Story Behind the Daytona Disaster

Story Behind the Daytona Disaster

Last week I showed some pictures of a Daytona crankshaft with some serious problems. I met the owner of this sick Daytona, Thom Harrow, and he was bold enough to share his story. Please excuse the expletives, but you can imagine this is a very emotional time for Thom!

“…We drive off for a late night snack. I happen to glance at the oil pressure
gauge, and notice its dead. Now you know these cars well enough to know
that, in a pouring rain, with a car that sat outside for 5 hours, was soaked
inside because, of course, it leaks like a sieve in the rain, its gotta be
the gauge. I mean, man you just know its gotta be the gauge. And can I
really ask a woman I am falling in love with to get out of the car in the
pouring fucking rain, with high heels and a mink jacket, in the middle of
fucking nowhere at midnight. No way, its gotta be the gauge, I can’t ask
her to get out of the car “in case” its not. I’ll watch the oil and water
temp gauges, the engine couldn’t possible seize without the water getting
hot, right?

Five minutes later, right on schedule, the engine dies, and I still believe
its from electrical problems, maybe the ignition dies, I check the fuses,
they work, but who knows. It won’t crank, but maybe its the battery, I’ve
been nursing a weak alternator the whole time I have had the car.

Next morning (never mind the saga of getting home) I check the car and it
hits me, oh shit, it seized, that’s why it won’t crank, can’t possible be
true, fuck what am I gonna do if it is? So I check the oil…………there
isn’t any. Can’t be, I add a quart…….two quarts, three, four, six,
eight, finally it begins to register on the dipstick.

You know the rest. And by the way, the oil pressure gauges on these cars tap
oil directly from the sump and measure the pressure at the gauge, without
electricity. I knew that, I had one fixed on my second 330, why the fuck
didn’t I remember it then?

As I said, a tale of love.


If I get a chance, I’ll try to keep everyone updated on this rebuild. The crank is pretty much trashed. It has bent from the extreme heat it endured.. The cost to straighten out the throws and true the crank is prohibitively expensive. After it’s straightened, the main journals will have to be ground down, and there’s no guarantee that there will be enough “meat” for the available undersize bearings. François is in the process of looking for a new or used crankshaft in good condition.

Lucky for Thom, the block has been saved. The main bearing saddles were badly warped, but François has already align bored the crank saddles back into spec. This process can be done on a special milling machine in a machine shop, but François has the special Ferrari hand tools to do this in his shop. Very few people in the world have the correct tools to do this process, and finding the right machinist to follow the right specifications is perhaps just as hard!

The rods have been damaged as well in this catastrophe, and may have to be replaced as well. They will be individually checked for hardness, to see if they can be saved.

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