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Daytona #14273 - Is there life after death?

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by gtospoons, Jan 20, 2012.

  1. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
    105
    Suffolk, UK
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    Chris Withers
    #1 gtospoons, Jan 20, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    In the beginning....
    Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona #14273 was ordered by Maranello Concessionaires in October 1970 for John Cussins who was a hill climb racing driver and once owned the ex Graham Hill 4WD BRM. The car was collected by Mr Cussins and his wife from the factory in May 1970, registered JRC 40 and driven to the Monaco Grand Prix. The car was finished in Argento Auteuil 106-E-1 with black leather, charcoal grey carpets and air conditioning. The original log book shows that the car was sold in 1972 to a property company in London then in 1974 to a bank. After this the car met with a terrible accident and recovery was facilitated by wrapping huge chains around the body and dragging it up a muddy slope. Clearly this did substantial damage to the panelwork and added to the chassis damage incurred in the original accident. The wreck was then sold on, someone hacked the roof off and eventually in 1979 the car was purchased by Chris Lawrence who intended to restore it as a spyder. The photo below shows the car as Chris received it with not a useable panel in sight.

    Chris Lawrence was the much revered and well known Maserati and Ferrari SWB and GTO replica builder. I got to know Chris in the year 2000 when I asked him to produce a correct GTO chassis and body for me and we became friends, even going on holiday together. He knew that I would like to have a Daytona for my wife and I to enjoy in our retirement but I could not afford a complete one, so we came to a gentleman’s agreement that when he wanted to sell his Daytona, I would be his first port of call. In the intervening period, Chris had completely dismantled the wreck and stored all the parts in various barns and workshops on his property, whilst throwing away the irrepairable body parts. Subsequently, early in 2006 Chris was diagnosed with Melanoma Cancer and he asked me if I still wanted to buy the Daytona, which I did. We managed to complete the deal and load two trailers full of parts that I had not seen, boxes, broken suspension, an engine that was stuck fast and a bent chassis, just days before he died. When I eventually surveyed my purchase, my heart sank; the engine had two holes in the sump where the front suspension pick up securing nuts had punched through the cast aluminium, the chassis had sustained damage to the driver’s side front suspension area and oval tube. However, Chris had managed to purchase what he told me was a genuine Scaglietti nearly complete front body clip and this I valued very highly. I was also able to purchase fairly soon after, an entire rear body clip and roof from Maranello Concessionaires long with various missing trim panels needed to return the car to a Berlinetta that we could enjoy, driving through Continental Europe. So all I needed was someone to fix the chassis for me. In 2007, I did try a local engineer, who had a basic jig, who did his best to straighten the chassis but it eventually dawned on me that we really needed a Ferrari expert. I have a strong scientific background and an interest in automotive engineering, however my welding and bodywork abilities are those of an amateur. I enjoy paint spraying, engine building, assembly and finishing the cars off to a high standard but I do need the correct body and chassis to work from. Originality and correct original construction of a given car is important to me. So in 2007, I started looking for a genuine chassis engineer with Ferrari experience and all the right equipment to return this chassis and body to a point where I could begin the laborious but rewarding process of preparation for painting.
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  2. 355BOY

    355BOY Formula Junior

    Jan 28, 2004
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    the North
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    Mark
    Oh my word, this will be interesting, T cut should sort most of that out!
     
  3. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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  4. John Se

    John Se Karting

    Mar 15, 2005
    201
    Scottsdañe
    Looks like the guys who did holey daytona could fix it.
     
  5. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
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    Chris Withers
    Good idea John. Watch this space...
     
  6. Rock

    Rock Formula 3

    Nov 9, 2003
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    Rocco
    PM me we have a frame jig for daytonas, but we are in Toronto Canada.

    we also have usa spec daytona
    512 bb
    308 gtb fiberglass

    rocksauto.ca
     
  7. PSk

    PSk F1 World Champ

    Nov 20, 2002
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    Subscribed.

