1978 FERRARI 308 GTS

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1978 FERRARI 308 GTS



To people of a certain vintage (the author being one of them), the Ferrari 308 is not so much a car as a poster.

The walls of countless teenage bedrooms have carried its image, quite possibly sandwiched between posters of a Lamborghini Countach, Che Guevara, a Porsche 959 and that lady tennis player who’s mislaid her undergarments and is having a surreptitious, cheeky scratch.

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 start in life.

Ultimately, it succeeded by being a great car, extraordinarily pretty and more curvaceous than Jessica Rabbit.

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, but removed any residual (and unfair) kit-car connotations.

It is mechanically very similar to the Dino, which is no bad thing because that means a mid-mounted V8 engine attached to a five-speed, dog-leg gearbox.

All-independent, double-wishbone suspension gives the tyres a fighting chance, as do all-round vented disc brakes. The steering is unassisted.

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.

It divides neatly into three main iterations: the early cars, which had four twin-choke Weber carburettors and 252bhp; the fuel-injected, emissions-emasculated cars with 211bhp; and the final, quattrovalvolve or four-valve cars with 230bhp.

The 308 made several appearances on TV and the big screen, most notably in all eight seasons of Magnum P.I. (it was a different car each season), as well as Cannonball Run and National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The 308 retired in 1985, to be replaced by the Ferrari 328.

If you can find a 308 that’s been properly looked after and has plenty of history - well, you’ve just found the golden ticket and you can look forward to joining Paul Newman, Nicki Lauda, Nicholas Cage and Andy Gibb in the 308 owners’ club (yes, we know Tom Selleck drove a 308 in Magnum P.I., but he owned a Testarossa in real life, presumably because the latter was rather more accommodating of his 6ft 4in frame).

But what are the chances of finding a relatively low-mileage, expertly restored and lovingly curated car like that?

One that’s been driven (and championed) by Vicki Butler-Henderson on ‘The Car Years’?

One that’s been driven and reviewed on video by well-known car blogger Petrol Ped?

One that’s been completely restored and rebuilt by QV London?

One that’s currently owned by none other than Mr. Tim Joslyn, founder of The Market?

Well, as it happens….

The Vehicle

This is a very fine 308 GTS indeed.

That’s not always the case with 308s. Because they weren’t the most expensive prancing horse in the Ferrari stable, they were sometimes bought by people whose depth of pocket didn’t always match their motoring aspirations.

Corners were cut, maintenance missed, jobs left undone.

And you really can’t do that with a tempestuous Italian automotive prima donna that, uncared for, will get through cam belts faster than a baby gets through nappies.

This particular 308 GTS is a glorious exception to such salutary cases and appears to have mechanical and aesthetic integrity in abundant and equal measure.

We’re confident on that front because we’ve auctioned this car before. On that occasion, our founder of The Market liked it so much he bought it for himself.

That should tell you something.

His car collection is a fluid and ever-changing thing which is why the car is on our books again.

His loss could very well be your gain.

Originally red, at some point in its life it was repainted yellow. In 2014 a previous owner took the then yellow (‘Giallo Fly’) car to QV London for a full, bare metal, ground up restoration and engine rebuild costing £35,000.

QV London are regarded and respected as being one of the best in the business for classic ‘analogue’ Ferraris, not least because many of the workforce were factory trained and worked on these cars in period.

They still use images of this car’s restoration in their promotional material.

As part of the rebuild, the front and rear suspension was stripped and sent for blasting and powder coating. The Koni dampers were rebuilt.

Whilst laid bare, the chassis was Waxoyled before all the suspension components were refitted.

The thoroughbred V8 engine was similarly scrutinised and lavished with attention. It was stripped and both cylinder heads were sent away to have new guides fitted.

A new stainless steel exhaust system was also fitted.

Once presented with his now ‘Rosso Corsa’ car, the owner decided to spend another £4,400 on having the seats reupholstered in the classic tan-with-black-stripes leather you see today.

When Tim bought the car he took it back to the people who know it best - QV London - and had everything checked, replaced if necessary, and fettled and tweaked until full automotive happiness had been achieved.

