1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4: The Harrah Hot Rod

The Ferrari GTB/4 (unofficially “Daytona”) is a special car, with 1,284 units built between 1968 and 1973. The car was featured in the first two seasons of the 80s hit TV show Miami Vice (though a replica car was used for filming, not a real Ferrari). I have developed an appreciation for the 1970s Ferraris, the 365 GTB/4 and GTC/4 over many years of going to car shows. This specimen was on display at the inaugural Las Vegas Concours d’Elegance in October 2019.

While the modifications to this 1971 GTB/4 and the “Rame Metallizzato” color may upset the tifosi, it is a unique car due to its provenance and history. From the placard next to the vehicle:

This 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 “Daytona” was previously owned by the renowned car collector and casino owner Bill Harrah. Shortly after being built by the factory, this soon-to-be legendary car was delivered to Mr. Harrah’s dealership, Modern Classic Motors. Mr. Harrah had owned many great models of Ferrari, and his personal cars were frequently equipped with his own special touches.

Upon receiving this Daytona as his personal car, the car was fitted with competition-style nine-inch rear wheels, fender flares, and an upgraded engine. The automobile was originally built with a beige leather interior, Nero seat inserts, and pop-up headlights. The refined Daytona was later passed down to another owner in 2012, who oversaw the Daytona’s suspension and front end rebuild by Ferrari of Scottsdale, as well as a fresh rebuild of the matching-numbers engine.

Accompanied with its stunning features and history, this car is the victor in a legendary race for the ages, whirlybird vs. Ferrari. When a Sikorsky helicopter salesman suggested he buy a helicopter to commute between his two casinos, Mr. Harrah nonchalantly replied if the helicopter could beat his Ferrari from Reno to Lake Tahoe, he would buy one. The Ferrari won the race of course, averaging 146 mph along the way.