Room for Four: 1977 Ferrari 308 GT4

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It’s hard to believe, but even the once-lowly Ferrari 308GT4 is enjoying a bit of a resurgence in enthusiast interest. It’s a perfect cirlce, really – the cars everybody wants go through such dramatic price esclations that the lower-tier cars start to look appealing. This 1977 308GT4 here on craigslist just popped up in Los Angeles and is listed at a sensible $27,500. 

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Think that price is crazy? It may be, especially for a project that needs both cosmetic and presumably mechanical refurbishment. But if you’re antsy to put a genuine Ferrari in the garage, the price looks practically cheap! The interior doesn’t look damp or reeking of mildew, but the seats will need new upholstery at the very least. It’s encouraging to not see wires hanging everywhere under the dash and the stock steering wheel still in place.

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Under the hood, you’ll find Ferrari’s first mid-engined V8, producing 240 b.h.p. in the American version. Wrapped up in a body designed by Bertone, I was never offended by the GT4 despite its reputation as a poor man’s Ferrari, a perception reinforced by the existence of poorly maintained examples languishing on craigslist from time to time. Certainly, more GT4s tend to pop up in forlorn condition than other models, but this one doesn’t seem abused – just forgotten.

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Truthfully, I don’t think it has been forgotten for too long. The blue paint is a nice change of pace from the typical red, and the wheels appear unmarked and straight. It does appear to have sun-damaged paint on the nose and likely elsewhere given the condition of the interior. I feel the asking price is fair, but it depends on the scale of mechanical needs. People will do crazy things to own a Ferrari – would you?

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Comments

  1. RayT Member

    Apparently, the sale price has been lowered — the ad shows $27.5K at this time.

    The 308GT4 is a VERY underrated car, mainly, I suspect, because so many other glamorous Ferraris are out there. Compared to, say, a Daytona, Boxer or F50, they seem rather dull.

    But anyone with that mindset needs to DRIVE a GT4, and the perception will change. These are extremely nice cars: comfortable, with near-flawless handling and a spine-tingling exhaust note. That’s what Ferraris are all about.

    Sadly, they are also Ferraris when it comes to writing Big Checks to keep them running. Expect to more than double the initial price just to get it running and stopping, and more than that to get it looking nice.

    Aside from the financial aspects, these are pure gold. I wanted one after my first drive, and still do. Even the knowledge that my bank account would be even flatter than it is doesn’t affect the fantasy. Every car enthusiast needs to drive a Ferrari at least once in their life, and the GT4 will not disappoint.

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    • Jeff Jeff Lavery Staff

      Ray, thanks – I mistook the mileage as the price. The post has been corrected.

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  2. Dolphin Dolphin Staff

    Until a few years ago you could easily find needy 308 GT4s like this one for $15K. For a long time these had a reputation with Ferrari dealers for being sales-proof. Now, the current issue of Sports Car Market (January) has a feature story on one that sold at auction for almost $58K.

    These are underrated, or at least have been until recently. The Bertone body wasn’t as attractive as traditional Ferrari bodies, especially this car’s predecessor, the Dino 246 GT. But now people seem to see these as the last way to get into Ferrari ownership for significantly under $100K.

    They are good but not great performers, limited by the emissions equipment on the US versions and the narrow tires. The Euro versions were really good Autobahn performers. When Paul Frere tested an early Euro version for R&T he said it ran right up to its top speed of 155 MPH, which was pretty good for a 1970s car with 3 litres.

    I had a drive around Road Atlanta in one and it was an impressive performer for a 4-seater, but a decent E36 M3 will easily outperform it and cost a fraction of that $58K.

    This car has needs, like paint and interior, and likely also mechanical needs. The fairly new battery suggests that someone might have tried to start it, but the seller doesn’t say much about the car and says nothing about mechanical condition or whether it will start and run.

    The upside is probably the body, assuming it has lived its life in L.A. The downside is the bucket of money you would need to spend on it to bring it up to a decent standard. That probably makes a known good 308 at $50K a better buy than this car at $27,500.