The result, then and now, is a properly sorted 308 GTS that starts, goes and stops as intended, pulls like a train across the rev counter and makes a joyously grin inducing noise – particularly when the Targa roof is stowed behind the seats.

Vicki Butler-Henderson enjoyed driving it, too.

On the Outside

The Rosso paintwork is in very good condition and the finish has an impressive shine and lustre to it.

There are no scuffs, dinks, dents, chips, creases or folds of any real significance.

The sensuously sculpted flanks are formed from pretty much unblemished panels with good shut-lines and door gaps.

This car hails from an era when Ferraris were hand-built, and we can only assume that Giuseppe and Luigi were on particularly good form when they made this one.

All the trim and badging is as it should be, and the louvres on the side panels and engine cover haven’t faded or otherwise suffered.

The classic 5-spoke wheels are in excellent, un-scuffed, un-kerbed condition.

All exterior trim, fixtures and fittings are in fine fettle.

If you tilt your head to one side, squint and use the right torch, you can just about make out a shallow dink atop the car’s o/s/f wing.

Repeat the physical and ocular contortions when assessing the other front wing and you’ll be able to see a rippling wave in the paint.

There are a few paint chips here are there, and the n/s/r corner of the engine cover doesn’t click home as it should.

Aside from that, it’s all looking good and sticking to the script.

On the Inside

The good news continues on the inside, where you’ll find a wonderfully inviting interior that’s mostly in exceptional condition.

The tan leather seats are firm, comfortable and supportive, with no creasing or signs of wear to speak of.

The door cards, lift-out Targa panel, dashboard and centre console are all in very impressive nick.

The carpets and mats are fine.

The ‘boot’ is clean and tidy as is the space under the bonnet. Lifting the carpets here or anywhere else on this car reveals…nothing to worry about as far as we can see.

We think every knob, toggle, lever, button and switch does what it’s meant to do.

There are a few nicks and small holes in the headlining under the roll-over bar.


The undersides of this vehicle look clean, proper and possessed of plenty of structural integrity.

The engine and engine bay are equally clean and reassuring.

History Highlights

The car has always been kept warm, dry and inside.

It comes with invoices, receipts, photographic evidence of its 2014 restoration by noted 308 specialists QV in Slough, some service history and a full and clear HPI check.

It currently has no MoT certificate, it's not required to have one, but the vendor say's he sees no major reason why it wouldn't pass.

If you’d like to inspect the car prior to placing a bid – something we always encourage – then please use the Contact Seller button to arrange an appointment.

What We Think

This is a fine example of a pin-up model from a legendary marque.

It looks divine, drives superbly and comes with great ownership and restoration provenance. It is also a UK delivery RHD in 1978 (first registered UPB 635S).

It’s really very, very good indeed.

We have the confidence to offer this exceptional car for auction with an estimate of £60,000 - £80,000, and it's No Reserve.

Viewing is always encouraged, and this particular car is located with us at The Market HQ near Abingdon; we are open weekdays 9am-5pm, 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’.

Bidders MUST ensure they are aware of the registration situation of a car in auction, and whether it will be possible to export/register a vehicle in their country BEFORE they bid.

All vehicles MUST BE COLLECTED WITHIN 7-DAYS of the auction end. Storage fees of £180 + VAT apply (per week) thereafter without exception.

If needed, Footman James classic car insurance and Classic Concierge offer storage can offer you options, plus we have a list of contacts who can help with transport and shipping both domestic and international.  

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 always encourage bidders to take advantage of this. We do take a good look at those vehicles which are 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.

Also, localised paint repairs are common with collectable and classic cars and if they have been professionally carried out then they may be impossible to detect, even if we see the car in person. So, unless we state otherwise, please assume that any vehicle could have had remedial bodywork at some point in its life.

Additionally, please note that most of the videos on our site have been recorded using basic 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 (Caveat Emptor) and that, as is normal for used goods bought at auction, a return policy 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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  • Location: The Market HQ, Abingdon, United Kingdom
  • Seller Type: Private
  • Odometer Reading: 64000
  • Chassis Number: 23469
  • Engine: 2926
  • Gearbox: Manual
  • Steering position: Right-hand drive
  • Colour: Rosso
  • Interior: Tan Hide
  • Estimated Price: £60,000 - £80,000

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