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Ferrari 308/328

Lucky Numbers Published: 4th Jul 2014 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

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Excellent, better value alternative to iconic Dino and a much better drive into the bargain. Good specialist back up although comparative rarity means you can’t be too choosy over spec and colours WORDS BY ALAN ANDERSON IMAGES BY MAGICCARPICS.CO.UK

Don’t cry along with the rest of us if you can’t afford a Dino – your entry to real and really affordable Ferrari ownership starts with the 308 which drive as good as they look. That’s not just our view but also specialists who are fi nding buyers thinking along the same lines.

True, there are cheaper Ferraris, specifi cally the Mondial and 400 from the 1980s. But the 308 is what everyone expects – make that demand – a proper Ferrari to be. The car shot to fame as the ‘free’ transport for sport-shirted, shortswearing American detective Magnum but growing a mustache isn’t compulsory. You may need to employ detective work to track down a good example, however.


1975 The 308 was the spiritual successor to that icon, the 246 Dino. The looks were perfect, with the wind-cheating shape given striking muscularity by the two scalloped air ducts running down the doors and then into the 250bhp V8 engine behind which was used in the earlier Dino GT4 (another good value classic Ferrari right now). Not intended for the UK and rarely spotted was a 160bhp 2-litre model.

1977 The original cars were plastic fantastics but this was ditched in favour of a heavier (300lb) rust-prone steel in a sop to the American market who wanted metal for their money. As a result these earlier cars – 714 made but only 150 in RHD form – are collectors’ items with prices to match. The same year a targa topped GTS model was introduced.

1981 Tougher emissions regulations forces Ferrari to replace the sexy looking carb set up with an emasculating injection system. Power drops to an undistinguished 214bhp as a consequence.

1982 Pride and power were duly restored when Ferrari launched a new four-valve cylinder head, bringing the power up to a more respectable 240bhp, albeit still 10bhp down on the original 308s. These Quattrovalvole (or QV) cars still lacked that evocative carb-fed roar, but at least they performed more like a Ferrari should. Better rust protection is also employed.

1985 A decade into production and selling well, Ferrari simply upgraded it with the minimum effort. Chief change was the engine was bored out from 3-litres to 3.2 (hence the new name, the 328) for 270bhp together with the quicker steering taken from the 288GTO, no less. The styling was revised with colour-coded bumpers and flush lights, the most notable mods, while the interior was given the biggest makeover with better instrumentation.

1989 348 is introduced, looking broadly similar to 328 albeit with Testa Rossa overtures, but car is substantially changed under the skin where the engine (now 3.4-litres) is mounted north-south but with a transverse transmission. Two models are made, the Berlinetta coupé (tb) and the targa-roofed Spider(ts).

1990 Revised rear suspension quickly introduced to counter claims of poor high speed stability while the battery is also relocated for weight distribution.

1993 Special road racer Competizione made as special edition – only eight are RHD. 348 is renamed GTB and GTS

What To Look For

• They can truck on for over 100,000 miles so long as they are serviced on time and the cambelts changed – good thing too as a rebuild can cost £12,000. The usual checks suffice here; oil pressure should be 40-45psi when hot and under load.

• Don’t under-estimate the cost of getting the engine to run right and carb overhauls in particular where it can run to thousands. In contrast, apart from electronic sensor issues, the Bosch fuel injection set ups are pretty reliable and keeps in tune.

• As with supercar, these Ferraris need proper inspections by those who know their stuff – a simple tyre kicking exercise isn’t good enough! If you don’t know what you’re looking for, then enlist an expert as it will save thousands in the long run. Or better still, buy one from them. Failing this the owners club, based in Northants, will help you. Click on www. for assistance.

• Condition counts for everything and given their relative rarity, don’t be choosy on colour and even whether it’s a 308 or 328 – a service history is what counts. By the same token don’t get too hung up on the fi breglass cars. True, the are lighter and so that bit quicker but while the body can’t rust, the steel structure underneath sure does…

• Actually, Ferrari specialists say that if the plastic body is in poor shape, then it’s as costly and as involved as metal to make it good again.

• Have a decent annual maintenance budget of £500-£600 even if you do low miles and the same again for a cambelt change.

Three Of A Kind

Replacement for the Dino 308 GT4 2+2 using a larger chassis that was used right up to the 456. Roomier than the 308 with room for a pair of bambinos and with fi ne handling, but the 8 was criticised for meek (214bhp) performance – improved on later cars. There’s also a cabriolet range. A Ferrari that Car described as underrated and feels like a 348, they look great value. But the fl ipside is that there’s many horrid examples about to catch the unwary.
Any car that had to follow in the tyre tracks of the Dino 246GT was always in for a tough time but the GT4 had it harder than most. It was a different car to the 246, even though it used the same basic platform and the V8 that went into the 308/328.But now 40 years on the GT4 is being given due credit. As your fi rst Ferrari they make a lot of sense and some Ferrari experts even believe it is the better car than the original Dino...
This is the model that replaced the strangely lukewarm 348 and is regarded as perhaps the best modern Ferrari of them all. Using a 40 valve 3.5 V8 and a reworked chassis, it’s a different car to the 348 almost in every way and comes either as a manual or with a paddle shift semi auto, electronic suspension and all the computer trickery of a modern... which makes them one for dealers. Prices start at around only £35,000 mind.
Classic Motoring

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