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  3. nessy

    Ah, 27500 for this car? Well, after the “pleasure” of owning a Mondial which was pretty much the updated version of this car and the fact that it took me a year just to unload it, plus, I just about broke even after I had enough of the thing, I’ll say, thanks but no thanks! One note, I’ll never forget as a kid, seeing a Ferrari Dino sitting behind a repair shop for around 5 years, thinking it was just a kit car until one day, it was gone so I asked the owner of the shop where the car went and he said they finally sold the pile of junk. That was in the early 80’s. If we only knew….

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  4. Jeffro

    No such thing as a “cheap” Ferrari.

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  5. Head Dents

    Nothing more expensive than a cheap Ferrari.

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    • Terry C

      Other than a free boat.

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  6. Jonny the Boy

    I’ve liked the 308gt4 ever since I first saw one, so much so I made a painting of one a few years ago http://www.jonathanswoods.com/html/ferrari.html, but for all the work that car needs just to be presentable, that price is waaay to high, in my opinion. Besides what it looks like, an easy assumption to make would be that it has been neglected in other ways, given the fact that someone let that level of decay happen to any Ferrari.

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    • Jubjub

      Nice artwork!

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  7. MikeG

    Great little track cars, but this thing needs a full on resurrection. No thanks.

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  8. Coventrycat

    Great looking, but this one is rubbish.

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  9. survivor

    Slap a prancing horse on a turd, and someone will buy it.

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    • MikeG

      I don’t know why you think it’s a “turd”, it has the same track times as a standard 308, maybe a bit faster….

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      • Dave Wright

        Not that they are that fast………a good 911 has always been faster…..but they are a fun car. People will wish they had bought it now in a few years.

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      • survivor

        Because this particular one is shot. It’s junk. Prancing horse or not.

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  10. Klharper

    I had one of these back in the late 80’s, it was about the same shape as this one. I paid 12 for it, probably put in another 10 and sold it for 17. At the time I thought I paid to much originally but did ok with selling it.
    I worked at the Ferrari dealer at the time and drove a lot of different Ferraris but the Gt4 was one of my favorites to drive. It was a little better than the more common GTB or GTS and a much better driver than a testerossa.
    Mine did have Euro bumpers, and cams, but us spec distributor and their ignition curves. Also I had a high axle ratio which limited top speed to around 135 but improved acceleration.
    This one could be fixed and they are much more fun and look better in euro trim. I just can’t get over the entry price and if I wanted something like this I would probably go for an Espirit, or for just driving fun a super 7 or Aerial.

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  11. frozenbird

    At this price this one makes no sense at all. Why not go and spend $50K and just have to maintain one rather then spend $27K and restore one? It makes 0 financial sense. If a Boss Mustang is worth $80K you wouldn’t go out and buy a Boss in similar shape as this Ferrari for $60K cause it would cost more then what it’s worth. Even with countless reproduction companies selling every part imaginable for a Mustang. So why would you do it for a Ferrari of all things? Go out and buy the best one you can afford and if this is it, keep your money in the bank.

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    • MikeG

      Well the world is filled with people who make poor decisions, this fella is just waiting for one of those guys…

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  12. Bruce Best

    As an Esprit owner I can generally out run one of these and out handle one as well. But I know people that have had these and the 308GTB’s and GTS’s that have been kept up and have had remarkably low expenses in terms of operational costs.

    I think it is true that a M-3 could run rings around them but not with the beauty and style that either of these come with. The GT4 is just more restrained and falls into the background easier that the others.

    IF you are a person that considers handling, power and beauty to be things needed in equal measure all of these including the Esprit are wonderful cars to both drive and own with one caution. YOU NEED TO FIT. Not everybody does. The GT4 is the best of the bunch in this critical area.

    But to all those that are upset that this car got to this point I agree with you. There are some out there that wish to prove their wealth by trashing works of art like the cars that most of us would love to own.

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  13. John

    C’mon folks. That is a beautiful car. I truly hope someone buys it and restores it. It can’t always be about the money. Restore it and love it as a thing of beauty.

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  14. Luca

    From Italy, I can be found in excellent condition GT4 say that the 308 gt4 and ‘one of the most’ ugly Ferrari, here ‘no one likes it, and it is hard to sell this model.
    From 15 thousand to $ 30 thousand it buys GT4 in excellent condition
    Come to Italy to buy the Iron Masters prices are ok

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