Which Ferrari 308 GTS should I buy?

Is a Ferrari 308 gts quattrovalvole the car for me?

Is a Ferrari 308 gts quattrovalvole the car for me?

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.


  1. Carb. cars – 1977-1980
  1. 2 valve fuel injected cars 1980 -1982
  1. 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.