1979 Ferrari 308 GTS 3.0 L, V8
Timeless styling - beauty at rest and in motion!
The catalytic converters were blocked from melt down. Now they are hollow.
The air pump was missing and the diverter valve was dysfunctional. Fortunately they are GM parts and were easily and inexpensively replaced.
Pay attention to fuel line leaks because I had one that resulted in a small, but exciting engine compartment fire. Fortunately, only the wiring harness that rests under the air cleaner in the Vee was destroyed. It was easily repaired.
The distributors were worn and caused erratic timing. This led to failed emissions tests and poor drivability. They were rebuilt for about $200.
A distributor rotor disintegrated and left me stranded 750 miles from home. The rotor was about $10.
Due to a worn ground strap, the plugs were fouling and the wires were emitting sparks. I re-routed the new wires away from each other and engine metal and replaced the strap.
The car has been painted; the interior replaced, and the engine is overhauled. Although it could be an every day driver, after 25 years it deserves respect and retirement to a fair weather driver.
The targa top leaked like a sieve until the rubber weather stripping was replaced.
The speedometer did not work due to a bad speedo generator. This is a common malfunction and it is responsible for many low mileage Ferraris.
The cam seals leak after a few years of little driving.
The best aspect of the car is its styling. It is timeless. It looks as good today as it did on the show floor in 1975.
It is a good touring car even though luggage space is minimal. Also, don't put chocolate or deodorant in the trunk - it will melt!
And speaking of melting, the cabin gets extremely hot while driving!!! This is due in part to the poor ventilation and A/C system, the intrusion of heat from the cooling system, and the greenhouse effect of the front window. In later 308's, a vent in the hood expelled cooling heat from the radiator. I understand it helps.
Finding 205/60-14 series tires is tough today. The Yokohama A321's fit nicely. However, for better handling, one should find 16-inch Ferrari wheels that enable lower profile tires.
Hard cornering starves the fuel bowls due to their orientation in the car. This leads to a stutter in acceleration around a corner.
Expect about 12-15 MPG in town and 18-20 MPG on the highway with premium unleaded gas.
A major service (belts, plugs, fluids, valves, timing, carb cleaning) should be performed every 10K miles or 5 years. This will run $1,500 to $2,500 dollars. Much of this labor can be performed by a competent hobbiest mechanic.
More so than any other exotic (excluding Porsches), the 308 is easily maintainable, parts are readily available and cheap, and it is the most recognizable car on the planet.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 9th January, 2002