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Found in a Toronto condo: rare Ferrari spends 25 years under wraps

One morning last month, Patrick Sinn pulled the cover off of his Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona for the last time – 25 years after putting it up on blocks in the parking garage at his Toronto condo. He had decided, at 77, that the time was ripe for a second owner to enjoy his Rosso Rubino exotic.

The existence of the Sinn Daytona, long whispered among cognoscenti in the Ferrari Club of America/Canada East Region, is to be featured in its Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance sale in March, RM Auctions confirmed on Tuesday.

Ferrari made 1,284 Daytona coupes between 1968 and 1973, but a one-owner example in original condition is an outlier, in the terminology of RM specialist Gord Duff. As Daytonas have commanded $700,000 to $850,000 (all figures U.S.) in auctions this year, $1 million or more for Sinn's rarity would hardly be surprising. RM will be calling it "the Condo Find Daytona," in its buildup to Amelia, referencing the barn-finds of old automotive treasure untouched by sunshine or time.

"It has all the papers, the original roll of tools – a tool kit alone can bring $15-20,000 – even the plastic box with spare bulbs that's apparently very rare," Duff said. "It makes it very attractive that there's nothing to look for, to complete the car."

Sinn fell in love with the car by happenstance. Following a ski vacation in Chamonix, France, a flight delay left him with the day open and he took in the Geneva Motor Show. So smitten was Sinn by the two GTB 365/4s on the Ferrari stand – the Daytona name was unofficial and not yet acknowledged by Ferrari – he cancelled his flight to Toronto, flew instead to Milan, went to Ferrari at Maranello and placed his order. All on the same day.

Sinn, on business in Hong Kong last week and unavailable for an interview, told Duff previously that he sat in the car, walked around it "a million times" and decided, he had to have one. At age 33, he paid $18,000 for the car, and took possession in July, 1971.

He set out from the factory with European plates and unimagined cachet. Poolside that first night, he found strangers didn't want to be strangers, they wanted to talk about the Daytona. He took them for rides, they took him to dinner and discos ... and so it went, until a month later, he drove to Marseilles, France, for the QE2 ride home, the Daytona below decks.

In Toronto, he continued enjoying driving – a lot, the drives into upstate New York for races at Watkins Glen, N.Y, one fine memory – until his father's death in 1989.

The car went up on blocks as Sinn travelled to Hong Kong to settle the estate. He wouldn't return for six years, after taking over his father's shipping business with his two brothers – and when he returned he became immersed in real estate. So the Ferrari slept under its cover. Until last month.

Now the odometer reads 93,560 kilometres and counting, though not by much – a brief trial drive in RM's parking lot. The V-12 fired quickly after the fuel tank was flushed and fresh aviation fuel added.

In one sense the Ferrari shared its silhouette with many long-nosed, fast-backed performance cars of the day, the Chevrolet Camaro, Datsun 240Z, Ford Mustang. But then, all horses have four legs, a tail, a mane. The tautness of its lines and the expression of the front-mounted V-12 engine, as sculpted by Leonardo Fioravanti, the Pininfarina designer credited with the Daytona, rendered it instantly recognizable and permanently classic.

"We'll install a new exhaust system," Gord Duff says. "Do the brakes. Otherwise, it will be up to the next owner to go over the car to make it turn-key and reliable. We think the best thing is drive it across the block at Amelia as it is: paint cracked a little in places but original, a few dents, but never so much as a lens changed, dead real."

The second owner, should a bidder top the undisclosed reserve, will take the keys March 15, the same day, fittingly enough, the 2015 Geneva Motor Show closes, 44 years after Sinn attended that show and fell under the Daytona's spell.

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