1985 308 GTB QV
1985 308 GTB QV

Weak in the Knees for a Ferrari 308 GTB QV

By Tim Scott

It all started in the 1970s. My passion for cars as a kid was absolute and completely undiscerning. I was as intoxicated by a Matra Simca Bagheera as I was a Fiat X1/9.

School holidays or family trips abroad were spent bothering car showroom salesmen for brochures, and even yielded the occasional jackpot with an invitation to sit inside.

A random love of all things automotive, clearly, but there was always one marque that stood head and shoulders above the rest. Ne plus ultra. Ferrari.

These were the days before Ferrari memorabilia stores in airports, long before Ferrari-branded shoes and golf clubs. Ferrari was special, exotic and, most importantly, exclusive.

This passion shone undimmed right through into my adult life, and, having taken care of such inconvenient responsibilities as mortgages, started to coalesce into a very real plan for ownership.

A V12 was out – by 2010, when I was ready to dive in head-first, prices for the V12s had already gone stratospheric, and although I’d said my passion was absolute, it wasn’t quite so absolute that I’d consider a 400i.

The decision was easy, dictated not just by budget, but by a genuine veneration for the model – the 308.

Introduced in 1975, its sweeping curves and aggressive lines were, and are, one of Ferrari’s great shapes. Mated to a lusty, 255 bhp transversely-mounted engine, it was all-business.

1985 308 GTB QV
1985 Ferrari 308 GTB QV
Lusty 2.9-Litre V8 with 4-valve (Quattrovalvole) heads powered the 1985 308 GTB QV
Lusty 2.9-Litre V8 with 4-valve (Quattrovalvole) heads powered the 1985 Ferrari 308 GTB QV
1985 308 GTB QV
1985 Ferrari 308 GTB QV

My search began, and was underscored by a need to curb my boyish enthusiasms and trade them for a methodical, pragmatic approach.

This lasted perhaps twenty minutes, at which point I spotted an advertisement by respected Ferrari dealer Nick Cartwright in Derbyshire. I made the call, jumped in the car, drove up the M1, and bought it. So much for pragmatic and methodical.

The object of my desires was a 1985 308 GTB QV, in silver (Argento) with Bordeaux/Rosso interior. It had done 27,500 miles, and was immaculate in every way. My knees went weak the minute I saw it.

1985 308 GTB QV
1985 Ferrari 308 GTB QV
1985 308 GTB QV
1985 Ferrari 308 GTB QV
Rare right-hand-drive model 1985 308 GTB QV
Rare right-hand-drive model 1985 Ferrari 308 GTB QV

A week later, it rolled out of a transporter and into my life. A passionate four-year affair started that was notable for its endless thrills and complete lack of drama. There was never a moment when I laid eyes on it that my heart didn’t quicken, and a tremor of excitement ran through me every time the Prancing Horse stared back at me from the steering wheel.

I got it into the studio as soon as I could, eager to capture the lines and do it as much justice as I could. I hope the shots convey something of its sublime beauty. One thing is for sure – there isn’t a bad angle.

I’m sure there are those who will say that 255 bhp in a Ferrari is not exactly plentiful. Power in all its forms is addictive and corrupting, but it was plenty for me, and when clothed in a shape as good as this, it’s not really the point. Add to the mix a barking, urgent exhaust note, and a classic open-gate Ferrari gearbox, and the 308 is elevated to one of the very best mid-engined Ferraris of all time.

My beloved 308 has gone now, replaced by a 1965 Lotus Elan S2. It’s not as pretty, and will supply a very different set of thrills. I’m not even sure why I’ve made the change, but I’m absolutely certain of one thing – this won’t be my first and last Ferrari.

1985 308 GTB QV
1985 Ferrari 308 GTB QV

[Source: Tim Scott]

Show Comments (8)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. You note ways in which your interest in sporty cars began, and I should add mine as we need to learn more about generating the next generations of enthusiasts. Though my father was a “Pontiac man,” he had a copy of one of Tom McCahill’s books, Modern Sports Car, probably bought on one of his many trips for work. That book had all the fine “foreign cars” on its pages, and I remember most the Cunningham, its lines and the story of its maker. It’s hard to pin down what made me a motorhead, but that book certainly helped me toward owning an E Type, a Corvette and a 1920’s open wheel race car. An interest in Ferraris is understandable as we know there is a real man behind their origin, not a board of directors or a committee. We see the car, and think of Enzo, his mind and strong personality that brought it to reality.

  2. Well, my first sports car was a 1966 Lotus Elan S2, purchased brand-new from British Motors in Berkeley, California, unchanged from the ’65 version. After a short while I got my racing license in it (at Cotati, north of San Francisco, now a housing tract-ugh!), then changed to a ’62 Elan that had a slightly lighter body (hand laid cloth vs. chopper fiberglass). I raced in SCCA C-Production for some 3 years, and learned a lot about driving, finishing no lower than 3d in Regional Standings, San Francisco Region. Fun, fun car, but fragile at times. I would urge anyone with a stock Elan to change the rear axles and their easily broken rubber donuts to a CV joint type axle, which are very un-Lotuslike, being utterly reliable. Dave Bean in California used to make them; maybe they’re still available. Other than that, nothing particularly fragile unless one has a collision. In the end, I had a total of 5 Elans, but finally let the last of them go. Too tempting to overdo it…
    Anyway as of now (if anyone’s interested) my current crop (besides a few Land Rovers & a Prius) are a ’35 MG PA under restoration (for a long time, now!), a ’59 Morgan +4, and an ’86 Ferrari 328 GTS. What a car! What the Elan did with some effort in a straight line, the 328 does with ease- or better- and with no fuss at all. In various gears, yet!

    Anyway I hope Tim enjoys the Elan without collecting too many thank-yous from the local constabulary. Also hope he realizes just what he’s given up before another one is beyond his budget.

    BTW were I looking for another Lotus it’s be the Series 2 Elite, perhaps a 1961. Beautiful car, and the Coventry Climax engine is pretty darn nice, too. Not so fast as the Elan but certainly prettier, and very, very elegant, in a minimalist sort of way.!

    Cheers,

    Rich Saylor, Architect
    Monterey, California

  3. Ferrari 308(especially the GTBS) remain fantastic value in the world of collector cars. I have one and its a great drive, looks incredible and has been dead reliable. I am continually astounded by how well built it is-zero rattles, smooth acceleration to redline in all gears and a proper size. I have owned a number of F-cars over the years and the 308 is one of the last that can still be serviced by the owner. Parts are readily available and service costs aren’t too bad if a specialist is needed. I also own a few early Porsches and can’t believe my early 911 is worth many multiples of the 308 value. Buy one while you can.

  4. I had a 1976 308 GTB vetroresina …sold it 2 years ago to finance my chrildrens collage
    education…..it’s better to have loved and lost !! (I believe)

  5. Why sell them — my 328 GTS — provides thrills everytime it gets out on the open road — 70,000 miles and engine still purrs like new ! Hans

  6. In 1998 I saw a 77 308 GTB every day at the workshop I was working at. I bought it and still have it. Thanks to some career redirection, I learned much wrenching on Ferrari products from 2000-2003 and this car benefited greatly. While I seldom drive it, ownership is still important to me. My Fulvia coupe and two Alfas get a bit more road love but no more/less car love. The 308 GTB is a great car and those carbs——-!!

  7. Great article and a wonderful car. I had my dream for 14 years (1977 308 GTB) and enjoyed it. It gave me pleasure to own , look at and drive. I had always wanted to own a Ferrari and it was special in having it. I had passed it on to a new caretaker late last year. It will be something I will always cherish and remember.