The Daytona was the most sporting Ferrari when I came of age. Then, I subscribed to the theory that real Ferraris had V12s up front and just two seats. A lot of car enthusiasts from my generation subscribe to the same thought process.
Of course, years later when I’d driven a Daytona, I realized they were more of a Grand Tourer than a track weapon. Yet, the model’s informal appellation is about racing ….. celebrating the three abreast Ferrari P4 prototypes’ victory at the 1967 Daytona 24 Hour.
Officially the street production coupe was known at the 365 GTB/4. It was introduced at the Paris Auto Salon in 1968 to replace the 275 GTB/4, and featured the 275’s Colombo 60 degree V12 now bored out to 4,390 cc (4.4 L = 0.365 x 12). The “4” in GTB/4 refers to 4 camshafts. Other Daytona numeric literacy includes 5 speeds (rear transaxle), 12 Weber throats, and 24 valves. Adding all that up gives 347 hp @ 7500 rpm (cue sound of ripping silk) and a maximum torque of 318 lb⋅ft @ 5500 rpm.
Like most modern Ferraris, the Daytona’s iconic shape is from the Pininfarina design house. The primary stylist is generally credited to Leonardo Fioravanti. Pininfarina / Fioravanti are also credited with Ferrari icons Dino 206, 308 GTB (“Magnum”), 288 GTO, F40, and 1984 (“Miami Vice”) Testarossa. Scaglietti built the Daytona’s steel bodies, as it did for many Ferrari models.
The generally accepted total number of Daytonas built is 1,406 units. This figure includes 122 factory-made spyders and 15 competition cars. Contemporary front-engined marketplace competition came from Maserati Ghibli, Lamborghini Islero, Iso Grifo, Aston Martin DB6 and later AM V8. The Maserati came close to outselling the Daytona.
The official competition cars were built in three batches of five cars each, in 1970-71, 1972 and 1973. They all featured a lightweight body making use of aluminum and fiberglass panels, with plexiglas windows. The engine was unchanged from the road car in the first batch of competition cars, but tuned in the latter two batches to 400 bhp in 1972, and then 450 bhp in 1973. Numerous road Daytonas were also converted to competition versions by race teams.
The 15 factory-made cars were not raced by the official Scuderia Ferrari team, but by a range of private entrants, often major Ferrari dealership-based. These entrants enjoyed particular success in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with results including a 5th overall in 1971, followed by GT class wins in 1972, 1973 and 1974. In 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4s took the first 5 places of the GT class at Le Mans. The final major motorsport success of the model was in 1979 (five years after production ended), when a 1973 vintage car achieved a class victory (and 2nd overall) in the 24 Hours of Daytona.
Famously, Dan Gurney and Brock Yates won the first (December, 1971) USA coast-to-coast Cannonball Run in under 36 hours. They drove a 1971 Sunoco Blue Ferrari 365 GTB/4. Gurney’s famous quote was “and not once did we exceed 175 miles per hour”. Blue onyx or Sodalite Royale would be two good stone options for anyone seeking a Daytona sculpture with Cannonball livery.
The Daytona was succeeded by two platforms of mid-engined twelve cylinder 2-seat sporting Ferraris. The Berlinetta Boxers (365 and 512) ran from 1973-83, while the Testarossa series ran from 1984-96. Ferrari then returned to front-engined V-12 two-seat GTs with the 550 and 575 Maranello, and later 599 and F12. Of those post-Daytona platforms only the Maranello had substantive competition success.
I love working with Portoro marble from La Spezia, near Carrera. Even at 50 grit with marble dust everywhere you can sense how fantastic the finished piece will look. The gold flame-like veining is a little more powdery than the black background stone, but finishes to an equally high luster. The gold flames are so vivid it is easy to miss the finer, more linear, more sparse white veining also present. Thin maroon veins are occasionally encountered.
The Indus Gold is a great color and pattern match for the inlays with Portoro. We proved that with an earlier piece The Hen, a Lamborghini Muira, where Indus was employed for the wheels and rocker panels.
Of note, the client who ultimately commissioned Roval Egg was very disappointed to learn that The Hen (Lamborghini Muira in Portoro) had been sold. As I assure each client, I won’t repeat their car model in the same stone. Therefore, some fantasy exploration was required with the new client.
Was there another stone color I could use for another Muira? White? Silver? Gold? Pure black? I also remembered I had sequestered a billet of Portoro…..was there another car model they’d feel would be a good match for the black with gold flames? The Muira’s contemporary at Ferrari proved to be that car.
In the end the new client wanted their sculpture smaller than The Hen, and with a little more abstract flying pod approach. I’d like to credit the client for collaborating in naming their commission. The Hen vs The Egg is the age-old quandary. Roval is a take-off on Royal (and the Faberge connection), and also the term used to describe a race course which employs most of an oval, combined with an infield road course — as does Daytona, the GTB/4’s namesake. The three-post sculpture base depicts the shape of the Daytona Roval.
I had the opportunity to compete in an endurance race at Daytona years ago driving a Mazda rotary. Yes, my ears did ring for a few days. I’m not much of an oval racing fan when it comes to TV, but as a competitor the oval sections of the Daytona roval were an absolute hoot. You could feel the aerodynamic draft of the car ahead sucking you forward from eight car-lengths back. You knew that feeling meant you would slingshot by that car later that same lap. Torrential rain squalls only added to the surreal experience.