In October 1973 a new car was announced in Italy, launched by a company which was also new. That car was the Dino 308 GT4, but in spite of not being badged as such, it was clear to everyone it was a Ferrari through and through. Enzo Ferrari still doggedly hung on to the tenet that all production Ferraris worthy of the name should have engines with no less than 12 cylinders. The three-liter Dino had “only” eight cylinders, in a 90-degree V layout, with four chain-driven camshafts and breathed through four Weber 40 DCNF carburetors to produce a claimed 255 bhp at 7,700 rpm. This compact, light-alloy power unit was disposed transversely and directly mated to a 5-speed transaxle.
Two years later, the 308 GTB was announced; a short-wheelbase Berlinetta sharing a similar mechanical layout to the GT4 but with only two seats and beautifully styled coachwork by Pininfarina, incorporating plenty of visual cues from the immortal 246. From the beginning, this car was always badged as a Ferrari and it was this car that was trumpeted as the 246’s successor. It was an instant classic. The earliest GTBs were easily the fastest and best handling of 308s and the later 328s, due largely to a lightweight fiberglass body, combined with a twin distributor ignition system, which allowed a few more horsepower than later cars, along with a dry-sump lubrication system. Not only were the fiberglass cars faster, but they are also much rarer and today they are highly sought after by collectors of the marque. A measure of the fiberglass car’s superiority over later versions is the success achieved by various examples in the Maranello Challenge race series, where they have easily defeated all opposition, from Boxers and Testarossas to F40s.
|1976 Ferrari 308 GTB Fiberglass
The one-owner car pictured here here is one of the rare and desirable fiberglass examples. Having spent all of its life in the warm and dry climate of Italy and covering just 19,000 kms, it is in superb original condition.
The car shown here was a no-sale at a reported high bid of $32,800 at Coys’ Silverstone auction in July.
When Ferrari unveiled the first V8- powered Dino, the 308 GT4, most enthusiasts didn’t notice the increase in performance as much as the loss in styling. Like the 246, the two-seat 308 GTB was a Pininfarina design and it brought back the design elegance that we were so enamored of in the smaller Dino.
The steel-bodied 308 GTB is now considered an attractive, entry-level exotic car but due to its high production numbers (2,089 carbureted cars), they are not collectible. The exception to this is the early “fiberglass GTB,” with only 712 built. Though the performance of any Euro-spec, dry-sump car is better than other versions, the weight savings afforded by the plastic bodywork did not really contribute much to the performance. Most estimates put the weight saving at 200-300 pounds. This can easily be offset by carrying a passenger whose lifetime membership at Weight Watchers has momentarily lapsed.
Still, collectability is where you find it and a 19,000-km, one-owner car such as this one would certainly be a good candidate for an enthusiast who had the hots for an original example.
Marketed properly or auctioned to the right crowd, this car should bring in the neighborhood of $40,000. In this case, the owner was wise in declining the high bid on what appears to be a very good example of a desirable 308. And just think – never any fender rust.