    Pete
     
  8. Wheels1

    Wheels1 F1 Rookie
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    Chris.
    What a huge project!
    You know you can always call for advise.
    Grant
     
  9. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
    105
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    Chris Withers
    Thanks Grant, as you know a lot has happened and there is much to write about, but I will get the whole story out eventually.
     
  10. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
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    Chris Withers
    PM sent.
    Chris
     
  11. WCH

    WCH F1 Veteran
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    Mar 16, 2003
    5,179

    Me, too.
     
  12. evoderby

    evoderby Rookie

    Nov 10, 2006
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  13. of2worlds

    of2worlds F1 World Champ
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    I applaud your efforts to bring Daytona *14273* back to life. Good Luck with the project!
    CH
     
  14. 2NA

    2NA F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Owner Consultant

    Dec 29, 2006
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    Tim Keseluk
    Looks like a fairly straightforward project. Restoring the chassis is the easy part. There's nothing particularly magical about a frame jig. Getting all the body panels to fit will inspire some new vocabulary words.
     
  15. StephenShoubridge

    May 28, 2006
    102
    West Sussex UK
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    Stephen Shoubridge
    i know just the chap who could fix that for you Chris
     
  16. bertrand59

    bertrand59 Guest

    Jun 13, 2011
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    Lille, france
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    bertrand
    So in 2007, I started.........

    Do you start the work now ?
     
  17. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
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    Chris Withers
    Hello Stephen,
    Yes, I think we both do...
    Chris
     
  18. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
    105
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    Chris Withers
    #18 gtospoons, Jan 22, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Here are a few pictures of the engine, the first one being the engine lying forlornly in Chris Lawrences workshop just before I bought the car. Chris told me that the engine was stuck through nearly 40 years lack of use – it had not even been turned over in all that time but had just been left lying around. I trusted Chris.The hole in the left hand side of the sump can be seen close behind the piece of sticky paper in the foreground and there is another one in the corresponding position on the other side. The next photo shows the engine in my cradle just before I started stripping it, because I was told by someone who claims to be an expert in Ferrari’s that my engine was seized solid and of little value. How he could ascertain this without looking inside the engine, I don’t know. We shall see!

    Off came the carbs, the vac pump pulley ring nut gave me a few problems until I made my own socket and the heads gave up the fight after a good struggle. I was quite surprised at the amount of corrosion product powder in the water ways, they were completely blocked and when I removed the heads, powder just spilled into the bores. I guess that the car must have stood for a long time with water in it and probably the antifreeze and anti-corrosion effectiveness had long disappeared. What surprised me even more was that the condition of the important engine components can only be described as nearly new: The main bearings were not yet run in and still shiny silver, the big ends were perfect with an even, matt grey appearance and the pistons were new. They were stuck, but one by one they came out of their bores and are now soaking in cleaning solvent. This engine has not seized, it has become stuck as the late Chris Lawrence said. There’s a moral here to do with so-called Ferrari “experts”.
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  19. donv

    donv F1 World Champ
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    How many miles were on the car when it was wrecked?
     
  20. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
    105
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    Chris Withers
    Thanks CH. It's good to know that there are like-minded people giving support to this long term project.
    Chris
     
  21. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
    105
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    Chris Withers
    26000 miles. If anyone reading this knows of any repair or service history for this car, please contact me.
    Chris
     
  22. bigodino

    bigodino F1 World Champ
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    I love ressurection projects like these! Keep up the good work.
     
  23. gtospoons

    gtospoons Karting

    Jun 16, 2011
    105
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    Chris Withers
    Bertrand, the work is long term and ongoing. Watch this space.
    Chris
     
  24. bertrand59

    bertrand59 Guest

    Jun 13, 2011
    126
    Lille, france
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    bertrand
    I understand that.

    Be sure I will read your story
     
  25. RAMMER

    RAMMER Formula 3

    Feb 20, 2004
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    Miami
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    Rammer
    How far along is this project?
     

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