One of the most recognizable cars in the world, the Ferrari 308 is probably best known for its role as co-star in the hit TV series 'Magnum P.I.'. The 308 was produced for quite some years, spanning ten years from its introduction in 1975 until the final year of production, 1985. The 308 was replaced by the very similar looking 328 in 1986
Ferrari introduced a less inexpensive line of cars called 'Dino' named after Enzo Ferrari's son Dino who died at a young age from muscular dystrophy. Often dubbed the 'baby' Ferrari; this less-expensive model was aimed at less affluent buyers. The Dino was still made by Ferrari with the construction of the Ferrari-designed engine being farmed out to Fiat. To reduce production costs, Fiat shared the use of the engine in their Fiat Dino, a front engined vehicle that didn't look anything like the Ferrari Dino.
In 1974 Dino introduced the Dino 308 GT4, or Gran Tourismo 4-cam, with a 3 liter V8 mid-engine. Unfortunately the small V6 of the earlier Dino wasn't powerful enough for this heaver, 4-passenger car.
So this prompted Ferrari to develop an all-new engine for the GT4. This engine no longer said Dino on it, and this time, the whole engine and car were entirely made by Ferrari, and said Ferrari. A truly groundbreaking model, the 308 GT4 2+2 was an exciting achievement for Ferrari. It was the first production Ferrari that featured the mid-engined V8 layout that would lead the way for the history of the company for succeeding decades. This was also the first production Ferrari that featured Bertone bodywork instead of Pininfarina. This caused some dissatisfaction by Pininfarina who lost out by cross-town rival for the design.
Introduced in 1973, the Ferrari 308 GT4 was a mid-engined V8-powered 2+2 car built by Ferrari. The 308 GT4 was produced until 1980 when it was replaced by the Mondial 8. A total of 2,826 vehicles were produced during its production run. The 308 GT4 was sold with 'Dino' badging until May of 1976 when all badging was replaced with 'Ferrari' badging.
In November of 1973 the Dino 308 GT4 was debuted at the Paris Motor Show. This car featured angular lines that were totally different from its curvy sibling, the Dino 246. The styling was incredibly unique and controversial for its time, and some journalists even compared it to the Bertone-designed Lamborghini Urraco and the Lancia Stratos. In May of 1976 the 308 GT4 received the 'Prancing Horse' badge, replacing the Dino badges on the steering wheel, hood and wheels.
This was the first V8 that Ferrari had ever been put into a road car, and it was a peppy little engine. The Ferrari 308 GT4 handled ‘like a dream car', and was less expensive than ‘true' Ferraris, and was popular as a car for racers who wanted to race a 'budget' Ferrari. It was still not a cheap car, but the biggest problem with this car was the 'wedgy' design by Bertone. Bertone is known best as the company that designed many of Lamborghini's cars, but this wedge shape didn't sell well for Ferrari fans.
The chassis of the 308 GT4 was based on the Dino 246 but it was lengthened for a 100.4 inches wheelbase to make more room for a second row of seats. The Ferrari 308 GT4 measured a total length of 170.1 inches and featured a wheelbase of 100.4 inches. Its overall weight was 2,535 lbs, had a height of 46.5 inches and a width of 70.9 inches. The V8 was mounted transversely and the suspension was fully independent. Producing 230 hp in the American version, and 250 hp in the European version, the 2.0 L V8 engine was integrally joined with the gearbox and had an alloy block and heads with a dual overhead camshaft. The induction system utilized 4 Weber 40 DCNF carbs.
Unfortunately the Ferrari 308 GT4 was a dramatic sales failure for the company. Many fans didn't like that ‘Ferrari' wasn't written on the back of the car, and it was a little too strange looking. Slowly becoming true collector items, the Ferrari 308 GT4 featured a very edgy design that over the years has aged well. Halfway through 1975, dealers were told by Ferrari to add Ferrari badges to the GT4 inventory to boost sales.By Jessica Donaldson
The Pininfarina designed Ferrari 308 was debut in 1975 and was immediately a success. The vehicles performance, handling, and styling were phenomenal.
For the initial 18 months of the 308 GTB's production, fiberglass was predominately used for the bodies, but later switched to all-metal. The fiberglass bodies were around 125 kg lighter.
The 308 was capable of producing 255 bhp from its 3 liter, V8, carburetor engine. In 1980, a Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system was installed due to new emission regulations. This caused the horsepower to drop to around 215 hp, thus making the 308 GTBi the slowest of the 308 series.
In 1981, Ferrari introduced 4 valve heads for the 3 liter V8's. This 308's now became known as 308 GTB/GTS Quattrovalvole. The engine now produced 240 BHP, and with the extra weight that was imposed due to using all-metal rather than fiberglass, the performance and handling was back to where it was when it began production.
In 1985, Ferrari introduced the 328 GTB/GTS. A vehicle that came equipped with a 3185 cc engine that produced 270 BHP.By Daniel Vaughan | Aug 2009