The Legendary Ferrari Daytona From Miami Vice Wasn’t A Ferrari At All

Al Mardekian was a “gray-market” importer of exotic cars who initially sold two replica Ferraris to the production company, costing $49,000 each. One was labeled “Car 4,” while the other, “Car 1,” became the stunt vehicle after the pilot episode.

So, if these two cars weren’t true Ferraris … what were they?

According to Volo Auto Museum, “Car 1” was a 1976 Corvette chassis, and “Car 4” was from a 1981 Chevrolet Corvette C3. Customized fiberglass body panels built by Tom McBurnie from specialty car manufacturer McBurnie Coachcraft were attached to make them look like a Daytona Spyder. Ironically, a real Spyder appeared in the pilot episode where Sonny read a newspaper in the car. The entire scene only lasted 10 seconds, and the vehicle remained motionless the whole time. Volo Auto Museum reported it’s known to be authentic based on the car’s features.

The Spyder met its explosive end in Season 3 and never returned to the show, not because the producers wanted it to happen, but because Ferrari sued Universal Studios and Tom McBurnie for using a replica Spyder. Part of the settlement included eliminating the car through a plotline in the show. 

This conciliatory act must have mended fences for the Italian car company, because it ultimately gave Universal two brand-new 1986 Ferrari Testarossas to use in the show. According to Motortrend, the rumor is that Enzo Ferrari himself was the one who wanted the new cars be gifted to the studio.

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