Sold for $904,334 (€700,000) at 2012 RM Auctions at Monaco. Coupe
Chassis #: 08020
At the Paris Motor Show in November 1973 Ferrari would unveil its first production model to feature Bertone body styling instead of the usual Pininfarina. The car was also not called a Ferrari, at least not straight-away. Boasting of a mid-engined V8 engine that would become the pattern for a majority of Ferrari models in the future, the Dino 308 GT4 would be controversial with its angular body. However, Ferrari would see a serious contender in the Dino 308 GT4, one capable of combating the much vaunted Porsche Carrera 2.7 RS.
When completed and production of the 308 GT4 began, there were no plans to make it for anything but the street. However, the layout and design of the car, including the 220+ bhp produced by the 3.0-liter V8, certainly made more than one person think about the car as a potential competition model.
One of those that believed in the car as a potential competitor on the track would be the United States Ferrari importer Luigi Chinetti. Chinetti, in turn, would look to Ferrari collector and FCA member, Bill Schanbacher, to commission a competitive version of the 308 GT4. The car was to be based upon an existing example and was to be built to Le Mans specifications. This would end up being a 'one-off' project and would make use of chassis 08020. And it would be this chassis that would be offered at the RM Auctions event held in Monaco in 2012.
Chassis 08020 would remain at the Maranello factory after it was completed. The Ferrari factory would then set about lightening the car. All unnecessary items would be removed to save weight. The steel body panels would give way to plastic and the windows, all except for the windscreen, would come to be replaced with Plexiglas.
The DOHC V-8 engine would then undergo modification. After some tuning and tweaking, the 3.0-liter engine would come to produce 300+ bhp. A good deal of this horsepower number would come from the tuning of the four Weber 40 DCNF carburetors installed and the competition-spec pistons and rods.
The modifications would keep coming. To the body, the major modifications would include a large front air dam and an extra larger rear spoiler. Handling being so very important, the car's bodywork would feature much more substantially flared wheel arches to accommodate larger wheels to improve the car's handling. The handling of the car was further enhanced with larger-capacity Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer brake master-cylinders added.
When it was all said and done, the car would be loaded and would head off to Le Mans to take part in the 1974 24 Hours of Le Mans. However, when the car arrived the N.A.R.T. would find there to be a little problem. The car was yet to receive FIA homologation. As a result, the car would be forced to run in the prototype class. Obviously, the car would be at a serious disadvantage. Still, with drivers Gagliardi and Lafosse, the car would qualify 38th. This was impressive considering the fact the car had literally just been finished just before the start of qualifying.
Unfortunately, during the race, failure with the clutch would severely limit the 308 GT4/LM's Le Mans experience. Due to the clutch failure, the race would be over after just 30 laps.
In 1975, the car would be back at Le Mans. However, despite Chinetti's best efforts to get the car appropriately listed in the GT categories, the car would again be forced to compete in the prototype class. And as a result of the placement in the prototype category it would be determined its qualifying speed was too slow to start the race.
Following the frustrating Le Mans experience, Chinetti would keep 08020 for a period of time before he eventually sold it to Howard Torman of the United States. Torman would maintain possession of the car until the late-1990s when he decided to sell the car to its next owner.
While in the possession of the current owner, the car would be returned to running condition. This would involve having the car rebuilt by a marquee specialist in order to maintain its period correct features.
Considered in perfect condition following the rebuild, the car would be sent back to Maranello to receive the highly-coveted Ferrari Classiche. Attested to and confirmed to be 'Ferrari Works' in origin, 08020 would receive its Classiche certification.
Following the classification with the Ferrari factory, the chassis would finally embark on the racing career it was always intended to experience. Taking part in such events as the 2004 Ferrari Days event held at Spa-Francorchamps and having entries in the 2004 and 2006 Le Mans Classic, the N.A.R.T. 308 GT4 finally began to enjoy the kind of competitive racing it had been originally commissioned.
Presented today in its period Le Mans racing livery, this 'one-off' is certainly an interesting piece of Ferrari and N.A.R.T. motor racing history. Never allowed to take part as it should have, this 308 GT4 remains a car of particular note. And, as such, the car would be estimated to garner between €725,000 and €825,000 prior to auction.Sources:
'Lot No. 323: 1974 Ferrari 308 GT4/LM', (http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=mc12&CarID=r336). RM Auctions. http://www.rmauctions.com/FeatureCars.cfm?SaleCode=mc12&CarID=r336. Retrieved 4 January 2013.
Wikipedia contributors, 'Ferrari GT4', Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 3 November 2012, 16:10 UTC, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Ferrari_GT4&oldid=521218691 accessed 4 January 2013 By Jeremy McMullen