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1976 FERRARI 308GTB VETRORESINA

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1976 FERRARI 308GTB VETRORESINA

Background

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Launched in 1975, the Ferrari 308 was born in a post-oil crisis world still reeling from having to pay market prices for its petrol for the first time. This, along with the fact that it was replacing the legendary Ferrari Dino, meant that it was always going to have something of a tough time.

That it was extraordinarily pretty helped. Designed by the Pininfarina studio, the 308 has a tubular chassis over which the body panels are draped. Made of glass-reinforced plastic until 1977, it gained steel panels thereafter, a move that added 331lbs to the kerbweight, a move that was to the detriment of performance but kept the bar-room wags quiet.

The Ferrari 308 is mechanically similar to the Dino, but that’s okay because the specification includes a mid-mounted V8 petrol engine attached to a five-speed, dog-leg gearbox. Suspension is courtesy of an all-independent, double-wishbone set-up, a sophisticated arrangement that gives the tyres a fighting chance of keeping the 308 shiny side up, no matter how inept the driver.

All-round vented disc brakes do their bit to ensure the ensuing accident will be a low-speed bump rather than a high-speed catastrophe, while unassisted steering add another layer of authenticity by weeding out the feeble from the talented.

Available as the 308 GTB (Berlinetta, or fixed-head coupe) and the targa-topped 308 GTS, it could also be ordered as the 2+2 GT4, and the tax-dodging, largely Italy-only, two-litre 208GTB and GTS.

The Ferrari 308’s history divides neatly into three main iterations: the early cars, which had four twin-choke Weber carburettors and 252bhp; the first of the fuel-injected cars, which were fitted with Bosch’s famous K-Jetronic system and pumped out 211bhp along with far greater reliability than had previously been possible; and the final, quattrovalvolve or four-valve cars with fuel injection and 230bhp.

The 308 made several appearances on TV and the big screen, most notably in all eight seasons of Magnum, P.I., and well as Cannonball Run, and National Lampoon’s Vacation. It is, thanks to those TV and big screen appearances, one of the better known of the classic Ferraris, something that has helped bolster prices over the years, making it a decent long-term investment for the canny enthusiast.

The 308 died in 1985, replaced by the Ferrari 328.


The Vehicle

We are delighted to be able to offer a stunning Ferrari 308 GTB Vetroresina - and not just any old example either but a former Gold medal winner at the EFG International Concours in 2016, and a car that gained a class win at the Ormskirk Motorfest of the same year. (For non-Latin speakers, vetroresina is nothing more exotic than fibreglass in Italian)

First supplied to a Mr. Barry Austin of Stafford Pemberton Publishing in Knutsford in Cheshire by Dick Lovett Specialist cars on the 3rd of August 1976, it has spent most, if not all, of its life in the north-west of England.

With an extremely well documented history that includes the car’s original order and specification sheet plus the typed sales invoice, the history file also contains every single expired MOT certificate, a fully stamped service history book, and some old invoices.

The vendor describes it as being in “pristine condition”, a statement we wholeheartedly concur with. Offered with a very sensible reserve, this is a rare opportunity to get your hands on one of the most desirable and well-preserved Ferrari 308s in the UK today.

On the Outside

Now you might be a bit sniffy about the thought of owning a fibreglass-bodied Ferrari but when you consider that choosing one over the steel-bodied version cuts the kerbweight of your car by the equivalent of a couple of hefty blokes AND saves you the heartache of rusty body panels, buying an early Vetroresina starts to make a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

And this one is very, very nicely finished - and not just by the somewhat variable standards of the GRP cars; while some of them can display a somewhat haphazard finish, our head honcho, not a man to mince his words, said of it: “the paintwork is simply remarkable”, which is high praise indeed.

The Rosso Chiaro Red paintwork gleams – and while some say that red is a bit of a cliché, when you see a car like this you can see what makes people choose it. The panel fit is great too, as you’d expect of a concours-winning car, and the doors open and shut with an authoritative clunk. Someone has clearly spent an awful lot of money getting it to look this good. Please take a long look through the photos gallery - we can assure you the paint is that deep, smooth and virtually orange-peel-free in reality. A finish you can truly sink in to.

The stance is nigh-on perfect too, a result of great design and a full set of Faulkner racing springs. Full-height tyres help; few things look worse than modern, low-profile tyres on an older classic sportscar so we’re delighted to see the correct size still fitted. Such a move doesn’t only look better; those tall sidewalls will give a more compliant ride and more control at the limit – it really is a win/win position to adopt.

The alloy wheels were professionally refurbished in 2014, and are shod with matching period-correct Michelin tyres, all of which have good tread and look fairly recent.

As we will never tyre of explaining, our experience shows that matching high-quality tyres are an infallible sign of a caring and mechanically sympathetic owner who is prepared to spend the appropriate amount in maintaining their car properly. Their presence does not, of course, preclude the need for a thorough inspection - something the vendor would welcome, by the way – but do give you a shortcut into their attitude towards maintenance.

As for work to do, there simply isn’t anything for the new owner to do other than polish it occasionally and bask in the glory of owning such a beautiful example.

