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1989 Ferrari 328 GTS: Not Magnum PI, But Close

I’m not writing as an expert on Ferraris, but I do know what I like, and the Ferrari 328 GTS (and various close cousins) has been on my radar for a long time. This 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS is available on eBay for a bid approaching the mid-50K range and the reserve not met. It sits in Ashland, Nebraska waiting for its next owner.

This is not the Magnum PI car, but it’s close. That one was a mid-1980s 308 GTS. What they share is the clean and smooth lines that whisk your eye from front to back and then demand a second look. Adorned in the typical Ferrari red with the familiar saddle-colored interior, this car is turned out practically as new. That’s not surprising given that it has traveled just over 13,000 miles.

The key with these cars is service, and there are two things to note with this particular model. First is that it’s got those low miles, but has had five owners. That means either that it’s a nuisance mobile that people frequently unload on the next guy or that it is never in anyone’s hands long enough to do the next major service. That has apparently been rectified of late, with the current owner claiming to have serviced it at just shy of 12K miles. Those of you who don’t know might think that’s no big deal, but for whatever reason, what you always hear (or read, in my case—I’m not the type of person whose friends actually own Ferraris) is that the “engine-out service” that’s apparently demanded of these rich-person toys starts at five grand and goes up from there. Thus it’s good that this has been done on this model, though note that it has been driven very little, and that sitting is bad for any car, let alone one as temperamental as an Italian stallion. There are, apparently, most of the books and records available to go with the car, so you could do some recon and figure out what you’re dealing with if you did an in-person inspection.

Should you purchase this car, expect to be stunned by its diminutive beauty every time you go in the garage. These cars, in person, are smaller and lower than they photograph. But they are also ten times more compelling to look at than an image can suggest. That alone should provide $5K worth of happiness per year, whether you drive the car or not. But expect also to be stunned by the service and repair bills that make a relative bargain to buy a rather expensive proposition to maintain or to fix when  something fails. This is, after all, a 30-plus year-old exotic, despite the as-new appearance.

Comments

  1. JohnH

    LS swap and leave the engine in the bay where it belongs?

    Like 1
  2. Ken

    I got to drive a 1986 model just last month. I loved the experience and performance, but I now understand why owners don’t put many miles on them.
    –It is a SMALL car! I’m 5’10”, and my head was firmly on the roof. At 178 lbs, my butt did not fit the seat.
    –The tiny pedals are nearly at the center of the car, pushed aside to make room for the big tires up front.
    –The shift gates are tight.
    –The steering is heavy.
    –The brakes are heavy.
    –And the clutch is HEEEEAAAAVY.

    But once I got the hang of it and out on some roads, it was joy. After an hour behind the wheel, I was grinning but exhausted. I’m not sure I’d want to own one, but I’d never turn down a chance to drive one again.

    Just wanted to share.

    Like 19
    • Harry Kritis Member

      Old school Italian sport cars (earlier than 1980) demanded driver 5f10 (1.75m) as per Ferrari 308, 328, heavy steering in order to feel the road (no assist), heavy brakes (for feel) & heavy clutch to secure no slippage. In the X1/9 i own for 42 years i had to pull out one of the three springs it utilized in different locations. Old school sport cars were no game for female drivers or males above 6f or unfit.

      Like 1
  3. Michelle Rand Staff

    The 328 was when Ferrari made the 308 worthwhile, sort of like when Triumph made the TR8, fixing the TR7. The motors are really stout, I know it sounds weird when talking about a Ferrari, but the 328 is better than the 308. Also, the “major service” that is referred to is the timing belts, which is not really the belt it is the tensioners. In the 348, that is an engine-out affair. For the 308 and 328, the timing belt can be changed with the motor in the car. That does not mean it is cheap. Regarding driving one: it is a car that needs to warm up. The gearshift is heavy at first then lightens as the car warms up. The clutch can be adjusted so if it’s heavy, check that out. If it had heavy steering, you aren’t going fast enough, ha ha!

    Like 15
    • Brian Kennedy Staff

      Additional information very much appreciated. Thanks for the detailed comment post.

      Like 1
    • tompdx Member

      To belts and tensioners, most folks add water pump as a “while you’re in there” item. And yes, it’s just the 348 and the 355 that require the engine to be pulled to change the timing belt (or “belts” – plural – in the case of the 348). But they’re engineered to be dropped out in about 2 hours of shop time, so it really isn’t as bad as it sounds. Still, it is almost $3k just in parts, so not cheap!

      • Howie

        The Mondial is also a engine out job.

        Like 2
      • SubGothius

        @Howie the Mondial T yes, but I gather the original Mondial 8/QV/3.2 series can be serviced with the engine in-situ, just as with the 308/328 series that share the same engines.

        Like 3
  4. David r

    I have to laugh when I see people drive these things in stop and go traffic on the 405 in Los Angeles

    Like 2
  5. Joe Elliott

    Why is the engine-out belt service trope so enduring? That only applies to *longitudinal* mid-engine Ferraris, for reasons that should be obvious if you stop to think about it.

    Like 1
    • Fabio

      I think the folks who is only about LS6 and its previous pushrod driven
      single-cam precedessors fear of any cambelt- or multibelt or chain-driven camshaft (most common in Euro and Japanese cars at this time) engines.

      For convenience check “fuel injection sucks” on YT, some are stuck in
      their time.

  6. DonC

    In 2010, I had worked enough 2nd & 3rd jobs to finally buy my bucket list car and this was it! Until I talked to a highly reputable exotic sports car mechanic. In his garage was no less than 5 Ferraris. “I love them!” He grinned…”they pay all my bills.” He was not ripping anyone off, just speaking the truth. “They are a delicate flower” he continued. “You want a stout car, one you can drive the way you want and play at Mid Ohio.” I bought a 2002 Porsche 911 Cabrio three weeks later and have enjoyed 12 years and counting. Mid Ohio, Sebring, and plenty of daily driving. I’m not starting a Ferrari vs Porsche debate. Just saying, buy a Ferrari and you have one of the highest shop to fun time ratios out there.

    Like 2
  7. Fabio

    Heavy clutch is subjective as this models use a single plate system.
    The engine is except the electronic ignition the same with mechanical
    fuel injection(the well proven Bosch K-Jetronic).

    Changing the camshaft belt isnt that tricky as the known mechanic
    has to follow a given sequence to tighten and loosen the tensioners.
    Changing the camshaft chain – on the earlier models – is more
    enduring as they use guides gears protectors etc, a lot more of parts
    then a belt driven system.
    When a chain is length the guides and gears have also to be changed.

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