Ferrari GTS/4 'Daytona' Spider
Aimed squarely at the American market (and ironically made famous in the 1980s thanks to the black convertible in ‘Miami Vice’ – which was a fake), Italian sportscars don’t come much more glamorous than the so-called Daytona Spider.
The Ferrari 365 GTS/4 (to give the car its proper name) was the open-topped version of the celebrated ‘Daytona’ coupé – or 365 GTB/4, if we’re going to be formal. The Spider was revealed in all its drop-top glory at the 1969 Frankfurt motor show. Only 122 were built (and just 7 were right-hand drive). Sales weren’t helped by the Spider’s emergence at the start of the 1970s, when the oil crisis loomed large in everyone’s thoughts; but for those who could afford it, the Daytona Spider offered real Italian performance – and style.
However, while the awesome abilities of the front-mounted 352bhp 4.4-litre four-cam V12 engine (not to mention its wonderful song at speed) were never called into question, the cosmetic appearance of the Daytona Spider wasn’t quite so universally popular. Roof up, the convertible had certainly lost some of the cleanly sculptured purity of the coupé. And dare we suggest that Pininfarina’s solution to stowing the foldable roof wasn’t as neat as might have been hoped?
Nevertheless, for ‘real’ drivers, there was little to beat the joy of open-topped motoring in this quintessentially Italian styling statement. As with the coupé version, the heart and soul of the car is its engine, but the Daytona is also known for its superlative handling, its balance, and the need for a firm hand on the controls. Heavy steering, along with a clutch and brakes that likewise require a bit of muscle from the driver when the going gets twisty, add to the physicality of the driving experience; but that’s what makes the car so engaging.
This is no spineless boulevard cruiser; or rather it’s not just a boulevard cruiser. The Daytona – whether coupé or convertible – is a real, macho, high-performance Italian sports car and it demands a bit of energy from the driving seat to get the best from the mechanicals. But put real verve into your wheelmanship and the fabulous front-engined Ferrari of 40 years ago will repay you handsomely.
The car in the photographs is for sale at Joe Macari Performance Cars in London SW18. See the original advert or the rest of Joe Macari's inventory in the Classic Driver Marketplace
Also in the Marketplace, you can find more 365 'Daytona' coupés and Spiders
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Joe Macari