When I watched Miami Vice on TV in the ’80s, I always had trouble understanding how a detective made enough money to afford a Ferrari
Sonny Crockett was most certainly The Man, but between all the money he already committed toward gallons of Brut aftershave and off-the-rack pastel blazers, there couldn’t have been much of his salary left over. And then this little red beauty entered our showroom, and it all made sense. A company called McBurnie Coachwork (which later became Thunder Ranch) produced these Ferrari replicas for years, and the producers at Miami Vice were smart enough to use a slick black Daytona in their show for a couple seasons (until they blew it up at the end of season, much like how Ferrari blew up the replica business when they sued for trademark infringement). For several years though, McBurnie produced their version of a 250 GTO, a Velo Rossa, and cars like this red-hot 365GT/B Daytona Spyder Replica built out from a 1974 Chevrolet Corvette. Not a lot of these were made, in all our years it’s the first we’ve ever seen, but they’re incredibly cool and represent an affordable way to get a taste (albeit a bit of an artificial taste) of the vintage exotic. So, unless you have three million dollars to spend on a real one, why not give this faithful replica a shot?
First, this isn’t just some kit car. These replicas were produced in the McBurnie factory in California, just like any ‘real’ car. Second, this isn’t one of those replicas built on a dinky Fiero or Chevette chassis either, nor is it powered by some wheezing four-cylinder. Instead, the high-grade fiberglass body was stretched and massaged to fit onto a C3 Corvette chassis. At a glance, it’s a Daytona all the way – the unique front end and quirky headlights look correct, the angle of the windshield seems to be correct, the doors are cut right, and the rear end with those funky taillights would easily have Don Johnson fooled. Of course, upon closer examination it becomes clear this isn’t Leonardo Fioravanti’s car. The body is four inches longer than a genuine Daytona, which makes since as the 1974 Corvette is a bigger car, the fit and finish of fiberglass will never look like Ferrari sheetmetal, and quite simply if ever parked next to a real Spyder, this ‘Faux-rari’ just won’t compare on almost any level. Thankfully, so few Daytona Spyders were actually made (122 factory-made cars is the historical estimate), so this roadster will never really have to worry about being compared to the real thing. And just because those badges didn’t come from Scaglietti doesn’t mean this isn’t a nice car and it certainly doesn’t mean it won’t turn heads. The bright red paint may not be Rosso Chiaro but it’s very clean and shiny, the fiberglass has no real imperfections to speak of, and the minimal amount of chrome and brightwork it has looks pretty darn good, too. It’s been driven a little bit, so there’s an imperfection or two (mostly found up front), but it’s obvious the car has been very well cared for and not long ago underwent over $21k worth of body, paint, and interior work.
The interior is a mix of Corvette and Ferrari styling, and 100-percent 1970s racing-car cool. High-end Connolly leather on the high-back C3 seats looks very upscale, split by a custom center console covered in the same gorgeous tan material. Matching door panels at the flanks are also draped in leather, and the floors are lined with gorgeous Wilton Wool carpeting that’s very plush. The interior certainly plays the part of an expensive exotic, and although the black dash has a bit more trouble hiding its C3 roots it still looks great, especially with that full set of aftermarket gauges ahead of the driver. A Grant GT steering wheel with a red leather rim is just as sexy as it’s supposed to be, and even though the 8-ball topped chrome shifter manages an automatic, it still looks very sporty. There aren’t a lot of amenities, but you do get power windows, power steering and brakes, seatbelts, and even a heat/defrost unit (only the defroster works at the moment). The trunk is relatively spacious for an exotic body style, and this replica also comes with a set of T-Tops and a rear window, although they admittedly could use a restoration.
Even though the exterior plays the part of a Ferrari, the moment you raise the bonnet the charade is pretty much over. Again, that’s not exactly a bad thing, especially when you consider the outrageous service bills and legendary undependability of vintage Ferrari drivetrains. A rebuilt 350 V8 means this baby still have plenty of blasting powder to work with, with new a parts list including a fresh Holley 4-barrel carburetor and performance intake on top, motor mounts, fuel pump, fuel lines and fuel tank all leading the way. An MSD ignition and upgraded coil means the block start with ease, while a new set of long-tube headers feed into throaty dual exhaust below. Power steering and power 4-wheel disc brakes give the car great road manners, as does the stock C3 suspension below, and the rebuilt TH400 3-speed automatic transmission was recently rebuilt and features a torque convertor that helps manage all the power. Sporty 5-spoke alloys look just right and they’re wrapped 245/50/16 front and 255/60/16 rear BFGoodrich blackwall radials with plenty of tread left.
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Location: Fort Worth, Texas, United States