In the book Ferrari 308 Series Buyer’s Guide & Owner’s Guide, a good question is asked about “how will you use your 308?” Before you decide on a car, it would be good to ask yourself questions like, Do you want to “show your car”? If so, then originality, and appearance is going to be a high priority for your search. Thinking about racing your 308? If so appearance will not matter as much as perhaps a performance modified car. Do you like to “wrench” on your own cars? Then a fixer-upper may be more fun for you. Just make sure that you research what kind of parts and tools will be needed before you purchase that “In need of help” 308.
In researching info. on the history of the Ferrari 308 GTS, I purchased a great little book.
If you are familiar with the goings on of the “on-line” Ferrari world, no doubt you have heard of the social blog “ferrarilist.com”. well, the originator of the site, Stephan Cook, wrote a comprehensive book in 2007 about the Ferrari 308 gts/gtb called Ferrari 308 Series Buyer’s Guide & Owner’s Guide
. If you are interested in the history, purchasing, and maintaining, even modifying your 308 for better performance!, then this is a must have reference for your library.
Whats in the book?
the book Ferrari 308 Series Buyer’s Guide & Owner’s Guide
is split into 3 sections
1. Pre-Purchase. Before even deciding to “pull the trigger” on a 308, Steve goes into the Pros- N -Cons of ownership( having a 84 308 Euro QV himself). Next some history about the marque, its racing heritage, and mid-engined Ferraris. Next an in-depth coverage of all the 308 models from the 308 GT4 to the QV, even listing Pros-n-Cons of each as well.
2. Purchasing. Next is covered “finding your car.” Where is the best place to look? What makes a solid car? Who is a good “previous owner”? How to protect yourself from costly mistakes, and How to go about purchasing the car you have found.
3. Ownership. Once you have your 308, how do you undertake simple maintenance, or modifications? The lists of parts and web resources are extensive, even if you are interested in racing your Ferrari.
Great informative read! a must have if you will buy a Ferrari 308 GTS. I put a few links in the text to get your copy on Amazon Ferrari 308 Series Buyer’s Guide & Owner’s Guide
The first thing you must realize, or understand, is that owning a 26 year old(at the youngest) Ferrari 308 is not like owning a 26 year old toyota. The “social cache” of being able to say “I drive a Ferrari” means that you at least have the money to be able to properly care for and maintain a hand made Italian exotic car. In other words, it won’t be a matter of finding a good car, keeping the oil changed and driving it without care for as long as you own the car. Owning a “Ferrari 308 GTS”, however, will be one of the least expensive ways to get into “Ferrari ownership”.
It is for this reason, that because you can get into a Ferrari 308 for between $20,000 $50,000 US, that some guys who buy the cars can just barely afford the car, and not have done their homework on what would be required to “maintain” the car, and once the “new toy” feeling wears off, paying to properly service the car is then neglected. After awhile, that neglected car starts to have problems that are even more expensive to fix. So either that owner has to pony up big bucks to repair the car, or stop driving it.
Is this saying that Ferraris break more that other cars their age? No, Ferraris are some of the toughest cars engineered. Once, at a Ferrari owners club meeting at Dan Gurneys All American Racers headquarters, I had the opportunity to ask Dan, a former Ferrari F1 driver how he liked driving the Ferrari F1 cars? and he said “that of all the race cars he had the opportunity to drive, the Ferrari’s were the toughest machines. I would often have other cars rattle to pieces underneath me during a race, but the Ferraris were always so solid.”
The key then to a happy Ferrari 308 GTS ownership experience is to find and buy a car that has a complete documented service history. Ferrari made more than 8000 308 GTS’s, so finding cars with complete service histories shouldn’t be that difficult. a brief list of service intervals and costs are as follows:
These estimated prices are for having an independent Ferrari shop do the work.
A service should be performed every 3000 miles or 12 months, which ever comes first.
A 3000 mile minor service will average $700-$1000.
A major service to be performed every 3rd year, at an average $2500-3000
A complete brake job will run between $4000-5000
A new clutch will run between $2000-2500
New O.E.M. tires will cost at least $400 each.
The other option you have is to do the work yourself. If you have the time, desire, and ability to wrench on your Ferrari, you can save a lot of money, as much as half. I will be posting complete instructions on self maintenance in the future, but until then, there are many online sources for working on your Ferrari.
