Good Or Bad Idea? 1985 Ferrari 308 GTS

For whatever reason, I still get awfully excited about dealer trades that feature an interesting vintage car of some kind. This 1985 Ferrari 308 GTS is not only such a car – apparently used as collateral at a BMW dealership in Ohio – it’s also a well-used car, with 96,705 miles on the clock, a reading not typical for vintage Ferraris. Find it here on in seemingly nice shape with a $59,730 asking price. 

The interior shows incredibly well, even if it’s a bit garish. What’s always strange to me about trades of exotic or collector cars to new car dealerships is either the seller’s lack of awareness that other, more profitable avenues exist, or that the seller is so wealthy that any incentive to get additional money via private sale is regarded as meaningless. Of course, if the dealer has a car you want and you’re tired of tire-kickers, it’s not unusual to see buyers barter with an appreciating classic.

The other impressive feature about this Ferrari is the almost-to-100K odometer reading. People simply don’t use these cars to this extent. They either sit mothballed with mileage under 20,000 or become tired projects that fall victim to owners of increasingly smaller means. Rarely to do they live in the middle area where they’re both well-loved and well-used. More unusual than all of that is seeing it at a dealer, swapped for (hopefully) an M3 or M5.

The paint is better than you’d expect for a car with this sort of mileage, and it’s either been repainted or the dealer has a very good detailer on retainer. The color combination is one of the best, and it’s a refreshing change of pace from the typical red on tan. The dealer says extensive service records come with the 308, and it’s also way more interesting than anything BMW is currently selling.


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  1. tvohio


    Looks great, but what $$$are needed for a motor-trans rebuild ???

  2. racer417

    Lots of reasons for this. The car could have been leased, and then go back to the lease company at the end of the term. The lease company will sell it at auction to a dealer. The car could have been repossessed. Another possibility is that the seller may not want, or be able to spend the money to recondition it. Trading a car in to a dealer will also get you a sales tax credit in many states.

    Like 2
  3. Superdessucke

    Beautiful but for 59k, I can think of cars I’d rather buy, starting right there in the showroom of BMW of Akron (M550i, ahem).

    Like 3
  4. DSteele

    I love all Ferraris it doesn’t matter the color, the year, the model, if it has that prancing horse on it I’m all over it even though I can’t afford it.
    I would drive this car every day with a huge smile on my face except for these terrible Michigan winners that’s why I have a Jeep Cherokee for what am I talking about I could never afford this Ferrari but I would love to have it

    Like 2
  5. Enesset

    This blows me away as 10 years ago you couldn’t get $19k for this….historically almost unsellable based on mileage.

    Like 9
  6. John

    It was mine. I own the dealership. Endless servicing. I bought it for 32k. Just running it through the dealership as that’s who has owned it.

    Like 4
  7. alfaguy

    Don’t let the mileage on this scare you away.

    With proper maintenance and some TLC these are pretty reliable cars.

    If there is no service history, plan on a belt service (which does not require engine removal on a 308 or 328) which would include oil seals, belt tensioners, timing belts, water pump, valve cover and end cover gaskets.

    Other concerns would be coolant and fuel hoses if they are original, fuel injectors and the rest of the fuel system. These systems don’t like ethanol, and sitting doesn’t do them any favors.

    All that said, there is a very good possibility that this car would be in better condition and run better than one with 1/3 the mileage.

    84 & 85 are the best years for the QV’s.

    Looks like it’s had a euro bumper conversion, or the front bumper was moved in further than what is original. Popular and common mod on the US cars.

    Values are on the rise, although the market has softened some in the past 2-3 years.

    Remember, there is no such thing as a cheap Ferrari.

    Like 8
  8. Walt

    I wouldn’t be a surprised if there wasn’t at least 20,000 in markup in that car. you should know that a 90,000 mile Ferrari is like trading a 780,000 mile regular car. But here’s the secret nobody’s ever told you about high mile cars! If it’s still running good, that’s always a good indication that it will still be running tomorrow, it could be worth buying.

  9. Ken

    This car is a Great Bad Idea.

    Like 4
  10. aboyandhisdog Tom Member

    Does anybody know what the little “slow down” light is on the dash to the left of the tach? Over-revving safety feature???

    • DeanR

      It’s a warning for overheating catylists.

    • Tim Rohrbach

      I had a 308 and it had a warning light on the left that said “Slow Down Cyl 1-4” and on the right that said “Slow Down Cyl 5-8” I was told it had to do with the catalytic converters overheating. They never came on the entire time I owned the car.

  11. Tin Box

    The ‘slow down’ light is for overheating cats…thermocouple turns it on when your foot has been buried in the carpet too long

    Like 5
  12. ccrvtt

    Ferrari 308 HP – 230.
    ’95 Corvette HP – 300
    Ferrari 308 0-60 – 6.7 sec
    ’95 Corvette 0-60 – 5.4 sec
    Ferrari 308 w/96,000 miles price – $59,000
    ’95 Corvette w/96,000 miles price – $5,900

    Yeah, I’m biased and proud to be an American. On the other hand this IS a Ferrari and ten years from now it will probably be worth $159,000 while the Corvette will be supplying suspension parts to a hot rod builder.

