It’s 4 a.m. and you can’t sleep. Breakfast is at 8 a.m. and you’ve got four hours to kill. What do you do?
Well, if you happen to have a Ferrari key burning a hole through your nightstand, you grab said key, head down to your garage and wake that lovely engine up. Along with most, if not all of your neighbours.
That’s why I find myself in a Ferrari Daytona at precisely 4:30 a.m., waiting for the V12 to warm up. The gentleman driver from our other stories is behind the wheel, humming a tune to himself. Time for a bit of history.
The Ferrari Daytona, or to call it by its official name, the 365 GTB/4, is a grand touring car built between 1968 and 1973. Powered by a 4,390 cc V12, the car was famous for having been designed in just seven days. The name ‘Daytona’ came from Ferrari’s full-podium finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona in 1967.
After a few minutes of impatient fidgeting on my part, the gauges showed that the car was at temperature and it was time to go. As we got onto the main road however, the recalcitrant engine signalled that the fluids were not as hot as they should be, so we continued moving at a slow rate of speed. Four or five kilometres down the road, the gentleman gave the throttle a cautious prod. The engine reacted positively and the go pedal was then progressively pushed deep into the plush Ferrari carpets.
The car gathered speed as the V12 bellowed its note of raw power. Acceleration was calm but then again, this car is meant for high-speed touring and not for spirited drives on B-roads. The sound of the gated shifter, a pair of lovely seats, a very quaint radio and plenty of leg space numbed the sensation of the speed at which the car was travelling. Until I glanced at the large Veglia Borletti speedometer. Let’s just say some details are best left to the imagination.
The idea was to catch the sunrise and snap a few shots before heading home for breakfast. What with the humidity and the dust haze, we didn’t actually get to see the sun until it was much higher in the sky. So, we contented ourselves with doing what the car was meant to do: cover large distances in little time.
Eventually, we turned the car toward the gentleman’s house and the sun made its appearance. I chuckled to myself. I could only imagine Brock Yates and Dan Gurney in a Daytona as they raced from ‘Sea to Shining Sea’ during the Cannonball Run, in this car. They would have reached their destination comfortably, while maintaining their high rate of speed, two essential qualities in a cross-country contest against the clock.
I was still thinking about the car an hour later, when the gentleman tapped me on the shoulder to tell me that breakfast was ready.
That’s the thing about the Daytona. It disguises how fast it’s going, while keeping you as comfortable as can be. The car’s sweet spot is at 150 km/h and above, not that we reached those speeds. It may not be a looker, but if you wanted to arrive at your destination in the least time, while remaining comfortable and stylish, this was the car you got.
The fact that the car happens to have flip-up headlights is an added bonus.
Special thanks to Assyl Yacine for the ride in the Daytona and the sumptuous breakfast that he whipped up.