On the Inside

The black leather interior was lightly refurbished in 2013, and the work has left it looking fabulous. The black leather interior might have been a bit claustrophobic but for the fact that it is beautifully offset by discreet flashes of chrome from the switchgear, handbrake and recessed dashboard.

The famous Ferrari open-gate is present and correct too, and the silver gearlever and simple black gearknob add a straightforward, purposeful air that we find irresistible.

The black leather seats are firm and supportive and only very gently creased; again, simplicity is the key; when you own a car this good you really have no need to gild it with anything gaudy. Quality will out, as they say.

And this holds true for the Momo steering wheel, too. An elegant three-spoke metal affair with a black leather rim, it is utterly perfect and all the more attractive for being so unpretentious.

We’ve checked it all out in there too and it all seems to work – even the reversing lights, which almost never do. Our grande fromage again: “everything we’ve looked at is excellent!”, he gushed. And trust me, he doesn’t gush very often. Thank God.

You obviously don’t get a Gold medal from the rivet counters at an international Ferrari event for nothing, which might sound a bit snide but it’s exactly what you want to hear when you’re thinking of spending nigh-on six figures on a Ferrari.

Underneath

The 308 was serviced in May 2019 by R&D Automotive at a cost of more than £2,000. This sum included not only a routine service but sorting out the recalcitrant carburettors, which were out of tune. The chaps there also fixed a sticky door handle and stopped the car pulling to the left, which makes the resulting bill sound quite reasonable to us.

The same firm changed the engine’s timing belts in April 2018. This work - along with an oil change, an MOT, and some work to the speedometer - came to well under £800, which again seems cheap and so proves that an analogue thoroughbred sportscar can be maintained for not a lot more than a modern family car, if it has a history of similar care and attention.

To support this, we can see that the car had a routine service in 2015 at a cost of just £395 – and that bill included fettling a sticky throttle. Makes you think, doesn’t it?

Anyway, cost aside, the work has left the car running well and driving as it should. We’ve driven it, and it’s everything you’d hope an early 308GTB would be, which is to say utterly wonderful and very addictive. Not for shrinking violets, but then you’d guessed that, hadn’t you?

History Highlights

The online MOT history shows nothing of concern whatsoever and confirms the car’s low mileage. The MOT certificate itself expires in May 2020, and it will be supplied with a thick wad of expired MOT certificates.

The car also comes with a sheaf of invoices and bills to confirm the recent work that has been done to it along with the original owner’s handbook, a well-stamped service history and warranty booklet, and the OE storage wallet.

There are also a large number of expired road fund licence tax discs with which to baffle your children, as well as a hand-written list of the work that was carried out on the car between 1986 and 2005.

Please visit the documents section of the gallery of this listing where you will find photos of this and other paperwork to support our claim that this car has been maintained to the very highest standard over the years.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we would always encourage – then please contact the owner to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

Let’s face it, no matter how laissez-faire you pretend to be about them, every car enthusiast secretly wants a Ferrari in their garage at some point in their lives, don’t they? And, if you’re going to take the plunge and buy one, then one from the mid-seventies to mid-eighties is probably the way to go, as they’re modern enough to be decently reliable and to drive well, but old enough to be completely analogue and therefore easy and cheap(ish…) to repair.

As to value, we think this one will end up somewhere between low nineties and £110,000, at which price point it offers spectacular value given its condition and provenance, especially when you consider that the vendor understands that this very car sold for £150,000 only a couple of years ago…

That means that someone is going to end up with a bargain, and while we can’t predict the future, surely the current blip in the classic car market can’t continue to negatively affect the value of a car of this rarity, provenance and condition? A Concours winner at a Ferrari event has to stand tall to stand out.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us here at The Market HQ near Abingdon; to arrange an appointment please use the ‘Contact Seller’ button at the top of the listing. Feel free to ask any questions or make observations in the comments section below, or try our ‘Frequently Asked Questions’.

If needed, please remember we have a network of trusted suppliers we work with regularly and can recommend: Classic & Sportscar Finance for purchase-financing, Footman James for classic car insurance Thames Valley Car Storage for storing your car and AnyVan for transporting it.

BORING, but IMPORTANT: Please note that whilst we at The Market always aim to offer the most descriptive and transparent auction listings available, we cannot claim they are perfect analyses of any of the vehicles for sale. We offer far greater opportunity for bidders to view, or arrange inspections for each vehicle thoroughly prior to bidding than traditional auctions, and we never stop encouraging bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at the vehicles delivered to our premises for sale, but this only results in our unbiased personal observations, not those of a qualified inspector or other professional, or the result of a long test drive.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using simple cameras which often result in 'average' sound quality; in particular, engines and exhausts notes can sound a little different to how they are in reality.

Please note that this is sold as seen and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, the Sale of Goods Act 1979 does not apply. See our FAQs for more info, and feel free to inspect any vehicle as much as you wish.

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robo

  • Location: Abingdon
  • Odometer Reading: 54,497
  • Chassis Number: 19641
  • Engine: 2926
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Color: Rosso
  • Interior: Black leather

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