Fantasy Friday – Ferrari Dino 308 GT4

[hr] [dropcap]L[/dropcap]ife’s too short to never own a mid-engined Italian V8. Gearheads might consider that quote to be agreeable, but getting a mid-engine Italian V8 is not like buying a Corolla. It takes dedication and a commitment to the goals of both acquisition and ownership. It’s not for everyone and on many levels, it shouldn’t really be for anyone.

And yet….. who wouldn’t want one, one day?

There are currently two ways to get into a “reasonably priced” Ferrari in Australia (if your idea of reasonably affordable is to pay from $30K upwards for a 1970’s Italian with an intermittent temper). One is to buy a Mondial, the somewhat unloved four-seater from the early 1980’s. The other is to buy its predecessor – the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4.

FerrariDino2

The Dino badge was first used in honour of Enzo’s deceased son to denote a Ferrari that wasn’t a 12-cylinder car. The prized Dino is the 246, a voluptuous coupe that is sheer beauty from every angle. A restored example was sold at auction here in Oz recently for nearly $300,000.

Ferrari Dino

The 308 GT4 is a very different and much more ‘affordable’ beast.

The 308 GT4 is looked down upon by some because it was the first (and remains the only) regular production Ferrari to be styled by Bertone. Ferrari had always used Pininfarina prior to this car [pullquote-right]Life’s too short to never own an Italian mid-engined V8[/pullquote-right]and they returned to Pininfarina afterwards, but the diversion was seen as unforgivable by some and the 308 GT4’s price has remained stunted ever since.

Aside – Bertone also self-styled the 250 GT in the late 1950’s but they’re rarer than unicorns and priced accordingly on the rare occasions they do pop up for sale.

The other price-suppressor when it comes to the 308 GT4 is that 4 on the end of the badge, denoting it as a four-seater. Ferraris always tend to look best as two-seaters and it takes a special four-seat design to look customarily spectacular with a Ferrari badge. Not many do and the GT4 isn’t one of them.

FerrariDino5

The 308 GT4, as the name suggests, has a 3.0 litre V8 engine, mid-mounted and capable of producing 250hp. Fuel is consumed at a prodigious rate via four – yes, four – 40mm Weber carburettors. They must be fun to tune.

Given that you can get that sort of power from a modern 4-cylinder engine, there really is no rational reason to buy a Ferrari 308 GT4.

But then, it’s a Ferrari. You don’t buy it because it makes sense. You buy it for the sense of occasion it’ll provide every day you climb into it and turn the key.

FerrariDino3

Here’s a short video (6 minutes) that shows just a little of that sense of occasion. The dashboard is classic 70’s and the noise is just sublime.

The Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 shown in this post is currently for sale in South Australia with an asking price of $49,000.

Note: in some markets, you can also buy a 208 GT4, which has a smaller 2.0 litre V8 engine producing around 180hp. I would expect the noise to be just as nice. I have no idea of the price.

FerrariDino1

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6 Comments

    1. Yep. I had the good fortune to ride in Bob Sinclair’s 308 GTB and it was an absolute treat. Best time riding shotgun ever (well, maybe 2nd best).

    1. That makes for some extremely sad reading, Mark.

      What actually happens in that situation? Is the car on-sold by the insurer and fixed by someone (with the damage recorded on the record, I assume). I’d hate to think that a drivable Ferrari was off the road forever simply because of some insurance company’s table of numbers.

  1. I fully agree with you, Swade. Having owned even one of those unloved Mondials (1988 Coupe) for the past 10 years, it really is on a car guy’s “must have” list. The sound of any Ferrari engine is intoxicating.

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