The mystery of barn finds: A one-off in Japan

  • 14 October 2023
  • 2 min read
  • 3 images
The mystery of barn finds: A one-off in Japan image

Photo credit: RM Sotheby’s

More than a barn find, this tale of an extraordinary Ferrari Daytona borders on the mysterious. Of the 1,200-plus Daytonas ever manufactured, only 15 – five of which had aluminium bodies – were built specifically for the racetrack, clinching class victories at prestigious events like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Daytona. However, Ferrari also produced a unique road-going version with a lightweight aluminium body. This one-off was purchased in 1969 by Luciano Conti, the founder of Autosprint magazine and a close friend of Enzo Ferrari. It featured competition specifications but was equipped with road-going comforts like electric windows.

The mystery of barn finds: A one-off in Japan - 1The unique road-going version with a lightweight aluminium body of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona found in Japan after almost 40 years.

In 1971, the car was deregistered from Italian records and imported into Japan by a local dealer. It subsequently changed hands among various Japanese collectors and was even featured on the cover of the local magazine, Car Graphic.

Then, towards the end of the 1970s, the car vanished from the radar. This is not surprising in Japan, where many collectors prefer to keep their ownership of important and collectable cars a secret. However, this car remained literally hidden and abandoned, as the accompanying images confirm. Nearly 40 years passed before its rediscovery. Or, more precisely, various accounts regarding its rediscovery began to circulate, casting doubt on the car’s very existence.

The mystery of barn finds: A one-off in Japan - 2The Daytona's interior covered in the patina of time.

The aura of mystique surrounding this potential one-off was dispelled in 2017 when RM Sotheby’s announced the sale of the only Daytona road car with aluminium bodywork at the “Passione e Leggenda” auction in Maranello, on the Fiorano Circuit. Despite its poor condition, the car attracted substantial bids and was sold for €1,807,000, making it the most expensive Daytona ever sold.

The mystery of barn finds: A one-off in Japan - 3The 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona was sold by RM Sotheby’s in 2017 for €1,807,000. A record for this model.

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