Maintenance and Movies; the Ferrari Daytona’s winter

Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona
Driving home from Goodwood in the company of a Healey and a Jaguar XK120

Catching up on recent events for the Ferrari Daytona, including a winter overhaul and appearing in a short film.

The winter is usually a time to catch up on maintenance with the Daytona, and this winter was no exception. A surprisingly dry day with salt-free roads in January allowed me to make the short journey over to my Dad’s workshop so that our mechanic Vince could carry out a few jobs on the car. There was nothing huge planned although an oil change was due, and I wanted Vince to check out the sticking light pod and see if anything could be done to reduce the fuel smell that my wife so dislikes.

During the work Vince noticed an oil leak coming from the transaxle that meant the unit had to come out for refurbishment. It’s been a while since the unit has been out and once apart it was quickly discovered there was quite a build up of black sludge inside as the oil has got older. Vince cleaned out the sludge and refurbished the insides (I’m not mechanically minded enough to give a detailed explanation of what was done!) Once back on the car, a few test drives revealed that the gears were now shifting much more smoothly but there was a lot more noise coming from the transaxle, particularly when the car was cold and especially from the limited slip differential when turning. The oil had been replaced with Royal Purple gear oil, which was probably a lot thinner than the oil in before. Back at the workshop some additional Redline limited slip additive was added to the oil and the noise has considerably reduced, although it's not been entirely eliminated. We’ll keep this under review and see if further work needs to take place.

Vince has also modified the catches on the quarter windows. The original design had the metal catch glued to the glass but these are notorious for falling off, especially as the cars get older. To make a firmer fitting Vince has added small metal plates to attach the catches to and as a result they are now much more firmly in place. Prior to this I always avoided using the quarter-lights for fear the catch would come off. Now they work fine and opening the quarter lights gives a massive improvement to ventilation in the car.

By the end of February the weather had improved enough to start using the car again. The first task of the year involving the car was to finally make a long-planned film with Petrolicious profiling my family’s history of the Daytona. I’ve done plenty of photo shoots with the Daytona and they're usually pretty straightforward; park the car in the right position and then have a coffee while the photographer sets up cameras and flash guns to get that perfect photograph.

Shooting a film is a much more involved process. To get even a few seconds of footage just right takes a lot of takes, especially as we were shooting on a public road. Just when you thought the take was perfect, a passing car would just appear in shot travelling in the other direction, ruining the take, and we would have to set up to go again. It was not entirely helped by the weather being on the cold side - the Daytona takes a very long time to warm up! I'd get the car nicely up to temperature, and then I'd have to stop again so that the film crew could reposition cameras or we would move onto the next take, resulting in some of that hard-earned heat being lost. In total it took a day and a half to shoot what turned out to be a six minute movie, although we lost a couple of hours on the first day due to rain. The results, as you have probably already seen, were fantastic and well worth all the effort put in by the Petrolicious crew. I also have an even greater respect for the lengths that Petrolicious, Chris Harris and other car film makers go to in producing these films we all love. I wonder if the sarcastic commenters on YouTube truly realise how much hard work it takes.

A few weeks later and my wife and I took the Daytona out to the new Classics and Cake meets held at Duke of London’s premises in Brentford West London. I’ve already posted a gallery of pictures from the second of these events (I forgot my camera for the first one), but just to add that these are fun social gatherings with an eclectic mix of modern supercars and well worth a visit.

The following weekend and the Daytona was out again making the familiar trip down to Goodwood for the 73rd Member’s Meeting. The event was as good as last year’s, although it was somewhat colder this time. For me one of the highlights this year was actually the trip home. We left around 4pm after the main Gerry Marshall trophy, and once out of the circuit we inadvertently joined up with a convoy of a Jaguar XK120 FHC and a highly modified Austin Healey 3000. The Healey was a real outlaw with aero screens replacing the usual windscreen, a side exit exhaust like the rally-spec Healeys and a racing filler cap. The Jag and Healey's inline sixes made a great accompaniment to the Daytona's V12 as we made our way towards Petworth.

I often comment that the roads are much better in Northern France than they are in the South East of England, but as we barrelled over the South Downs in the company of these two English classics it occurred to me that this road (the A285) that I have driven so many times before can be utterly fantastic and as good as anything I have driven in the Champagne region. It helped that on this occasion traffic was unusually light and the combination of clear skies and freshly ploughed fields made for some great scenery. 

With the car season well and truly underway, it's time to start thinking about plans for the car this year. It’s highly likely that another trip to the Journées d’Automne will take place in October but there's also the possibility of another trip to France earlier in the summer as we are considering heading down to the famous Hotel de France where many of the teams entering Le Mans used to base themselves. More immediately and closer to home, I'm planning a trip to the annual Auto Italia event at Brooklands next weekend.