the mystique around this car will grow. While it will never have the cachet of the earlier 250s and 275s, this final evolution of the 365 absolutely deserves its recognition and respect. In fact, a former Daytona-owning PHer probably puts it best: "Make no mistake, there are fantastic cars (F355, 550), but few truly great cars. This is one of the greats."