365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder

by Gerald L. Roush

Reprinted from Ferrari Market Letter with permission.

The idea behind the 365 GTB/4 Daytona Spyder was certainly not new. For years, Ferrari had offered a limited production open version of its more plentiful closed automobiles. Some had been models with an identity of their own, for example the 275 GTS with its Pininfarina body shared mechanicals with the 275 GTB, but visually was quite different. Others had been nothing more than the closed version without a top, such as the 330 GTS, which below the window sill line was identical to the 330 GTC in appearance.

The open version of the 365 GTB/4 Daytona would follow this latter trend, and visually was an obvious adaptation of the Pininfarina designed Berlinetta style. Because the original styling of the Berlinetta was that of a fastback, a bit more modification was necessary to make the adaptation than would have been required to adapt a notchback coupe. The result was a Spyder version that shared front end and lower bodywork sheet metal with the Berlinetta, but a new rear deck and, of course, roof line. The result was altogether pleasing and quite harmonious, giving no hint that the car had not been designed as a Spyder. Not all conversions from a closed design to an open design can make the same claim.

The first appearance of the Daytona Spyder was at the Frankfurt Auto Show, on the stand of Auto Becker, the German importer for Ferrari, in late 1969. This car was in all probability S/N 12851, as the factory has confirmed that serial number as a ?365 GTS/4 Spyder? which surprisingly was not delivered until 1972! It is in the United States today (1983), and has the later style pop-up headlights rather than the plexiglass covered lights originally fitted.

I have an unverified note in the files that lists S/N 13377 as the next Spyder produced, which would make it the first of the production. Serious production did not begin until 1971 however, with the first confirmed example being S/N 14365, although S/N 14347 may actually be the first. The first version manufactured to meet the U.S.A. specification was S.N 14383.

There is an aporcryphal story that has circulated for years that has at least some of the engineers and managers at Ferrari not being in favor of putting the Daytona Spyder into production. As the legend goes, their argument was that the Daytona was designed as a closed grand touring car capable of long stretches of driving at 150+ mph. When it was made into an open version its character was changed. It couldn?t e driven as the designers had intended with the top up, nor with the top down!

Whether true or not, the story does indicated the character of the car and the facts are that the majority of the Daytona Spyders were made for the U.S.A. market, where long distance cruising at high speed was severly hampered by speed limits. A total of 96 examples were made to the U.S.A. specification, and while the total number produced is not known, it seems very unlikely that more than 96 others were made.

Despite its shortcomings as a high speed grand tourer, the Daytona Spyder became very popular, particularly in the United States. Once the 365/GTB 4 went out of production and the usual phenomenon of appreciating values took over, the Spyders version increased in value much faster than the Berlinetta to the point where, today, the open version is worth twice what an equivalent closed version is worth. When new there was not too much differential. The base price of the Spyder in August, 1972 was $25,810 versus the Berlinetta?s $23,940.

The resulting price difference resulted in the "conversion" craze, when Berlinettas had their roofs cut off and bodywork modified to make them into convertibles. The first such<