1976/1983 Ferrari 308 GTB Group B Michelotto

Introduced at the Paris Salon in 1975, the stunningly beautiful 308 GTB—Ferrari’s second V8 road car—marked a welcome return to Pininfarina styling following the Bertone-designed Dino 308 GT4. Badged as a proper Ferrari rather than a Dino, the newcomer had changed little mechanically, apart from a reduction in wheelbase. The car retained its predecessor’s underpinnings and transversely mounted 3.0-liter V8 engine that now featured dry-sump lubrication. Produced initially with fiberglass bodywork—the first time this material had been used for a production Ferrari—the Scaglietti-built 308 used steel exclusively after April 1977. The first steel-bodied cars were manufactured in 1976, the change bringing with it a considerable weight penalty and consequent reduction in performance. Naturally, anyone wanting to race a 308 GTB started out with the fiberglass version if they could.

For 1983, the FIA introduced its new Group B regulations for major-league rallying. This innovation saw the specialist Italian conversion and preparation company of Michelotto develop a Group B-conforming variant of Ferrari’s very popular and highly successful 308 Gran Turismo Berlinetta.

Since production of a full batch of 25 highly modified GTB Evoluzione cars was effectively out of the question, the specification of these Michelotto Group B machines incorporated as few changes as possible from the standard road car, while still providing clients with rally-winning potential. Michelotto’s most significant development from its previous Group 4-converted cars was the selection of the Quattrovalvole engine. Even so, the first Michelotto 308 GTB emerged with the conventional and reliable two-valve head rather than the latest ‘QV’ power unit employed in the following three cars. Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto chassis serial 18869, offered here, was the first of four Group B configuration cars built by Michelotto from a total of 15 combined Group B and Group 4 cars that the company modified in period. It was first completed in February 1983 for the Pro Motor Sport team in Italy.

These remarkably successful—although relatively little-publicized—competition Ferraris featured Rose-jointed suspension and uprated Brembo brakes all around. Three of Michelotto’s Group B 308s were fitted with QV 32-valve engines producing 310 horsepower at 8,000 rpm—after this prototype (chassis 18869) had deployed the 288-horsepower, two-valve motor. While the Group 4 variants used mechanical Kugelfischer fuel injection, the Group B rally variants employed electronic Bosch K-Jetronic systems. These Group B variants weighed in around 66 pounds heavier than their racing counterparts, as they had to retain their stock fiberglass and steel body paneling.

As the first—and one of the most successful—of this rare quartet of Michelotto-built Ferrari 308 GTBs, this is an interesting and significant example of the Ferrari Berlinetta Competizione breed in 1980s form. As a past participant in the Tour Auto and other prestigious events, the car represents a fast and stunning entry ticket.

Thor Thorson

Thor Thorson - SCM Contributing Editor - %%page%%

Thor grew up in northern Iowa. His father bought a red Jag XK 150 in the late 1950s, and that was all it took; he has been in love with sports cars , racing cars and the associated adrenaline rush ever since. He has vintage raced for more than 20 years, the bulk of them spent behind the wheel of a blue Elva 7. When he’s not racing, he is president of Vintage Racing Motors Inc., a collector-car dealer and vintage-racing support company based in Redmond, WA. His knowledge runs the full spectrum of vintage racing, and he has put that expertise to good use for SCM since 2003.

Posted in Race