Ferrari's family of highly successful V8-engined road cars began with the 308 GT4 of 1973. Badged until 1977 as a Dino, thereafter as a Ferrari, the 308 replaced the preceding Dino 246. The Maranello factory's first mid-engined 2+2, the 308 GT4 was the work of Bertone rather than the customary Pininfarina. By placing the front seats well forward, Bertone made room within the 100" wheelbase for two children or one sideways-seated adult in the rear, while the compact engine/transaxle package left space behind the engine bay for a 188-liter (6.6-cubic foot) luggage compartment. Although the newcomer's wedge-shaped styling was controversial, the performance of the quad-cam three-liter V8 certainly was not, the latter's 236 bhp proving sufficient to propel the 308 past 150 mph, with 60 mph coming up in under seven seconds. All-round independent suspension ensured that the handling, too, did not disappoint. Road & Track magazine was most impressed by the 308 GT4's blend of speed and civility when they tested an example in 1974. "Apart from the performance, which you take for granted in a Ferrari, and the aforementioned remarkable flexibility of the engine, perhaps the most outstanding feature of the Dino 308 is the excellent ride it provides. There is no low-speed harshness and at speed the road irregularities are beautifully smoothed out. The progress, compared to earlier Ferraris, is enormous."

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1974 Ferrari 308 GT4 Dino
Years Produced:1973-1980
Number Produced:2,800
Original List Price:$22,000
SCM Valuation:$15,000-$22,500
Tune Up Cost:$3,500
Distributor Caps:$140
Chassis Number Location:Door jamb
Engine Number Location:On the right-hand side of engine, right of rear head toward cam cover and valve cover on inside of block
Club Info:Ferrari Owners Club, 8642 Cleta St., Downey, CA 90241; Ferrari Club of America, 15872 Radwick, Silver Springs, MD 20906
Alternatives:308 GTB/S, Maserati Khamsin, Lamborghini Urraco

This 308 GT4 sold for $12,300 at Brooks Europe’s Gstaad Auction in December, 1999, significantly below both the Price Guide range and the auction company’s $25-35,000 estimate. This Dino should not necessarily be thought of as a bargain, though, because these pedestrian Ferraris cost as much to repair and maintain as their million-dollar brethren. They therefore can be scary to buy at auction, or at any venue where a full inspection is not possible. It is crucial that the auction company have some knowledge of the car, and be able to answer specific questions in a knowledgeable fashion. That is, after all, one of the ways that they earn their commissions.

The maintenance requirements and the cost of parts, in fact, is such that a poor GT4, even if given to you free, is not worth restoring, and a perfect GT4 with no needs (if such a car exists, which is doubtful) would be a fair deal even way above the top end of the Price Guide.

The Dino 308 GT4 is a mechanically robust car, with wonderful driving dynamics. The cab-forward layout gives a real “race car” feel, and the stiffness of the tube chassis combined with the wonderful sounds coming from the rear can be truly inspirational. When well tuned (and few are) they make great power, with the smooth V8 making terrific noises from idle to the 7,700-rpm redline and beyond. Power is especially good in early, non-catalyst-equipped cars or in Euro cars which have more radical cams and timing than the later (1977-80) US cars with catalytic converters. The ride quality is perhaps the most amazing aspect of the car, as it is truly comfortable with no impact harshness. The low height and mid-engine layout enabled the use of fairly soft springs and shock valving for the double-wishbone front and rear suspensions, without any sacrifice in handling. These cars are a joy to drive, if not to look at. The 308 GT4 is preferred by many enthusiasts over the later 308 GTB/S for their more stable handling due to the slightly longer wheelbase.

Problem areas and detriments include the useless back seat, heater and air conditioner, along with a tendency to rust, weak second-gear synchros, rust, weak water pumps, rust, poor fuse boxes and a lot of areas that rust. The biggest problem with these cars is that they have been cheap enough for long enough that all maintenance has probably been deferred. This means that a new owner may wind up sinking thousands into a car to make it right. Think $3,500 to do a valve adjustment and change timing belts, $700 for a new water pump, $600 for a pair of front rotors and $5,000 to re-do the gearbox. Not to mention rust repair, trim, electrics, more rust repair and the like, each of which is prohibitively expensive. This is why “bargain” GT4s should be avoided at any price, and a comprehensive inspection is a prerequisite to purchase.

Chassis 08760 may be a good car. If so, the buyer got a real bargain. At the price paid, some maintenance can even be done and the buyer could come out whole, as even $25,000 would not be too much to pay for a GT4 that needs absolutely nothing. The problem is that a GT4 with needs can quickly swallow $10-20,000 or even more in repairs and maintenance, making it less than a bargain at any price. Let’s hope the buyer of 08760 got lucky.-Alex Leventhal

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