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Daytona 15753 Wins Pasadena

Jim Hunter

Volume 49 Issue 10

May 25, 2024

Mike Regalia takes his Daytona to Pasadena. His long-term restoration pays off.

    “It’s got a brand new 18 year old restoration on it.”

    Mike Regalia laughs, describing S/N 15753, his 1972 365 GTB/4 Daytona, that just took BEST IN SHOW at Concorso Ferrari Pasadena.

    May 5 marked the return of the Ferrari Club of America - Southwest Region’s Signature Event to Old Town Pasadena. It’s been six long years since Ferrari took center stage along Colorado Blvd., and this year’s show was received with enthusiastic, open arms.

    Chief Class Judge for Concorso Ferrari Pasadena’s Class 2, Early Fiat – Era 330, 365 Maurice Khawam recalls Ferrari introduced the 365 GTB/4 at the 1968 Paris Auto Salon.

    “Ferrari introduced the 365 GTB/4 at the 1968 Paris Auto Salon. Unofficially named Daytona, the car was a departure in the design language of Ferrari. Gone were elliptical inlets and 7” round headlights. Enzo was adamant on keeping his  ‘horse pulling the cart’ formula while presenting significant mechanical and design upgrades.”

    Mike Regalia is no stranger to design language. Renown for his 27 years in service to JB Nethercutt, the Burbank-born California native dreamed of being a car designer.

    “All I did was build model cars. I rode my Schwinn Stingray to Tom Thumb Raceway in Pacoima to race my slot cars. I would sit at the table and draw cars. My whole life was about cars.

    “I grew up in the Valley, and while I was in high school one of my friends came to school in a 1967 Camaro with big flared fenders and I was like, ‘Oh my god, where did you get that?’

    “It turned out his friend worked at a custom car shop called Korky’s Kustom Studios in Van Nuys. Korky was George Barris’ shop foreman, building the Bat Cycle and other television and movie cars.

    “Korky had a guy who rented space and needed a helper. So I got this job at 15 to help take his cars apart. Korky saw that I showed up everyday, so he hired me.

    “Korky couldn’t get anything done during the day, and did his paint work at night. I was just doing menial stuff but would stay late. He’d let me stand there and watch.  He’d hand me the spray gun and say, go ahead, spray this panel. He taught me how to shape and weld metal, pretty much all of my original skills, essentially giving me a PhD education at 16.”

    One thing led to another, and after painting a 289 Cobra for none other than Bruce Meyer in the late 1970’s, Bruce told JB Nethercutt about Mike. Mike took the resulting offer and served The Nethercutt family and museum for 27 years, and during that time built quite a reputation as a car restorer.

    “I have always loved the Ferrari Daytona.  It is iconic, and way too much car for the money.

    “I came across this car in Bloomfield Hills, MI, in July 1999. The man had this car and another coupe that was cut into a Daytona Spyder and he wanted to keep the cut car. I had a friend of mine at the Nethercutt who was from Michigan and I asked if he knew somebody in the general area that could go look at the car for me.  He did.

    “When we made contact, the gentleman said, ‘I know this car, I see it all the time. It looks like a really great car - no rust - runs really good,’ so I bought it. The car arrived a week or so later, silver with black interior. It had a little over 19,000 miles on it. It had all the original books and everything. It was just in unbelievable condition.


    “Shortly after, I was talking to Marcel Massini and I told him I’d bought a Daytona. He asked me about the serial number and goes, ‘Oh, that’s the one-off car.’

    “What do you mean?

    “’That car is Celeste Metalizzato with a rosso interior.’

    “I go, ‘it’s got a black interior,’ and Marcel says that’s wrong.”

    Mike drove the Daytona up until 2004, and 23,800 miles, and decided to paint it.

    “So, when I pulled it apart to paint, I decided I’d double check. Sure enough, I found some places where there was red leather on the back of the door panels.”

    Maurice researched 15753’s history.

    “The Daytona we judged at Pasadena was one of five Daytonas painted in Celeste Metallizzato. It was the only one of the five shipped for sale to the US market and it was the only one of the five that had a red interior, so 15753 a very unique automobile.

    “The restoration was effectively impeccable. It looked better than when it left the factory. The owner did a monumental job. He put his heart and soul into the car and it showed.”


    After painting the car in 2004, Mike took license knowing he wasn’t going to part with the car.

    “I finally decided around 2012 to pull it apart, take the engine and suspension out, paint and re-plate everything, put in all new bushings, and redo all of the detail work. It still has the original exhaust system, the original hood pad. The trunk interior is original and even has the original trunk seal, which is unobtainable. It’s a very fine rib they don’t make it anymore.”  All that was left was final assembly.

    The dismantled car sat again.

    “I finally decided in early 2022 to not do anything for anybody until I got this car done. It’s stupid that it sat around this long. I never do this to a customer, nor to myself. None of my cars have ever sat around this long.”

    The long road was worth it.  Mike finished the car in July, just in time to win the Great Ferraris Class at The Quail.

    One must wonder if Mike’s completion of 15753 could have been timed any better.

    “The Daytona left an indelible mark on Ferrari lore,” Maurice adds. “So many years later, we now see the Dodici Cilindri that harks back to the Daytona, which tells me the Daytona is car of which Ferrari is very fond.”

    Upon the debut of the new 12-cylinder, Mike recounts, “I actually posted on Instagram 55 years later the Daytona’s still influencing Ferrari.”

    And drawing admirers today.



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