1985 Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole
Rosso Corsa with Tan Interior
As a follow-up to the Bertone-designed 308 Dino GT4, the 2-seat 308 was a Pininfarina design, which, thanks to its shorter wheelbase, permitted more conventional proportions. In its time, the styling was dramatic, exotic, and beautiful, creating an iconic identity for Ferraris that laid the foundation for today’s exotics. Certainly it helped that the car had plenty of TV and movie screen time, and much like the 930 did for Porsche, shaped the mainstream public’s perception of what a Ferrari is. On the technical side, the car continued along the GT4’s path, including transversely mounted quad cam 3.0 liter V8 (technically 2.9 liters at 2926cc), initially carbureted, then fuel-injected (which resulted in lower emissions but a significant power drop from 240hp to 202hp in US cars), and finally with 4-valve heads starting in 1982. This change brought back the power lost from the earlier switch to fuel-injection. At the same time, 16-inch wheels were standardized and a host of other detail changes implemented, creating the ultimate version of the 308. Long considered the budget Ferrari, these cars are emerging as collectibles, particularly as excellent examples become fewer in number, and as the generation that lusted after these cars when they were youths is increasingly able to spend discretionary income on the car they always dreamed of owning.
This particular car is from the last year of production, and is a 3-owner California car from new. It has records back to new, as well as books and tools. First sold on 29 December 1984 at Hollywood Sport Cars, this car remained with its first owner, a Mr. Ginsberg of Beverly Hills for about four years. He sold the car to its second owner, a Mr. Kreuzer of San Diego, who kept the car until the spring of 1995, when he sold it to its current owner, who is a resident of the San Francisco Bay Area. There is a thick file of records, particularly from the car’s early life, when it was serviced extremely regularly at Hollywood Sport Cars. The first invoice is from January of 1985 when the car had 376 miles on the odometer, and the original service book is also included with the car and shows its original in-service date as well as a the first few service coupons.
In recent years, the car has been used sparingly (less than 800 miles since 2003), but has just seen a $10,000 plus major service with Patrick Ottis, which included valve adjustment and belt service. This was completed on 21 May 2016. The service also included new cam seals, rebuilt water pump, rebuilt driver’s side window, servicing the belt tensioners, new spark plugs, and new fluids. New Michelin tires were also fitted. During its time in the Bay Area, the car was also serviced by Brian Crall.
Cosmetically, the car is a very nice driver level example with a straight body with great gaps. The paint is glossy, of high quality, and in excellent overall shape, with a few chips from road use. The black trim and badges are in excellent shape, as are the wheels, aside from some crazing to the center caps. There is no curb rash and the silver paint is glossy. The glass and lights are in very nice condition as well.
The interior is very good to excellent. Aside from the seats, which were retrimmed to high standards using the correct upholstery and stitching patterns, the interior is original and in very nice shape considering this. The seats are a slightly different color than the remaining upholstery but are beautifully done and in great shape, with the lightest of mellowing. The door panels and center console are in good original condition, as are the carpets, aside from some wear near the driver’s left foot. The dashboard is excellent, as are the instruments, switches and controls. The original top is in place, as is the vinyl partition that covers it when stowed.
The engine compartment is very clean and correct in appearance, with generally crisp presentation and a nice level of detailing. The trunk area is clean with nice original carpet and clean partition, which has a functioning zipper (which often is broken on these cars). The front compartment is also crisp and correct in presentation with clean spare and nice plastics.
The car runs and drives well. It starts easily and runs properly when cold or hot. It pulls cleanly and authoritatively and sounds as it should. The clutch is progressive if a little high in its pick up point. The gearbox works well, with some of the typical slowness to the synchromesh when cold. The brakes are effective and the steering and chassis are tight and precise. The air conditioning blows but not cold. This has been traced to a compressor whose electromagnetic clutch does not engage. The remainder of the AC system is complete and in good condition, as verified during the recent Patrick Ottis service.
As the preferences of the new generation of collectors emerge, the 308 is proving to be a popular model because it is very relevant to these buyers. Values and interest in these cars continues to be strong even where other segments of the market show flagging interest. This particular car represents an excellent opportunity to acquire a very complete 308 QV from the last year of production that has great history and documentation. With just three California owners from new and a paper trail dating back to new, this car is a rare find. Its current owner has had it for more than 21 years and the car comes with original books pouch with books, including dealer directory, owner’s manual, and service booklet. The car also comes with its original tool roll with tools, jack bag with jack, light bulb holder, and car cover. Freshly serviced and a great driving example, this is a great car for the collector who values provenance and history but also enjoys driving their cars.