The bottom line – Find, and buy the best car you can afford, with complete maintenance records, and a bill of good health from your independent Ferrari shops Pre-Purchase inspection. After buying your 308, be prepared to put aside at least $3000 a year for maintaining the value of your dream car.
So you have decided to purchase a Ferrari 308 GTS, and now wonder which type you should choose. Lets start with what is available. There are what we can call three categories of 308 GTS to choose from, each having their own pros and cons.
- Carb. cars – 1977-1980
- 2 valve fuel injected cars 1980 -1982
- 4 valve (QV) cars 1983-1985
Carb cars. - Pros – Closest to original design. Some feel that as the series progressed the cars lost some of its original design cleanness. Things such as larger air-dams, wheels, or spoilers detracting from the original concept of the car. Great noises from those 4 carbs gulping in air over your head. Lets face it, Ferrari puts a high priority on all the visceral feelings its cars give its driver, and their is no sweeter sound to be had then a carbureted high revving V8 right over your shoulder. The most powerful of the 3 types, with a rated 255bhp in Euro spec.(1977 only). Cons – Requires more maintenance to keep those carbs. in tune. Can be more difficult to start when cold. The 1978 and 1979 cars imported into the US had to meet stricter emission standards, so were fitted with catalytic converters, lower lift and duration cams, and leaner jetting to to lower emissions, thus lowering bhp to 205. Prices at the time of writing in the US range ( of course cars vary depending on condition and maintenance) from $25,000 – $35000 for a 1977, and $20,000-30,000 for a 1978-80.
2 valve fuel injected cars. – Pros.- Cheapest of the 308s as the drop in power (205bph) US and (210) Euro spec. made them the least sought after of the series. Better reliability than the carbureted cars, as there was no more a need to keep four carbs. in tune. Cold starting improved, and drivability issues such as fuel starvation in turns, or flat-spots at some throttle openings were resolved. The new electronic ignition made the need to adjust points history. Cons – No more “intake music” from carbs. Least desirable due to the drop in power. Original tires for the new 390 mm wheels are expensive to replace (< $400) US. Prices at the time of writing in the US range ( of course cars vary depending on condition and maintenance) from $20,000 – $30,000.
4 valve cars. – Pros. – Quattrovalvole cars or 4 valve per cylinder heads, brought power output back up to a respectable (230bph) US and (240bph) Euro, giving back the loss in “pep” stricter emission standards took away, and so are the most desirable of the GTS. 16” wheels were now available, allowing the fitment of cheaper, more modern looking and better rubber. 84-85 models were made with galvanized steel for better rustproofing. Cons. – As the most desirable, the most expensive to get into. Some people dont like the add on of the roof spoiler ahead of the “flying buttresses.” Prices at the time of writing in the US range ( of course cars vary depending on condition and maintenance) from $35,000 – $55,000.
Which one to choose? Euro vs. US spec. car.
So, you may be thinking to yourself, “I want a Euro-spec. car! They are better!” Yes, it is advantageous to have a “Euro” 308 because it will have more power, be lighter, and even look better and thus be more desirable then a US spec. car. It is for this reason that you will see many 308s listed for sale as a “Euro” spec. car that were only “kinda federalized” to meet US Standards. This being the case, a pre purchase inspection should be mandatory to confirm if such car is actually a “Euro 308” and if not, which parts were changed.
Below is a list of differences between a “Euro” and “U.S.” spec. Ferrari 308 GTS
- 240 hp for Euro and 235 hp for U.S.
- Different gear ratios for US to aid in emissions.
- Lighter, small front bumper that follows the hood line on Euro vs. 2.5 mph impact bumper that is extended.
- Lighter, small rear bumper on Euro vs. impact bumper with spacer on U.S.
- Exposed dual tip muffler on Euro vs. black muffler cover with catalytic converter on U.S.
- Vitaloni style outside mirrors on Euro vs. larger “flag” type mirrors on U.S.
- Small round front side marker light with no rear side lights vs. larger rectangular front and red rear side marker lights.
- “fasten seat belt” warning light U.S. spec.
- Driving lights in front grill in Euro spec for Flash passing. (a Euro thing)
- Space saver spare tire in Euro, full size spare in U.S.
- Rear engine cover top has only a left and right grill vents where U.S. has “U” shaped grill.
- Weight of Euro spec lower because of not having door beams and larger bumpers.
Check out the section on “Buying your 308″ for my suggestions on where to find a great car.
In my next post I will discuss what owning a Ferrari 308 GTS cost to keep.