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Meet the Ferrari Daytona Spider that burned rubber with Hollywood’s elite

If cars could talk, what would they say? We think this 1971 Ferrari Daytona Spider, owned from new by legendary music producer Lou Adler, would have an autobiography that's as colourful as its exterior.

There are few eras in time us car lovers, movie buffs and fashion addicts would rather travel back to in a time machine than the dawn of the 1960s, with Los Angeles as the destination. This swinging new decade filled so many with optimism and ambition. Music was more expressive, and the clothing was more courageous, and for the now-legendary music producer Lou Adler, it was this exact era where his journey into stardom began, a journey which would eventually lead to him taking ownership of one of Ferrari’s greatest drop-tops: the Daytona Spider. A Daytona Spider that the equally as legendary Kidston Motor Cars now has available to purchase.

During Adler’s early years, just before the dawn of the 1960s, he met a then-unknown trumpet player by the name of Herb Alpert in college, who shared his dream of making it big in the music industry, and it wasn't long before the two met a pair of laid-back surf lovers by the name of Jan & Dean. Adler and Alpert went into music production after landing a signing for Jan & Dean’s first single, ‘Baby Talk’ with Dore Records, leading Adler deeper into the notoriously difficult music industry. Despite the obstacles, Adler savoured the challange, because if it was easy, everyone would be doing it, right? 

As the years ticked by, Adler would go on to create his own label, eventually signing The Mamas and Papas. He had initially dismissed the group, but was utterly stunned when he heard them first belt out a “California Dreamin’” acapella as they sat in-front of his desk. The rest, as they always say with a somewhat smug look on their face, is history. Adler had found his post-Beatles supergroup, a collection of artists so talented in their visionary song writing and laid-back melodies that hey had no trouble rocketing up the US album and singles charts in the early 1960s. After ABC approached Adler and bought his complete operation for a reported $3,000,000, while the contract was still wet with ink, he began to plan his next undertaking: Ode Records. 

His first booking was Scott McKenzie, who recorded ‘San Francisco’, a song that would be catapulted up the charts, all the way to the very top, selling 5,000,000 copies worldwide, and thus confirming to Adler that his move to go rouge and trust his instincts had certainly paid off. Years of success passed, with notable records like Carole King’s album Tapestry reaching a staggering 25 million copies sold worldwide. He also produced The Rocky Horror Picture Show and in 1972 won two Grammy Awards for his work. He also owned the legendary Roxy Theatre nightclub on Sunset Strip, adding to Adler's healthy stream of cashflow coming his way, and naturally, his modes of transport began to hit a high note too.

Enter stage right this glorious Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spider, a car built for cruising LA’s sun-kissed roads. Although not specified from the factory by Adler, this example fell into his arms after it was passed through US importers, eventually landing at Chuck Vandergriff’s Hollywood Sport Cars, based in the heart of Hollywood Boulevard. One of just 121 examples built, and one of only two thought to be finished in Giallo Man O’War, this Spider is just about as unique is they get. The pastel, washed-out shade of yellow fitted into Los Angeles’ colour palette like a dream, while retaining some key Prancing Horse provenance; it closely resembles the Giallo Solare used on the original 275 GTS/4 NART Spider.

The eagle-eyed among you will have spotted the silver band between the headlights, a detail that was common to several Daytona Spiders delivered to the USA until the end of 1971. Designed to mimick the 'Plexi' nose of early Berlinettas, it's a feature of this example that we really rather like. Despite being a drop-top, the Spider was just as powerful as the 170mph Berlinetta, courtesy of the same 352bhp, four-cam, six-carb motor, giving it plenty of power to handle the twists and turns from Palm Beach to Beverly Hills. 

Step inside this lemon-shaded delight and you'll be welcomed by a sea of chrome and leather, finished in Pelle Arancia, a shade that, despite translating as orange, actually resembles a deep tobacco. The trademark black perforated strips within the seats showcase the crushed grain Connolly leather further, making this Spider a truly magnificent place to sit and hear those horses sing. Being a producer, Adler of course wanted the music he blasted to be of the highest quality, and an additional console between the dashboard and transmission tunnel was fitted to house the period radio and equaliser. Lou Adler would go on to own this fabulous gran tourer for a staggering 34 years, with it mainly residing in Malibu. This Daytona even made its mark on the silver screen, after it was loaned to the producers of the MGM neo-noir thriller film 'The Long Goodbye' directed by Robert Altman. This very car was driven extensively in night scenes by central character Terry Lennox, who was played by baseball player Jim Bouton!

For many, the Daytona is the pinnacle of Ferrari’s entire line-up. It's devilishly handsome, able to deliver impressive performance whether you’re attacking apexes or backroads, and boasts enough space inside for all the weekend essentials. Even in Berlinetta form, the Daytona is something of a rarity, but a Spider, finished in a colour as unique as this with a true Hollywood legend as its first custodian, is something few other Ferrari models can match. Take it on long journeys, short blasts, or just sit and stare, however you want to admire the Daytona, we say do it all, and take in every single inch of this golden-era Italian beauty!