Ferrari's are easily the crème de la crème of sports cars, but there’s something about the 1975 Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS that makes us think the Italian gods had favorites. Owning a Ferrari is no cakewalk. These beautiful machines require the kind of attention that can only be demanded by the most stunningly fragile, hand-assembled things. Ferrari's are the dream for most people, and the dream becomes unattainable for most because of the price tag that usually comes along with both the purchase and the maintenance of the car. Those who know cars well can tell you that there are options, especially with older cars that don’t quite lose their sense of value and appeal. The 1975 Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS is one particular example.
The 308 GTB was first introduced to the world in 1975 at the Paris and London Motor Shows. The car was intended to be the replacement for the Dino 246 GT , but it’s a crime to refer to the 308 GTB as a replacement for anything. It was featured in the motor shows as a companion to another vehicle, the Dino 308 GT4.
The Ferrari 308 GTB is a Berlinetta, a two-seater coupe sports car. It was manufactured from 1975 to 1985. The GTS, a targa topped or open Ferrari, was featured at the Frankfurt Motor Show a couple of years later in 1977. At the time of production, Ferrari made 12,000 of these vehicles in both body styles. It may not seem like much, but that was an incredible number for Ferrari at the time.
The Pininfarina design is a class all on its own. Celebrated Ferrari designer Leonardo Fioravanti did not hold back when it comes to the 308’s style. While the body details still carried a few key characteristics of the Dino, the 308 GTB was striking to say the least. An examination of the body reveals details that date this car back over 40 years ago. But such a classic, clean design is so universal; you could easily drive with this today and easily be the best thing on the road—and possibly one of the lightest. The bodywork of the first Ferrari 308 GTBs was considerably lightweight at only 2,315 lbs. That weight can be attributed to the glass-reinforced plastic, or GRP, that makes up majority of the car’s bodywork. This was almost an experimental project for Ferrari, as the manufacturer switched back to steel bodies during the 1977 mid-year production of the 308. That switch added an extra 315 lbs. to the total weight of the car.
Admiring the car from the distance, it’s hard not to be pleased with the tapered front nose and how elegantly low it sits, close to the ground. The front is unbelievably futuristic with its minimalist front spoiler design. Ferrari also gave an optional rear spoiler as an aerodynamic feature, and the car looks sleek with or without it. The fastback roof line is the perfect pair to the fenders. The GTS features a roof panel that you can remove and stow behind the seats for perfect sunny drive days. It’s just a well-proportioned vehicle that’s marked with ducts that draw your eyes. You can spend a good time staring at this masterpiece, but you might also want to take a long gaze at what’s under the hood. After all, a Ferrari is not a Ferrari without its powerful engine.
The 308 GTB/GTS is no exception. According to this article this Ferrari is powered by a 2.9 liter V8-engine. 4 twin-choke Weber carburetors feed this powerful engine. The rear drive vehicle uses a 5-speed manual transmission and cranks out an impressive 255HP. The US model puts out just a tad less HP at 240 due to various emission regulations. It’s still an impressive output regardless.
Over the years, the Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS evolved. The changes in the cars’ names reflect the major changes in the engine. The first changes came in 1980 when the Ferrari GTB/GTS became GTBi/GTSi. That was the year that fuel injection replaced the carburetor injection of the first production vehicles. This change also produced lower emissions. Apart from updates to the engine, Ferrari also included a couple of cosmetic changes. A new steering wheel replaced the old one. The patterns on the seats also changed with the 308 GTBi/GTSi. There were a total of 494 GTBi manufactured vehicles and 1743 GTSi Ferrari's ever made. During that time, Ferrari was facing against other manufacturer giants such as Maserati and Lamborghini. With the release of the Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS, the struggling manufacturing company put its name back on the game. The Ferrari’s power was just undeniable with its capability of going from 0 to 60 in just 7 seconds flat. The 308 could also reach top speeds of up 140 mph. That’s highly impressive, and the sales showed it. Ferrari’s 308's were a huge sell for the company, and it was clear that a culture of speedy drivers were beginning to appreciate speed and power on a road car.
Just two years later, Ferrari would create an update to the 308 GTBi/GTSi that would ultimately succeed the original. The car became known as the Ferrari 308 Quattrovalvole or QV. The QV came in the form of the original GTB/GTS. Ferrari changed the valve system from two to four. The fuel-injected engine sat behind the passenger compartment. The original QV bodywork was made out of fiberglass, with the luggage compartment lid made out of aluminum. A total of 712 Ferrari QV vehicles were manufactured, but production switched to steel eventually. The fiberglass vehicles were rare then and are even rarer today. The fiberglass body characteristic of this Ferrari means that it’s 250 lbs. lighter than its steel counterpart, and it also happens to be rust resistant. That’s a feature that most car collectors hope for.
Ferrari would eventually stop manufacturing the GTB/GTS line, but the madness has been established. Throughout the years, people would dream about owning this super car, and we can’t blame them. The Ferrari 308 GTB/GTS is worth the hassle.
Written by Benjamin Smith
Read more posts by Benjamin Smith