Ferrari 308 GTB

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Ferrari 308 GTB & GTS
Ferrari 308 GTb
Parent companyFiat Group
Production1975–1977 (GRP)
1977–1985 steel
PredecessorDino 246
SuccessorFerrari 328
ClassSports car
Body style(s)Berlinetta
Targa top
LayoutRMR layout
Engine(s)3.0 L V8
3.0 L FI V8 (GTBi/GTSi)
3.0 L 4v V8 (QV)
RelatedFerrari 208/308 GT4
Ferrari Mondial
ManualService Manual
208 GTB & GTS
Ferrari 208 GTS (1980)
Production1980–1985 & 1985–1986
Body style(s)Berlinetta
Engine(s)2.0 L V8
2.0 L turbo V8 (from 1982)

The Ferrari 308 GTB (and similar 208 and later 328) were mid-engined sports cars manufactured by the Italian company Ferrari in the 1970s-1980s. They made up the lower end of the company's range. The 308 replaced the Dino 246 in 1975 and was updated as the 328 in 1985.


The Pininfarina-styled 308 GTB was introduced at the Paris Motor Show in 1975 as a supplement to the unloved Bertone-shaped Dino 308 GT4 and a replacement for the Dino 246. It was designed by Leonardo Fioravanti who had been responsible for some of Ferrari's most celebrated shapes to date such as the Daytona, the Dino and the Berlinetta Boxer. The 308 used elements of these shapes to create something very much in contrast with the angular GT4 2+2. The GTB/GTS was a 2-seater with sweeping curves and aggressive lines, and has become the most recognized and iconic Ferrari road car.

The targa topped 308 GTS was introduced in 1977 and was made famous on the Magnum P.I. television show. Several cars were used, a new one for each season, most being auctioned off after filming. The first was a 1979 model with chassis number 28251.

The mechanically similar 308 GT4 shared much with the original Dino, and the 308. Both sit on the same tube-frame platform, with a 92 in (2,300 mm) wheelbase for the 308 GTB (the 308 GT4 has a longer wheelbase, it is a 2+2) , and 4-wheel double wishbone independent suspension. The V8 engine is a DOHC design, with four Weber 40DCNF carburetors. European versions produced 255 hp (190 kW) at 7,000 rpm (7700 rpm redline), but American versions were down to 240 hp (178 kW) at 6,600 rpm due to emissions control devices.

A notable aspect of the early 308 GTB was that, although still built by Carrozzeria Scaglietti, the 308's bodywork was entirely made of glass-reinforced plastic (or GRP), allowing a very light weight of 1,050 kg (2,315 lb). The engine borrowed its dry-sump lubrication from Ferrari's racing experience. This lasted until June, 1977, when the 308 was switched to steel, resulting in an, alleged, 150 kg (331 lb) additional weight. However, a steel-bodied GTB only weighs 12 kg (26 lb) more that its fiberglass body counterpart. All steel versions of the 308 GTS have a conventional wet-sump engine while GTB models retained the dry sump lubrication until 1981.

The 308 models are the most common historical Ferrari models, with over 12,000 produced. However, only 712 of the first Fiberglass dry-sump version were made, which are now the most sought-after by collectors. The 308 models are embraced by Ferrari fans and critics today. In 2004, Sports Car International named this car number five on the list of Top Sports Cars of the 1970s.

Test performance, 308 GTB (GRP): Weight (kerb with 74 l fuel) 2,778 lb (1,260 kg), acceleration 0-100 mph 15.0s, 0-100 km/h 6.5 s, 100-200 km/h 17.8s, top speed 159 mph (256 km/h).

GTBi/GTSi and quattrovalvole

Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection was added for the 1980 308 GTBi and GTSi, dropping power to 214 hp (160 kW) but decreasing emissions. Two years later, the 4-valve per cylinder Quattrovalvole or QV model pushed output back up to 245 hp (179 kW) restoring the performance.

The 288 GTO, also called the first Ferrari Super-car, borrowed much of the 308 GTB: it is also powered by a similar debored 2.8-litre V8 (but with turbochargers), it retained the general bodywork lines with extended wheelarches, different side air vents, and bigger rear spoiler, and the central tubular space-frame chassis.


From the mid-1970s through 1986, a low-displacement 208 was produced, generally for tax concessions within the Italian market; it was also listed in New Zealand, due to their taxes on engines above 2 litres. The 208 GTB/GTS replaced the 208 GT4 2+2 in 1980.

The engine was de-bored to 68.8 mm (giving an undersquare design) for a total of 1991 cc displacement, resulting in the smallest V8 engine ever produced. The 208 produced only 155 bhp (116 kW) which meant that performance was underwhelming, especially for a Ferrari. 160 208 GTS and 140 208 GTB cars were produced in 1980 and 1981.

In 1982, turbo-charging and fuel injection increased power output to 220 bhp (164 kW), but initially only available in GTB form; the GTS turbo was introduced in 1983. In 1985, small body-style modifications were made, in-line with the introduction of the 328; production ended in 1986 after 437 GTB turbo and 250 GTS turbo cars were produced.

In 1986 they were replaced by 328-based GTB/GTS Turbo.

Regional differences

Two 1979 308GTBs, Euro spec (left) and US spec

Among the typically yearly updates to the performance and style of the 308 throughout its run, cars from the same series would have a number of differences between them depending on their intended export market (which is usual for European cars). For example a 308 destined for the American market would sport much larger heavier bumpers and a slightly sturdier frame (and many other smaller details) in order to meet stringent US road safety standards. American market cars also suffered a performance hit due to engine-driven 'smog pumps' to meet state emissions legislation which reduced horsepower. As a result of these differences there is typically a premium paid for the "purer" European spec car over the safer greener federalized car.


  • Buckley, Martin & Rees, Chris (1998). World Encyclopedia of Cars. London: Anness Publishing. ISBN 1-84038-083-7. 
  • "Retail Prices, Import Cars," Automotive News, April, 1986: page 53.

External links