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Gotta Have It: 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS

This is just the most attractive Ferrari, ever. Please don’t argue with this statement, no matter how irrational, or at least unprovable, it is. I’ve wanted a red 308 GTS since you could get one of those for $25K. But this blue, wow—I’m in love, though the price is way beyond my budget because I waited too long. You expert Barn Finders can tell me all you want that this is or is not the original color. Doesn’t matter, I need this car. If I had around 70K to spend, this is where it would go. The exact demand for this car, seen here on craigslist, is $72,000. For that, you get a 1979 Ferrari 308 GTS with around 55,000 miles on the clock. Should you decide this is a wise expenditure, send a truck westward—this one’s in Temecula, California.

But do your homework, too. The typical Ferrari question is, Is it maintained? This one has been in the same ownership for thirty years, but the owner spent $7 grand just 100 miles ago to put it in a tip-top state of tune. That means new timing belts, rebuilt carbs, and brake service as well as shifter service. Sounds like a get-in-and-drive situation, right? Proper maintenance comes on top of the fact that the car is equipped with carbs rather than being fuel injected, which apparently is a much better setup. And while we’re on that, the car has had an upgrade to electronic ignition, though the original dual distributors are included if you want to go back to factory as-produced spec. Wait—did I start this paragraph explaining that a tune-up is $7 thousand bucks? I did. I for sure have to let this dream go.

But you might not have to do the same. Think of the fun you’ll have in this little bullet. I’ve seen these 308s up close, and you’ll be surprised the first time you glimpse one how small they are. But when that engine fires up—it’s game over. You’ll have to have it.

There is one problem. This car is on a salvage title. Is this a case of saving the worst news for last? You’re already convinced you love it when you read this fact, stated late in the ad. The good news is two-fold: on the one hand, the salvage designation is not because of a wreck, but because the car was stolen around 40 years ago. (Here’s hoping the Ferrari thief was denied bail and still rots in jail.) On the other hand, that is what makes this car cheaper than it otherwise might have been. So it’s a “bargain”? I’m once again regretting not jumping on one of these when they sat in used Camry territory for what seemed like forever. The only way to feel better about what I cannot have is to note that the interior is a bit orange in tone and not a great complement to the blue exterior color. But seriously, there’s no argument against this car except ones you make up to justify feeling bad about what you cannot have.


  1. oilngas

    This is how you dump your 20 years of seniority, cash out the 401k, and leave the nagging 30 year ball and chain. Silk shirt and gold chains not included. You only live once.

    Like 6
  2. Haig L Haleblian

    I bought my first 308 when I was 30, single, and Magnum was the rage. I bought my second one when I was 65 and very married. I was bored with the car after a year and sold it. 308’s are at this stage of my life, boring. The botto wheels don’t help this one either.

    Like 1
  3. drew

    The registration is more than a year past due looking at the tags.

    Like 1
    • Euromoto Member

      Public records also show that this car hasn’t been smogged in California since 2014. There’s more to the story on this one.

      Like 4
  4. Howie

    But re-sale blue does not rhyme, last car i sold was my first and last Ferrari.

    Like 3
    • Keith Hagerty

      I have always loved these cars from a far. Back when they were dirt cheap I wouldve picked one up but the maintenance was and still is a killer. This is a good looking we’ll-priced 308. I’d for sure take him up on the offer to exchange the Gotti wheels for the factory ones. GLWS

      Like 0
    • Grant

      Re-sale blue isn’t a rhyme, but neither is re-sale red, it is alliteration. Just saying. With that small bit of snarkiness, may I add, the car needs to be red. Red just plain works on these cars. Nice cars, but for what the Italians want for parts, you would think they had won the war. A different engine is needed, maybe a nice 225 slant six. That would indeed fit, be easier to get at the plugs too. With the five speed, it would perform well, make her a nice cruiser. When they sold in “used Camry” territory, thats when someone should have bought one with a blown mill and put in something more reasonable. Sure would be fun to pop the bonnet and shown interested parties.

      Like 3
      • John Eder

        I used to wince every time I needed to do an “engine out” service on my Plymouth Valiant. It ran about $7K just to change the timing belt. I will admit that nothing sounds like a Slant Six under full throttle, but the cost of upkeep was brutal.

        Like 3
      • Danno

        Re-do blue?
        I love blue on 308/328.

        Like 1
      • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

        Which is a snarkier comment from Grant. A slant 6 comment on a Ferrari post or a Corolla comment on a Challenger post?

        Grant / Gary = pushing the buttons of BF readers for years!

        Like 2
      • Gary

        @PRA4SNW, Trust me, I am my own man. Grant seems a little stodgy for my tastes. Just the same, thanks for remembering me, it is so nice to be appreciated. BTW, I like the idea of a slant six in a Ferrari bay. What’s the harm? Not enough snob appeal?. Isn’t hot rodding something we all once did? Sounds like something fun to do that would definitely get a reaction at the next meet.

        Like 1
  5. JudoJohn

    OK- a #2 cond. is $98K, #3 is $60K according to Haggerty. This is closer to a #3. The salvage title is problematic. Good luck.

    Like 3
  6. Stan

    One of the All Time great show intros. Magnum P.I. 🚗 💨 🌴 👋 👙 🌊 🚁

    Like 7
  7. Jon.in.Chico

    Almost bought a Yellow ’77 308 in Lake Forest, IL,in July of ’78 … I had a ’77 Vette with about 6k miles … walked in and got in … salesman said it was his last ’77 and he’d discount the $30,300 price to $27k … asked me if I would like to test drive it … I knew if I did I’d buy it … wife had just gotten her real estate license so bought a ’78 Mark V Givenchy instead … car outlasted the wife by 28 years …

    Like 1
  8. Steve3n

    One moves into Ferarri ownership for several reasons , one just being able to own part of this history of automobiles. With that said, because of the upfront cost and continual maintenance, typically the older models , 308 , included have already depreciated, and perhaps may rise in value. But , never buy an exotic with problems beyond your control , like a title problem. Never buy one with complete records or done that has been in a wreck. Always , have it checked out prior to purchase by a , Ferarri expert , mechanic. This half price Ferarri is not temping because of the color and title. Past history is not complete on this one.

    I like an off color Ferrari, even though the interior color seems odd to me. I have grey/ green 360 that I bought because of the color. Only a very few were made this color. Plus to me , it was Ferrari’s last gated – 6 speed that had no buttons on the steering wheel, all analog, no computer screens, very basic. To me , it was Ferrari’s last hotrod. To each their own,

    Like 4
    • JudoJohn

      I, too, like the “off color” Ferraris. Red is so overdone. Even Enzo said that red was for the racing teams, not street cars.

      I agree- the salvage title is trouble.

      Like 2
  9. Brian S

    Wheels make it look like a Fiero kit car.

    Like 4
    • John Eder

      I understand that they make body kits for these that allow you to make them look like a really close replica of a Pontiac Fiero.

      Like 3

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