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Car Tales: Ferrari 308, A Classic From The Start

‘One of the truly great collectors’ cars, a classic from the moment it was launched, the Ferrari 308 GTB was the replacement for the then already archetypal Dino 246 GT, which itself was an evolution of the Dino 206 GT, with a larger V6 engine and a wheelbase lengthened by 60 mm.
1979 Ferrari 308GTB for sale
‘Essentially the 308 GTB’s shape was a modernization of that of the Dino, with sufficient original elements to recall its predecessor. Key design elements of the Dino 246 GT carried through into the 308 GTB’s body details: the scalloped door intakes, for example, the twin circular rear light assemblies, and the vertical concave rear screen.

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‘The 308 GTB made its inaugural appearance at the 1975 Paris motor show, followed by the similar event in London. It was built to a Pininfarina design – Pininfarina had already penned such eternal Ferrari classics as the Daytona, Dino and Berlinetta Boxer – styled by Leonardo Fioravanti, with a pronounced wedge profile. The shapely car retained the 308 GT4′s transversely mid-mounted 3-liter V8 engine, albeit with dry sump lubrication for cars sold in Europe: for the U.S., Japanese and Australian markets – in line with local emission laws – 308 GTBs employed the wet sump lubrication system used on the 308 GT4.
1979 Ferrari 308GTB side view
‘From the moment that the 308 GTB’s V8 burst into life, following that high-pitched wheeze from the starter motor so characteristic of Ferraris, you knew you were at the (leather) wheel of one of the quintessential motor-cars, a small, light, extremely fast and profoundly personal two-seater.
‘We have one here at the moment at Beverly Hills Car Club, a desirable color combination 1979 Ferrari 308 GTB with 60,153 miles on the odometer, available in Fly Yellow with a sand beige interior. The vehicle comes equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, air conditioning, power windows, 4-wheel disc brakes, tool kit, and jack. Also included with this vehicle are service documents and receipts dating from 2006 to 2019 totaling over $47,000. An excellent original blue plate California car that is mechanically sound.
‘The lovely steering is straightaway noticeable. You feel you are absolutely in touch with the wheels and the road surface beneath it. The slightest jar in the road and you are immediately on top of it with the deftest of flicks of your fingers to the steering-wheel.
1979 Ferrari 308GTB interior
‘From the 3.0-liter V8 there is an instant response with superb flexibility. In high-speed performance the 308 GTB edged firmly away from the GT4. It covered the standing quarter mile in 14.1secs instead of 14.4; and emerged from the standing kilometer at 136.7mph after a 25.4sec run instead of 131 mph and 26.2secs. The top speed of the 308 GTB was a stunning 156 mph. At that tremendously high speed the 308 GTB still feels impeccably stable; even with unexpected cross-winds the person behind the steering-wheel is in complete control. The 308 GTB has magnificent balance.
1979 Ferrari 308GTB engine
‘The Ferrari 308 GTB is a wonderful driving machine. There is something very matter-of-fact about its instant response and supreme resilience. It is a car that does exactly what it says on the tin. Although in this case, we shouldn’t be mentioning tin at all: the first 308 GTBs had fiberglass bodies – a complete and never repeated innovation for Ferrari – over a tubular steel chassis.
‘By 1977, however, after producing 808 fiberglass vehicle, they switched to steel bodies for the 308 GTB. In total 2897 Ferrari 308 GTBs were made.
Driving a 1979 Ferrari 308GTB
‘Michelotto Automobili of Padova in north-eastern Italy developed the 308 GTB into a successful rally car. Although Michelotto was organizationally independent from Ferrari, the cars were developed in close collaboration with Ferrari factory engineers. The Michelotto workshop built rally versions of the 308 GTB to compete in Group 4 and Group B classes of the World Rally Championship.
‘And there was also success on the international stage through the Pozzi Ferrari France team and their most successful driver Jean-Claude Andruet. There were back to back wins in the Tour de France Auto in 1981 and 1982, along with other victories including the 1981 Targa Florio.
‘The Ferrari 308 GTB was cemented into popular culture when it became the principal drive in the extremely successful TV series Magnum PI, which ran from 1980 to 1988, Tom Selleck playing private investigator Thomas Magnum, based on the island of Oahu. Magnum PI was the number 3 US TV show during the 1982-3 season.
When Maranello stopped production of the 308 GTB in 1988, it had become the most popular Ferrari ever made.
-Alex Manos, Owner
Alex Manos Ferrari 308 buyer

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