Location: London, United Kingdom
Joined: 09/28/2009
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What the Daytona is like to drive

September 29, 2009
When was the last time you thought about starting a car up? Modern cars are too easy, some not even requiring what can be considered a key, all you have to do is get in and go. The Daytona is somewhat different, this is the procedure; 1. Turn the key to position 2 2. Listen for the ticking of the fuel pumps and as it subsides pump the throttle. The number of times you need to pump the throttle varies with what mood the car is in (or more likely how long since you last drove it). 3. Turn the key again. and guess how much throttle the car wants today before it will fire up. 4. Guess wrong 5. Swear 6. Repeat steps 1 -3 again (without the pumping of the throttle) 7. Two things can happen at this point either the the engine will erupt into the most delicious noise made by a man made object or .... you flood it, in which case you swear again... a lot. So now the engine is running (hopefully on 12 cylinders), are you ready to go well yes and no. It's advisable to let the engine warm up for a couple of minutes before setting off. When you do set off (cue Daytona driving cliche number 1) the gearbox is stiff until the oil has warmed up and second is a no no for at least 5 -10 miles (longer if it's a cold day). You're probably expecting me to say now the clutch is set in concrete (Daytona driving cliche number 2), well I can't call it light but it's perfectly acceptable and you don't get out of the car with thigh muscles like a 100m sprinter. The throttle however is a different story, the pedal is connected to six twin choke Weber carburettors, and a lot of effort is required to keep the pedal nailed (so you can't say officer I wasn't aware how fast I was going). I thought it was just me but a discussion with the owner of a Lamborghini Countach QV (also with a multi Weber set up) at the Classic Le Mans last year revealed a similar effort was required. If this all sounds like I'm being down on the car far from it. This all adds up to make this the most charismatic car I have ever driven. When it's all warmed up and you can use use the full complement of five gears, the gearbox is precise if not exactly the quickest change in the world, getting each shift just right is a hugely satisfying experience. For me the driving position is just right, actually more comfortable than my daily Audi, I think it rides a bit better too (probably because of the 70 section tyres). The driving position looks out on the a beautiful dash, the veglia dials are clear and easy to read. The needle on the rev counter bounces up and down with the beat of the engine, and the speedo might occasionally indicate a speed close to what the car is actually doing (fortunately it's high rather than low for the license). Beyond the dash lies the gentle curves of the long bonnet. The steering on mine differs from standard, as it has been fitted with a power steering pump (from a Ferrari 400). It lightens up the steering at low speeds (cliche number 3 the low speed steering is very heavy otherwise). The downside is the steering is slightly vague at high speeds, although its' perfectly acceptable at UK maximum speed limits. Okay the Daytona is not going to match modern hot hatch when the going gets twisty but I bet I have a bigger smile on my face as the GTI disappears into the distance. On fast open sweepers the car is nice and neutral with probably a touch of understeer. I wouldn't even consider attempting to get the tail out, as I'm sure if it let go the car would spin into the next county. On the subject of UK roads the Daytona is not really at it's best on the crowded roads of the South east of England. Fast open lightly traffic'd roads are it's natural environment (not surprisingly the roads it was designed for usually between some European capital and Monaco). The car is perfectly happy to potter along at forty mph on the roads down to Goodwood (where I went with the car yesterday), and it will pull from low speeds even in top gear, but there is always the feeling the car would be much happier going a lot quicker (perhaps it's thinking about munching on 911s and Panteras down the Muslanne Straight as its racing versions did for much of the seventies). But when you do find that little bit of road that you can open the butterflies on the those Webers and push the long travel pedal that bit further down, you hook a gear just right. The noise from the 4.4 liter V12 gets harder and more musical, at that point there is no other car I would rather be inhttp://365daytonafan.blogspot.com/


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