    Or on Barnfinds under the heading, “Should this car be saved?”

    But on a right-now bang-for-your-buck performance basis you can’t beat the bowtie.

    Like 7
    • MDCustom

      Sorry ccrvtt, but in my opinion, Corvettes were ugly from most of the 80s onward. ESPECIALLY the 90s.
      Sure, there are plenty of cars that can outperform and are more comfortable to drive and cheaper to repair, but Pinafarina nailed the design on these ones…

      Like 8
      • ccrvtt

        Sorry MDCustom, but in my opinion, my 1995 Corvette was one of the most beautiful cars ever built. It was all black, with a sinister grace and fluidity of line that rivaled the E-type. If Darth Vader had a car this would have been it. I would take the 308 in a heartbeat and I agree that pf nailed the design.

        Except for the front end, which is awkward, unfinished and ugly.

        But that’s just my opinion…

    • Danh

      I’d pay more to have stereo.

    • David Sanborn

      Why are you comparing an ’85 Ferrari against a ’95 Corvette? Seems a bit odd if not disingenuous…

      • ccrvtt

        Disingenuous implies deceit or duplicity. I’m totally sincere in my position. I agree that Ferraris are iconic, but they are for the most part unobtainable for the common man, many of whom inhabit this forum. I know nothing of your economic standing, in fact you could have an extensive Ferrari collection and be very knowledgeable of the marque.

        I’m not particularly well-off. My Corvette has a bumper sticker that says, “My other car is a minivan.” So I, like many others, view the 308 as a far off dream. But Chevy’s plastic fantastic is a reasonable alternative that is unfortunately (and unfairly at times) maligned and disrespected.

        We marvel at this 308’s 96,000 miles which speaks well of the car’s durability. Check Craigslist and you’ll find that’s the average for the 10-years younger C4’s on the market.

        I’m not a fan of garage queens. I firmly advocate driving the cars and enjoying them. Than would mean putting more than 55 miles a week on them (yeah, I did the math). And thrashing them a bit as well. You wouldn’t think twice about abusing an old Corvette. Who’s going to that to a 33-year old Cavallino?

        So the comparison is apt. The distinction is between drivers and owners.

  13. Dave

    308 looks fantastic, smooth but very little power and maintenance costs are very high. We service them at my shop also help sellers find buyers so I have a bit of experience with them. Manual gearbox is not rare, nearly everyone had it. I recently sold a 34,000 mile car, red with tan and immaculate, had trouble getting 50. I’d be shocked if it brings more than 30, Ferrari buyers don’t like miles…

    Like 2
    • aboyandhisdog Tom Member

      Dave, is there any Ferrari model that could ever be considered for use as a daily driver? Seriously, I mean people pay so freaking much for them, with sane driving, could they ever be thought of as a reliable, quality car to put some miles on in a variety of conditions? Do people in Europe use them differently than in the US where they appear to just be put on a shelf to be looked at and fawned over? It would seem to me that a drivers car ought to be driven. What do you guys think?

      • Harry Kritis

        EU same as in the US. Shelf life!

    • racer417

      Every 308 and 328 was built with a manual 5-speed transaxle.

  14. Dave

    Tom that’s the rub, I want a Testarossa, the problem is that I drive my classic cars every day in summer and that will chop the value in half – on a Ferrari. This 308 is gotta be a reliable car with that many miles. Most of the maintenance can be done very competant mechanic in a home garage, a factory service manual is a must have item and some special sockets. The “belt service” is the most well known and important, if you don’t keep up with it, well there’s some bent exhaust valves on my desk, the Ferrari dealer quoted 419.00 each to purchase, ouch. Fortunately there are Ferrari parts sellers who are fair and there are some very good aftermarket parts too.

    • aboyandhisdog Tom Member

      Thanks, Dave. Are there any particular models (other than the 308) that could realistically be considered a car you could drive every day (putting aside the car’s value for purposes of discussion)? As an example, I had a couple of 911’s in the “80’s and they were cars (and still are) that could be driven day in and day out in any weather conditions and they could be relied on “to get you there”. Has Ferrari ever made a model with the same driver cred? I’m just curious – I could never actually own one, but I’m wondering if Ferrari ever actually made a reliable driver that was relatively simple to work on and maintain. Thanks!

  15. Steve S.

    That’s just a beautiful car. I’m a Sunbeam Tiger guy and the easy to work on Ford 289 in it is easy to build up to 300-400 HP at the wheels (in about a 2500 lb. car). Can something like that be done to that Ferrari motor? Not that I could afford to do it. Just wondering.

  16. Dave

    I’m not up on the most current models, maybe the California, read some of the blogs or youtube

  17. Slick51

    Great car, and the trend now is these less traditional colors. These cars have gone up quite a bit, this car is actually very fairly priced. A traditional service will cost around 4K. However often other issues are found and that price quickly rises. So you gotta be prepared for this. Not fast cars, but who cares, not like we have an autobahn in North America. Great cruiser especially with the targa off.

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