Buyers Guide to:
Ferrari 308 GT4
1973 to 1980
The Ferrari Owner’s Club
Even now there are people that say this isn’t a ‘proper’ Ferrari, but ignore them as this stylish coupe very much deserves the Prancing Horse badge. Introduced at the 1973 Paris Motor Show, the GT4 was designed by Bertone – rather than the more usual Pininfarina – and featured a mid-mounted 3.0-litre V8 producing 250bhp. Accompanied by a wonderful sound track, it was enough to push the new car to almost 150mph which was very much what Ferrari buyers expected. Less expected was the fact that it was badged ‘Dino’ for the first three years of production, rather than as a Ferrari, but that certainly doesn’t matter today as owners appreciate the gorgeous looks and 2+2 practicality. Just under 3000 were made before production ended in 1980.
- 1. Front wings
- 2. Windscreen surround
- 3. Doors
- 4. Sills
- 5. Rear wings and wheel arches
- The history and provenance very carefully. Huge restoration costs means a classic Ferrari needs buying with care so engage the services of a respected specialist before taking the plunge
- Every inch of the bodywork for signs of corrosion. The bonnet and boot lid are aluminium and could be suffering from electrolytic corrosion, while the rest of the panels are steel. Replacements are eye- wateringly expensive so be warned
- The chassis for rust or distortion caused by accident damage. It’s a steel frame which usually lasts well, but it’s vital to inspect the yokes where the suspension wishbones attach to the chassis. If there are a lot more spacers on one side of the car than the other it could be because of problems with chassis alignment
- That the V8 engine is healthy as a rebuild can easily exceed £10,000. Excessive smoke or major oil leaks should be viewed with suspicion and will certainly need further investigation. Breakage of the sodium- lled exhaust valves can occur and will be catastrophic for the engine, so ask about any work that’s been done
- For any sign of overheating which will quickly damage the engine. The front-mounted radiator is prone to silting-up, and you need to ensure the electric cooling fans cut in correctly
- The service history as cam belt changes are vital to avoid engine failure. They should be done at 30,000 miles, or two years regardless of mileage. They can be changed with the engine in situ, though
- That the exhaust system and manifolds are healthy; replacing both can result in a £3000 bill at a specialist. Poor running can be caused by carburettors – there are four twin-choke Webers – that are worn or that need setting up correctly. The latter is a specialist job
- The gearbox for an obstructive shift or worn synchromesh, especially between rst and second gear. A rebuild is very costly, although the clutch should last for around 20,000 miles unless abused
- For worn suspension bushes, or rotten mountings points. The brakes should be trouble-free although they could be corroded or seized through lack of use and a complete overhaul is far from cheap
- That the steering is free of play which would indicate wear in joints or the rack. And check the condition of the alloy wheels which could be suffering from corrosion
- That all of the electrics are working, both inside and out. The fuse box is a known weakness and can cause all manner of problems, although replacements are available. Electric windows can be slow to operate, and will usually need a labour-intensive strip down and cleaning to cure the problem
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