The Daytona ventures out of its garage again, plus a review of the current market for Daytonas.
I've been travelling overseas a lot over the last few months and as a result, I'm slightly ashamed to admit that until last Sunday the Daytona hadn't ventured out of the garage for two months. Other commitments may have got in the way but it's disappointing to have lost a good chunk of the UK summer not driving the car.
The lack of driving was remedied last Sunday when I took the opportunity to give my Drive Cult colleague Jamie Wolfcale a ride in the big red V12 machine. Jamie had just come back from the team trip to the Nürburgring 24 hours where he had been riding in two of the other DC garage cars, namely Jack's C63 AMG and Marty's recently acquired M3, along with a very generously loaned Porsche 911 GT3. Even after these modern missiles Jamie commented how tight and together the Daytona felt despite being nearly forty years old, and he was surprised how little roll there was in the corners.
Being so used to the car I've never really thought about that much but I guess he's right. Certainly after a diet of my daily drive Alfa and a couple of rental cars, it was fantastic to revel in the Daytona's seamless power delivery. The four cam V12 is remarkably flexible and providing the carburettors want to play ball, it'll pull cleanly from low speeds even in high gears. One amusing statistic I recently discovered (from Andrew Frankel's twitter feed) is that a Daytona will out-accelerate the aforementioned GT3 between 70 and 90mph in top gear. Okay, so that's hardly the most useful increment in modern driving but it does go to show that in a straight line at least the Daytona can still mix it with the best modern machinery. Where the Daytona is somewhat less modern, though, is in its appetite for fuel. At £1.41 per litre for V-Power unleaded, classic Ferrari driving is a very expensive hobby!
Looking to the near future, weather and reliability permitting the Daytona will be venturing out again next weekend. The Gentleman Drivers Club has very kindly invited my wife and I to join their breakfast club event at St Michael's Manor in St Albans. I'm looking forward to meeting some fellow petrolheads and talking cars over a nice breakfast.
One of the most frequently asked questions I get about the Daytona is, “What is it worth?” I don't really like talking money and usually just reply “a lot.” As far as I'm concerned, my particular Daytona - which has been in the family since I was barely one year old - is effectively priceless, and I cannot envision any situation when it will be sold.
In general terms however, Daytonas, along with many other classic Ferraris, are generally appreciating in value. One side effect of this is that it has brought a lot of Daytonas back onto the market. Certainly most of the recent major auctions have featured at least one Daytona in their catalogues. Interestingly though, in the UK the listings don't seem to be turning into sales. Historics at Brooklands had two Daytonas in their May auction, one of which was the blue car featured in Top Gear a few years ago. It's a well-known car quite apart from the TG appearance; it's been featured in a number of publications and has a detailed provenance throughout its ownership history. It was also fairly well publicised in the printed and online press that it was in the auction, but despite all of this it failed to find a buyer (I have no idea if it was sold in post-sale trading), nor did the other Daytona - a black LHD plexiglass version.
Bonhams had a red RHD Daytona at their Festival of Speed sale, which I understand was bid to £195,000. All three cars had estimates over £200,000 and all failed to sell. The evidence seems to be that good Daytona's are not quite in the £200,000 range in the UK despite what dealers and market experts may say.
Over in the States, Mecum recently auctioned a Daytona for $260,000 (approximately £170,000) which to me seems probably where the true market is right now for a good but not exceptional Daytona, one to be driven rather than polished on the concours lawn.
US-based dealers have several very low mileage Daytonas for sale, with both Paul Russell & Company and Autosport Designs offering Daytonas with less than 10,000 miles on the clock for $365,000 (£228,000) and $395,000 (£247,000) respectively. Fantasy Junction is offering a fully restored 38,000 mile car which features a tuned engine and additional air conditioning for $389,500 (£243,000). If you're not concerned about exact originality and want a car to actually drive, this is possibly a better buy.
There are at least five Daytonas consigned to the various auctions in Monterey in August. Two of these are factory Spyders (one consigned to Gooding & Co, the other to R.M) and are in a different market altogether so can be discounted from this discussion.
Mecum is offering the 'barn find' Daytona we have previously featured in Caught in the Classifieds along with a Spyder conversion. If you are looking at the conversion car seriously to buy, I would suggest doing your homework thoroughly. The catalogue description indicates it was converted by Scaglietti themselves, but I have never seen any evidence that Scaglietti built any Spyders other than the factory cars (which, contary to Mecum's catalogue description, were built from the ground up as Spyders and not converted from Berlinetta's). There is an old but still relevant article written by Mike Sheehan on this subject, a copy of which can be found on his website.
As well as the factory Spyder, Gooding & Co also have a Berlinetta consigned. The full description is not available as I write this, but their preview indicates it has a very wide estimate of $350,000 to $425,000. It's in a very unusual metallic Hazelnut colour which in Ferrari colour coding is known as Nocciola. This might not be to everyone's taste but I think it really suits the car.
One Daytona that is on a completely different scale, value-wise, is the Series II Competizione S/N 15373 that belongs to Nick Mason. This car was on show at this year's Goodwood Festival of Speed as a late replacement for Mr Mason's Le Mans Boxer that had sadly developed mechanical problems. 15373 ran at Le Mans in 1972 finishing 8th overall and 4th in class (behind 3 other Daytona Competiziones) and is a gorgeous car. It's also a surprising quiet one. I've seen and heard several Daytona Competiziones running in the past and they sound like the God of Thunder doing his morning exercises, but this example - which featured a full exhaust system instead of a side exit system - sounded no louder than my street car and possibly even a littler quieter. Drive Cult will be bringing you a full report on the Festival of Speed in the near future
Returning finally to my own car, I'm considering which road trips to do with the car, both for the remainder of this year and for next. Any suggestions for events in the UK or in Europe, both large and small, that are worth a visit are gratefully received.