Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona: Driver’s Seat

Key in the ignition, turn to the right, listen to the fuel pumps, as they slow, turn the key one more notch to the right, the V12 awakens, give it a little gas, and we settle into a nice idle. Now comes the check of all the electrics, lights on, fans working, windows working (well kind of, you need patience as they ever so slowly crawl up and down) so far so good. After a few more minutes, we get a bit of heat in the engine, push the oh so not exactly light clutch in, select reverse, and roll back out of the garage. With the Daytona parked in the middle of the driveway, give it a few more minutes to warm up and do a quick walk around inspection. Everything looks good except the fuel gauge is on empty. Its clear where our first stop will be.

After a graceful flop back into the one-piece bucket seat mounted behind the large leather covered steering wheel, slot it into first and off we go. Shortly after clearing the driveway gates, give the brakes a tap and they instantly respond. This is very good news as getting the brakes fully sorted had been a major project. Skip 2nd gear and go directly into 3rd. The Daytona is pulling nicely. After a quick stop for gas (the Daytona has a huge tank) off we headed up one of the main “A” roads into the countryside. With everything now up to full operating temperature, time to run up the gearbox and test the brakes again. First hard shove on the middle pedal and we have a slight pull to the right, brakes are stone cold thou and the pads are new. On the second try, they bite strongly, and the nose stays pointed straight ahead. A couple of more brake tests and my confidence in the Daytona is growing. At this point, we do a quick U-turn and start to head back. Rain does not seem too far off, but we decide to risk it and head off to run one more nice twisty road. With a bit of speed, the steering lightens up brilliantly and the corners begin to flow nicely. Even forty years later, the engine is highly impressive. It pulls very strongly and never seems to run out of grunt. Being a bit lazy, I just leave it in 3rd and take advantage of the massive torque as we wind our way up and then back down through the hills.

With the sky darkening significantly, back we now head. Once in the garage I let the Daytona run for a few minutes to check the cooling fans. As soon as the temp gauge hits 90, they come immediately on. Another good sign and a good end to a successful drive.

A Daytona Commute

Inspired by a friend who has been using his Ferrari 275 GTB/4 for commuting, I decided to try the same with the 365 GTB/4 Daytona.

On a crisp early winter morning, open the garage door, pop the long hood, unplug the battery conditioner, then open the driver’s side door and drop into the snug bucket seat behind the large slim leather covered steering wheel. Disconnect the alarm, insert the key, and turn it 2 notches to the right. Wait and listen to the pumps filling the webers, as the clicking slows, turn the key one more notch to the right and give it a bit of gas. After 10 seconds, the V12 awakens (and probably so does half the neighborhood). Open the driver’s door and head back into the house to lock everything up while the Daytona slowly warms up. After 10 minutes, it is back to the car, toss the briefcase onto the passenger’s seat and settle in behind the steering wheel. A quick glace over the right shoulder, and slowly back out of the garage. Now comes the upper body work out as you need to muscle the Daytona out of the driveway and onto the street. Once we start rolling, everything begins to lighten up nicely. Quick shift up from 1st to 3rd (forget 2nd until the engine is fully warmed which given that it is 0 C out, 2nd gear has the day off) and use the massive torque of the V12 to pull us along sedately.

Once we have cleared town, and there are no signs of frost on the side of the road, the right foot extends a bit and the rpms begin to climb. As the engine is slow to warm, we keep it around 3000 rpm for the 1st half of the drive. The Daytona has now settled into a nice flow as we run across country to the highway. A couple of quick tests of the brakes, they seem to be working well. I also use the time to run through a test of all the lights, signals, etc in the cabin, with the exception of the heating, all is spot on. The heating in the Daytona seems to be as pathetic as the air-conditioning. Mental note to self, check all the connections later. It is now onto the highway. We are quickly up to speed and I drop into 5th gear to cruise right at the speed limit at just over 3000 rpms. After 10 minutes, I start to day dream about continuing for another 10 hours and driving straight down to Monaco. The driver’s seat in the Daytona is a great place to start any day.

After 10 miles it is off the highway and back onto smaller roads. Coming off the ramp a gentleman on a big sports bike slows and waves me in. He then pulls up alongside, gives a big thumbs up before disappearing at the next traffic light. Ten minutes later, we pull into the office garage, and the fun ends.

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November 2018

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