When the 308 GTB Quattrovalvole was introduced in 1982, the world was abuzz with the success of NASA’s new Space Shuttle programme and the charm of an actor turned president. It was a time of technological leaps and misty-eyed optimism, and that applied to the automotive world, too. See the specification of today’s Spotted. Isn’t it lovely?
The Ferrari 308 GTB Quattrovalvole had, of course, arrived as a technological answer to tightening emission standards in the US. With restrictions sapping power from the GTB’s mid-mounted 2.9-litre V8, engineers gave the variant four valves per cylinder for 1982, delivering a car to the Paris motor show that produced 240hp at 7,000rpm. It was good for 60mph in 6.7 seconds and a 165mph top speed. And it still looked the business.
The fundamentals were also unchanged. The GTB remained the purer car, but the targa top GTS was a yuppie favourite and despite losing its roof, claimed on-paper performance was the same. The berlinetta used a tube frame chassis onto which Ferrari attached the transverse engine and body, with a design that borrowed from the earlier Dino, as well as the Daytona and fabulous flat-twelve Berlinetta Boxer. The finished Pininfarina look, with its pop-up headlights and extended side intakes, was perfect for the Miami Vice era. And it was fast and it handled brilliantly.
This being Ferrari, the 308’s talents were tested in competition, with Group 4 rally cars succeeded by a Group B version, developed by specialist Ferrari dealer Michelotto, and homologated for use on the global stage in 1982. The car won several rallies of its class, and could have been succeeded by a steroidal Group B version called the 308 GT/M, if it weren’t for the banning of the class in 1987. It wasn’t far from finished, using a 3.0-litre V8 mounted longitudinally in a rear-mid placement for better balance. It lapped Fiorano quicker than an F40.
While it never saw competition, claims like that meant that even when the 308 was succeeded by the evolutionary 328 in 1985, it remained a true poster boy. We’d argue that few examples of the 308 fit the bill better than today’s Spotted, a GTS finished in Argento silver paintwork with a red leather interior that proudly sports a metal-gated manual. Those gleaming five-spoke alloys, that removable targa top and prominent quad tailpipes make for the sort of 308 you’d see on a bedroom wall. Or rolling down Fleet Street.
In subsequent years, the 308 became relatively attainable when values dipped to as low as £25,000 in 2010. Needless to say, prices have been heading northwards since then, with starting prices for good cars now more than double that. For the best stuff, like our 1984 car here, its three times that – and the rest. Which means we can say with confidence the chance to bag a bargain has long since passed. The 308 is now a car to aspire to, just as it was in the era it heralds from.
FERRARI 308 GTS QV | SPECIFICATION
Engine: 2,927cc, V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
Power (hp): 240@7,000rpm (standard)
Torque (lb ft): 192@5,000rpm (standard)
First registered: 1984
Recorded mileage: 46,000
Price new: N/A
Yours for: £79,995
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