During the first two seasons and two episodes from the third season, Detective Sonny Crockett drove a black 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spyder 365 GTS/4 replica with a Florida license plate “ZAQ178.” Ferrari North America had turned down the request by Miami Vice for authentic Ferraris (they did the same with Magnum P.I., forcing that production to purchase 308 GTSs). Although Tom McBurnie is credited with planting the Daytona Spyder in the mind of the public, it was actually Al Mardekian, an importer of gray-market exoticars, who sold Miami Vice the two look-alike Ferraris for $49,000 each. In total two Corvette Daytona replicas were used for the show, car 4 and then car 1 after the pilot which acted as the stunt car. McBurnie was hired to build the bodies for the Corvette-chassised cars. It was blown to pieces on the show with a hand-held Stinger missile launcher during an illegal arms deal. The “Ferraris” used in the first two seasons were actually re-bodied Corvettes based on a 1976 Corvette (car 1) and a 1981 (car 4) Chevrolet Corvette C3 chassis that had been modified with fiberglass body panels by specialty car manufacturer McBurnie Coachcraft to resemble an early-1970s Ferrari Daytona Spider. The first appearance of the Daytona in the pilot episode is actually a real Ferrari owned by Dr. Roger Sherman of Coconut Grove, Florida. All moving scenes were done on the back of a flatbed truck under the supervision of TIDE Ferrari Racing crew member / model Kimberly Denson of Ft. Lauderdale, Fl. It can be clearly identified as a real Daytona (American version) by the door handles, side markers, windshield rake, sun visors, width variation and side vent windows.
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