Eyes wide open

And apparently, if you must own a Ferrari (and you don’t have unlimited discretionary income), the 308 or the 328 is the one to buy. Good to know (nevermind that the older Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 is prettier). We’re not in the market now – nor do we plan to enter it any time soon – but 10 years from now? 20? We don’t have a burning desire to own one today, but down the road? You never know 🙂

All these reports reinforced the opinion that the later galvanized-body 308s (after January 1984) and 4-valve engines (introduced in late 1982) were worth pursuing, and that the 328 was the best developed—if more quietly styled—of the family. Home mechanics and the impoverished were advised to avoid the 348s that followed the 308/328 series, as the now-longitudinal engine had to come out for service. I called Keith Martin himself, whom I’ve known for years, and he said, “Yes! Get either a 308 or a 328. I’ve had a couple and they’ve been excellent cars. In any case, you must have a Ferrari in this lifetime.”

On the advice of former Ferrari owner and Cycle World Editor Allan Girdler, I called a respected—and now retired—Ferrari mechanic named Harold White (who used to work with Dan Gurney), and he reiterated Tom and Keith’s advice. “I’d look for the nicest, lowest-mileage 328 you can find,” he told me. “They’re wonderful cars, and quite tough and reliable” (source).

Also worth a read:

How to buy a secondhand Ferrari 308 GTB

Long-Term Test: 1984 Ferrari 308 GTSi Quattrovalvole

(Above image: Sevan Calians)

~ by velofinds on August 17, 2011.

10 Responses to “Eyes wide open”

  1. Good timing. My dad just asked me to keep a look out for one of these 🙂 He had no idea how cheap they have gotten.

  2. i’d love to buy one and then set it on FIRE and drop it in the east river from a grand height…..that would make all my Ferrari dreams come true!

  3. I’ve been working on replacing the timing belts on my 328 this weekend. I actually just stopped for lunch.

    While lots of fasteners are in funny locations and require some effort, these cars are not too difficult for a weekend mechanic. My previous experience was largely wrenching on motorcycles and a 2004 VW. I find this Ferrari more like the former than the latter.

  4. Thanks for the great site!

    For some years I rented a garage from an elderly gentleman. Last fall I learned that he had passed and made contact with the person in charge of his estate. She told me about the Ferrari.

    A dealer had spooked her about starting the car by suggesting that the timing belts would snap the first time the key was turned. He made a lowball offer.

    A friend and I pumped up the tires and pushed the 328 out of the garage to inspect it in the daylight. It was covered in a thick layer of dust and showed other signs of neglect. We weren’t allowed to turn the key. But the interior was good and the engine bay was fairly tidy.

    I made the highest offer I could, knowing that I was in no sort of financial position to take a foolish risk on a car. I’m a young engineer; I had to pull most of the money from my meager retirement savings. But the car got under my skin and I couldn’t let it go without trying. I was incredibly nervous waiting for the estate’s response. I couldn’t sleep.

    As it turned out, my offer was accepted. The car was mine. I can’t even describe the feeling.

    The night that we transferred the title, I couldn’t stop myself from finding out whether it would run. I put a charger on the battery, put the car up on jack stands, and changed the engine oil. I spun the engine over a few times by hand. I turned the key at 1:30 am. I didn’t park her back in the garage until after 4. It was awesome.

    • Great story and nice pick Sean! The moment before turning the key, knowing that you either had a thousand dollar engine repair ahead of you or a night of blasting around must have been such a rush.

      Young engineer here too… I’ve had a couple interesting cars along the way but was very excited to get my first proper sports car this Spring – 2006 Lotus Elise. I didn’t have the wild card “will-it-start?” excitement factor, but that’s fine by me 🙂 My first time bringing it through the twisty roads I spent all of high-school driving was very fulfilling to say the least.

      • Thanks, Tom!

        Your Lotus is high on my list of must-drive cars. Great choice. Every now and again I see a BRG Elise sneaking through traffic here in Pittsburgh. It always blows me away how tiny it seems among all the regular cars on the road.

        Do you use it for daily driving tasks? Have you driven it in snow? A friend is considering one as a second car to share with his wife. It’s certainly a more practical automobile than the Ariel Atom he’s also been talking about.

        • Sean,

          I daily drive a 2002 WRX. I couldn’t imagine daily driving the Lotus! My biggest worry is body damage. Any love-tap will stick you with a $12-15K+ bill for replacing the full clams… and even worse, the paint will never be the same as the original in color match and durability. Then again, I daily drive Boston/Cambridge traffic.

          I’d highly recommend it for a second car. It sure is a blast to push hard, although I haven’t tested it’s limits as far as I should yet. I’m fixing that though. I have my first track day with it tomorrow at Lime Rock so I’ll let you know how it is!

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