WHO doesn’t love a good barn find? The prospect of one day stumbling upon an unloved and forgotten gem in some remote and dilapidated shed, hauling it out and giving it a new lease of life is the stuff of fantasy for all classic car fans, but not beyond the realm of possibility.
So imagine how it would feel to not only unearth an example of Ferrari’s late-1960s 365 GTB/4 Daytona, a car that is already highly desirable in any of its incarnations, but a version that is thought to be completely unique.
While a number of alloy-bodied Daytonas were built to go racing at Le Mans – which are themselves extremely rare and thought to exist in single figures today – just one was constructed as a road car. That’s the car you see here.
Hidden away in an unassuming Japanese workshop, the ultra-rare 1969 Daytona has not seen the light of day for nearly 40 years, but it is at last looking for a new home and will be auctioned by high-value car authority RM Sotheby’s early next month.
Guide price? Save yourself a bus ticket if you don’t have about $2.5m to spend, but we expect a car of such unimaginable exclusivity to fetch a far higher figure than the maximum guide estimate.
For context, a ‘standard’ 365 GTB/4 that once belonged to singer Elton John sold at an English auction in early August for the princely sum of £551,250 ($A894,000) – about the average for a Daytona of its type and condition.
Unlike a majority of barn-finds, you won’t have to scuttle off and check its VIN plate or rego stickers with all the hard work conducted by renowned exotic Ferrari expert Marcel Massini. Engine and transmission numbers are matching (12653), as are the original and crucial alloy body panels, which were also stamped for authenticity.
Some rare finds have barely turned a wheel, but the Rosso Chiaro coupe has a distinct daily-drive charm about it. In the boot, its tool kit includes a soft mallet for fastening the spin-on wheel hubs that still bears the dents of many uses, although the spare wheel appears unused.
Prior to the one-off 365 being squirrelled away, the beautiful coupe had been transported from its native Italy to Japan in 1971 where it changed hands several times and was featured in Japanese publication Car Graphic in 1972. It was last seen outdoors in 1980 and its whereabouts have only been known by a handful of avid Ferrari enthusiasts until now.
The car is in typical barn-find condition with a fine veneer of 40-year detritus, but the paint and body appears to be in surprisingly respectable shape and would sit proudly at the centre of even the most lavish car collection in either its unrestored condition, or after a loving restoration.
Either way, the lucky owner will never have to experience the automotive equivalent of turning up to the races in the same dress as someone else.
Other defining features include Plexiglass headlights and electric windows as well as a particularly well appointed interior – a notable exception as all other alloy Daytonas were decked out as full-fat racers with no comfort features.
As if that wasn’t enticing enough, the car’s first owner in 1971 was a close friend of Enzo Ferrari and is displaying just 36,390km on its odometer. It’s fair to say it probably hasn’t been clocked.