When it comes to Ferrari, how do you pick just one model to focus on in a series like Classics in the Spotlight?
By process of elimination, we figured. We’ve already looked at legends like the F40 and 250 in some detail in recent times, so they’re out.
So, as we continue to shine the spotlight on some of the most iconic classic cars of all time, tracing their history and exploring what makes them so legendary, we’ve decided to examine just why the 308 GTB/GTS is a sought-after classic.
If you are in the market for one yourself, check out our cars for sale.
The start of something special
The Ferrari 308 GTB hard top and 308 GTS semi-soft-top cars came along in 1975 to replace the Dino 246. The Dino was lauded as a great sports car by many, except the great man himself, Enzo Ferrari, who had so little love for it that it was sold under the Dino name only. He refused to call it a Ferrari.
No such problems for the 308, which embraced mid-1970s styling in a pretty full-on fashion and was far removed from the sweeping lines of its predecessor. Some might say that it was nowhere near as pretty, but it was very much of its time.
Despite this, mechanically it shared much with the Dino and came equipped with a 2.9-litre V8 engine, good for 62mph in 6.5 seconds and 159mph top speed. Ferrari also produced the 208 from 1980, which had a smaller 2.0-litre engine, but was near-identical inside and out to the 308.
The 208 was the first ever turbo road car from the Maranello factory.
The pre-cursor to a supercar
The 308 spawned what is considered by many to be Ferrari’s first supercar – the 288 GTO. The GTO was built to compete in Group B rallying, which required at least 200 road-going examples to be manufactured as well.
But Group B was scrapped, due to its dangerous nature, before the GTO ever raced, and so the 272 cars that were built ended up on the roads. The 288 started out as a modified 308, but, by the time it finished, little was left of the car that inspired it.
The 288 had bigger wings, bigger spoilers and four driving lights, for example, as well as wider body panels.
A famous Ferrari
Even for those not much fussed about cars, the 308 is easily recognisable. Its biggest claim to fame is probably as Tom Selleck’s car in Magnum, P.I, the TV detective show that ran through the 1980s.
There were eight series of the programme and a new 308 was used for each one – with most of them being auctioned off after filming. The show pretty much cemented the 308 as one of the most recognisable Ferraris – or cars, for that matter – of all time and made it a cool motor forever.
And today it is still well-loved by Ferrari fans, often featuring on top 10 lists.
The 308 was sold for 10 years, between 1975 and 1985, and was succeeded by the not-dissimilar 328 GTB and GTS. Mechanically the replacement car was the same, with only small modifications to the bodywork and the engine, with capacity increasing to 3.2 litres.
With 7,400 328s built, the total for the 308 and 328 generations was close to 20,000 cars – a fair amount in Ferrari terms. And today the 308 is a good one for collectors, being, as it is, relatively affordable to buy.
With decent cars on the market for between £60,000 and £100,000, it represents a good investment for the future, too.