One Owner: 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS

For those of us who can clearly remember the 1980s, one of the most iconic cars to grace our tv screens regularly was the red Ferrari 308 GTS driven by Tom Selleck in the series Magnum, P.I. I can’t begin to explain how much I wanted that car. I figured that from behind the wheel, I could easily morph into the character of Thomas Magnum. All I needed was that car, the mustache, the Hawaiian shirts, the looks…who was I kidding? Anyway, this 1978 308 GTS is a one-owner car that appears to have been treated with care and respect. The owner admits that he is now getting a bit old to enjoy his pride and joy, so he has come to the tough decision to part with it. Therefore, he has listed it for sale here on Craigslist. It is located in Bal Harbor, Florida, and the price has been set at $50,000. A big thank you has to go out to Barn Finder rex m for referring this Italian thoroughbred to us.

The 308 GTS came from the styling house of Pininfarina and is a stunning looking car. I think it marks a high point for Ferrari, and they didn’t achieve a similar level of styling beauty until they introduced the 458 Italia in 2009. It seems only fitting that this GTS is finished in red because that is their most iconic color. In this case, it is a shade called Rosso Chiaro, and it shines beautifully. The owner has parked the vehicle in a climate-controlled garage since new. He says that the paint is original and that the Ferrari has never suffered any accident damage. There are no signs of any chips or scratches on the paint and no apparent glass issues. The trim and plastic look perfect, while the same is true of those beautifully made original alloy wheels.

This is where I would so like to be right now. The view from behind the wheel of a GTS is nothing if not purposeful. You look through a beautiful flat 3-spoke steering wheel at a collection of clear and concise gauges. The leather seats hug you firmly, while a stubby, gated shifter rests next to your right leg. How good is that? There is only this single shot of the interior, but it does paint a positive picture. There are no signs of any wear problems, and the dash seems to be perfect. This is a sports car, so the interior appointments tend to favor function over fashion. However, buyers will still receive air conditioning, power windows, and a Blaupunkt radio/cassette player.

I wish that the owner had supplied some engine photos because the 2,927cc V8 that fills the engine bay of a GTS is a work of art. This mid-mounted quad-cam beauty pumps out 240hp, which finds its way to the rear wheels via a 5-speed manual transaxle. The 308 GTS is a surprisingly heavy car, tipping the scales at 3,225lbs. Even so, it is still capable of covering the ¼ mile in 15.1 seconds and will wind out to a top speed of 151mph. The news with this classic is all good. It has been carefully maintained throughout its life and has a genuine 33,000 miles showing on the clock. It recently received a major service that included replacing the clutch, the belts, and belt tensioners. Throw in shocks, suspension bushings, oil, and filters, and it’s easy to see how this all added up to a staggering $12,000. That also means that this Italian stallion is ready to hit the road with a new owner behind the wheel.

There are only three things that are stopping me from buying this Ferrari 308 GTS. It’s too far away for me, I don’t have the money, and more importantly, I think that my wife would probably notice it parked in the garage. Otherwise, I would be all over this. Modern supercars are all well and good, but there’s something extraordinary about cars like this GTS. All of the driver aids provided in a 458 Italia can make almost any driver look like Sebastian Vettel, but cars like this 308 don’t have those luxuries. They represent a driving experience at its purest and require skill and a touch of bravery if the absolute best is to be extracted from them. Alternatively, they can be driven more sedately, and the occupants can revel in the sweet music emanating from that beautiful V8. I can’t see a down-side to this Italian classic, and I will envy the person who eventually becomes its next owner. I am available to act as their chauffeur, and I’ll even do it for free.


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  1. Robert May

    Great price especially since the major service has recently been done. Might be a bargain at $50k.

    Like 5
  2. Jim in FL

    Agree the price isn’t a person fishing, it’s a fair price for someone who is honest and is ready to sell. I may look at this, as I’m close enough to buy and drive home. I always felt a 308 was a bucket list car but too pricey. This is showing me there are still decent examples in the obtainable range. I’m sure these will appreciate, but I would drive the wheels off this.

    Like 6
  3. Haig L Haleblian

    A bargain. If I didn’t already own a 308, I’d be all over this one.

    Like 5
    • walter

      you own one??? do you have any pictures? thats so cool man

      Like 2
  4. JoeNYWF64

    This is indeed THE color for this car! But, ’73 corvette non chrome front bumper dislikers take note of THESE bumpers. & this is a Ferrari.
    I would have to see those not so impressive looking door mirrors in person.
    The smaller/fatter pre-’77 pontiac formula steering wheel & the one here are my favs.
    More fender behind the front wheels would remove the intrusive to the interior wheelwells.
    Potholeproof wheels.
    Is the high maintenance cost due to labor charges or the parts themselves?
    Oil & filter are cheap, but Rockauto is of no help at all for the other parts. lol

    Like 2
  5. Murray Shane


    Like 1
  6. Rich

    This was an excellent price for what appears to be an honest clean example. It seems that we found a seller who was honest, realistic, and not a greedy turd. Best to the seller and buyer. Very refreshing to see some sanity in 2020 for a change.
    Now I have to go search out a “deal” on a rodent infested, no interior or engine, Swiss cheesed Camaro or Mopar from some fool who “knows what he has.” Ha! Ha! No…
    Happy to see that not everyone is a self deluded, greed filled, imbecile, maybe there is hope for 2021 to be better after all.

    Like 5
  7. rex m Member

    Finders Fee??

  8. martinsane

    Seemed a beautiful cat and an excellent price. Seems weird only 50k when Lambos of same years are 5 times that?
    Regardless great rig and i am sure the new owner is pleased with their purchase.

    Like 2
    • t-bone bob


  9. Kendra Member

    Not surprising the ad disappeared quickly at that price and condition.

    I purchased an ’83 308QV (same color combo) in the mid 1990s, drove it over a decade. Absolutely reliable although the timing belt service is a bit shocking and unavoidable. Or plan to spend a week wrenching.

    I really miss that car. My snowboard fit just fine with the top removed when ski slopes were open in the spring.

    Like 2
  10. Russ Ashley

    I worked for about a year at a place that bought, sold, and serviced Ferraris. The owner stayed on the internet looking for any thing related, and bought two flooded ones after Katrina in 05. I lost any desire to own a Ferrari after my job there after helping to dismantle a few, and also due to the ridiculous price of the parts and service.

    Like 1
  11. David Miraglia

    Good deal for a older Ferrari, but still out of my price range.

    Like 1
  12. Mark

    50 grand for a slug that would get blown off the road by a V6 chevy citation.

    • Russ Ashley

      Mark, I’m not a Ferrari lover by any means, but I have driven a Ferrrari just like the one in this article, and I would like to ride in your Chevy Citation.

  13. roland schoenke

    I would own this in a heart beat if I could afford the servicing, it’s one of my favorite poster cars from my youth. And I never missed an episode of Magnum PI.

  14. William

    I hear these are not too hard to work on if you are reasonably competent in the garage but the price of parts will make you cry in your sleep. There really is no call for parts being so expensive, I am sure they cost no more to make and distribute then the stuff you buy at the local Walmart auto center. I guess, if you want to play you have to pay. Ferrari was smart to market to the elite, because you CAN put a price on showing off that many are more then willing to pay.

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