Barn find magic: Japanese Ferrari treasure could net 2.5 mil
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Any normal Ferrari 365 GTB/4 in a similar condition to this one would be worth no more than £500,000 in today's market.
This 1969 example due to be auctioned off next month is expected to sell for up to three times that amount when it goes under the hammer at RM Sotheby's upcoming sale at Ferrari's home in Maranello, Italy. And that's despite it being in what is described as a 'barn-find state'.
Why so expensive, we hear you ask. It's because this is a unique car, one of one made, that's been hidden away in Japan for 40 years with Ferrari enthusiasts unable to trace it and questioning its very existence.
Ferrari built over 1,200 versions of the 365 GTB/4 'Daytona' between 1969 and 1973 - that means, despite being as much as 48 years old, there are a few around for those with deep enough pockets to afford them.
Hugely desirable and popular among collectors, you'd have to set aside around half a million pounds if you wanted to invest in a decent one today.
But this one is far from concours ready. Despite that it is being valued at three times that amount because it's like no other 365 GTB/4 ever made.
This is the only aluminium-bodied version of the GTB/4 Daytona to be produced by the iconic Italian marque . Five lightweight alloy racers were created for the track for the 24 Hours of Daytona event, but this is the only one they produced that you can drive on the road with a registration plate, indicators and normal seatbelts affixed.
What makes it more collectible is that enthusiasts believed it was lost forever. After being shipped to Japan in 1971 it has not been spoken of for 40 years.
The most recent of four Japanese owners - a Makoto Takai - purchased the unique 365 GTB/4 in 1979 and locked it away in a garage for the best part of half a century.
The fabled car was only know to still survive by a select few collectors, while many Ferraristi were unaware that such a special and important car was still in one piece. Several attempts were reportedly made to buy it to no avail, making next month's opportunity to own the unicorn Ferrari extremely special indeed.
Being extraordinary, the 'barn-find state condition' isn't likely to deter any serious Ferrari investors, and 40 years of inactivity should mean a fairly preserved powertrain.
For peace of mind for potential buyers looking to splash a seven-figure sum on it, the car underwent a thorough evaluation by an expert in all things carrying the Italian Stallion badge in June - this confirmed the presence of matching chassis and engine numbers guaranteeing it is the one-of-a-kind model.
It has undergone a number of 'minor cosmetic modifications' during its Japanese registration, but the originality and condition of the interior is said to be 'remarkably authentic' and in 'good condition'. We have to say, it's pretty hard to tell from these pictures.
After checking the car over, the inspector, Marcel Massini, said: ‘What a super scarce Daytona barn find, the only remaining aluminium-bodied production GTB/4, sold new to Luciano Conti, a close friend of Commendatore Enzo Ferrari.’
The car currently displays 36,390 kilometres on the clock - the equivalent of 22,611 miles - which is not being disputed.
Describing this unicorn Ferrari, RM Sotheby's description says it is a 'unique car that no other collector can claim ownership to, this Daytona holds distinct ties to its competition brethren yet never turned a wheel in anger and was instead preserved for decades'.
It added: 'Presented here in remarkable unrestored condition, having been domiciled for many years and never significantly refurbished, there is no better Daytona for the discerning connoisseur, as it offers limitless opportunities for enjoyment.'
The 1969 365 GTB/4 Daytona Berlinetta Alloy by Scaglietti will be sold without reserve alongside a raft of other collectible Ferraris at the ‘Legenda e Passione’ sale on 9 September. Sotheby's expects it to achieve between €1.4m and €1.7m (£1.3m and £1.5m).
- Daily Mail