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Let this Porsche 911 and Ferrari Daytona take you back to 1972...

One look at the two cars pictured here – a Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ and a Porsche 911S 2.4 – should take you back five decades quicker than Doc Brown’s Delorean. Simon de Burton reminisces about brighter times...

Colour code à la mode

If you know your 911S colour codes, this Sepia Brown should speak of the early 1970s, when Tangerine, Signal Yellow and Gulf Orange were also on offer. The Ferrari Daytona comes from the same year, albeit painted not in the typical Rosso Corsa, but rather a vibrant orange hue named Rosso Dino.

It was in 1972 the both the Porsche and the Ferrari seen here rolled from their respective production lines and headed off into a brave new era, where people were encouraged to wear Terylene trousers and live in ‘Brutalist’ blocks formed from concrete, such as architect Ernesto Goldfinger’s futuristic Trellick Tower in west London.  

A vintage year

It was a big year for me, 1972: I got my first new bicycle (Raleigh Tomahawk), met the man who was to become my step-father (didn’t like him), decided to be a monk when I grew up (that didn’t work out) and was introduced to former/future Prime Minister Harold Wilson (who mumbled at me with his pipe in).

Today, we’re quite used to seeing Ferraris and Porsches prowling the streets. But when these two were new, they were the type of cars that turned heads wherever they went – proper exotica that motor-mad English schoolboys (such as I) had to be dragged away from at the Earls Court Motor Show. Just as they appear in Simon Clay’s photographs, such rarities shone out like beacons in a world that, architecturally at least, seemed to be turning grey.

Who would have thought...?

Back then, there just weren’t as many rich people in the world to buy cars costing this sort of crazy money: four years earlier, my mother had taken delivery of a brand new Triumph Vitesse convertible that cost £1,500 (around $3,900 at the exchange rate of the time). The 911S, however, weighed in at $10,000 and the Daytona was $22,000 – but who would’ve guessed that they would today be worth $200,000-plus and more than a million respectively?

Mind you, who could possibly have predicted that Terylene trousers might fall out of favour? Or that the Chinese would take three years to use as much concrete as America went through in a century?

Photos: Simon Clay

Both cars were supplied by Mark Donaldson Ltd., whose current stocklist can be found in the Classic Driver Market.