The first production V8 Ferrari. The first mid-engine V8 Ferrari. The first mid-engine 2+2 V8 Ferrari. The Dino 308 GT4 was iconic, controversial, and a pivot point for Ferrari all at the same time. Originally debuting under the Dino marque, the GT4 was Ferrari’s second crack at a production car with the mid-engine layout after a shift that was met with much hesitation from Enzo. Even though Enzo was originally skeptical of mid-engine cars, he took a special interest in making the GT4 a phenomenal driving car with a forward driving position, 240hp (in US-spec), perfectly placed pedals, and a driver-oriented cockpit.
While charismatic, Enzo Ferrari was commonly known as a “my way or the highway” type of character. Whether in his racing or road cars, bodies on the ground was his style of business (just ask Henry Ford, John Surtees, etc.). Surprisingly, after decades of collaboration with Pininfarina, Bertone was tapped to pen the new model, the reasoning of which has many theories. Nonetheless it was a bold decision by Enzo that would lay the groundwork for all the following mid-engine V8 Ferraris up the most recent 488.
Marcelo Gandini was a controversial pick; the 308 GT4 was being built at the same time as its elder sibling, the Berlinetta Boxer, Ferrari’s direct response to the Miura and Countach, both of which were designed by Gandini. Gandini was the master of the “wedge,” penning such designs like the Khamsin and Stratos in addition to the Lamborghinis he’s so well known for.
The 2+2 layout makes the GT4 surprisingly spacious (for the driver at least), and with chassis inputs from Niki Lauda, the car is well balanced. The trapezoid, angular shape as seen in many of Gandini’s designs provided a great 360-degree view and plentiful luggage space.
This particular example is a well maintained and documented US-spec 1978 Ferrari 308 GT4 finished in triple red with 43,255 original miles, rare factory-optioned sunroof, and A/C unit (currently removed, included in sale). The car has only seen about 2,000 miles since 2002 according maintenance documentation, though it was freshened up in 2017.
Inside and out, the car presents very well and is in a condition above that of a “driver.” We break the details down below:
Body – The body is in very nice condition with excellent panel fitment. The hood, headlights, and doors operate with no issues. It is straight and shows no evidence of rust or accidents.
Paint – The car was resprayed in it’s original red several years ago. The paint is in nice shape with good gloss, but it should be noted that there are minor rock chips found on the front bumper, grille area, side view mirrors, and along the rocker panels. There is some mild blistering around the license plate panel due to previous excessive exhaust heat. That issue has since been resolved by replacing the catalytic converters several years ago.
Trim & Glass – All trim and badges are present and in excellent condition. The side marker lights and door handles have been repainted red to match the rest of the vehicle. The glass appears to be original and in nice shape with no major flaws to report, as well as the glass and plastic lenses.
Wheels – The wheels appear original and are in good condition with mild curb marks on each to note.
Steering Wheel – The black leather-wrapped steering wheel is original to the car and in beautiful condition.
Dashboard & Instrumentation – The dashboard appears original and in very nice shape. It is free from cracks or major shrinkage. The instrumentation is true to the 43,000 miles on the car and the gauges all present well with clear views.
Seats, Trim & Carpet – The seats were reupholstered in 1998 in their rich red finish and appear in beautiful shape with well-preserved bolsters. The center console is covered in matching red material housing the A/C controls, period-correct Bamburg radio, and switchgear. All trim is intact and presents nicely. The carpet is in good condition, and is protected by floor mats that are a bit worn, but serviceable. The trunk carpet appears original and in nice shape as well.
Engine – Transverse-mounted DOHC 3.0L V8 with four Weber 40 DCNF carburetors. The car displays correct temperatures, great oil pressure, and releases an even better sound. Wiring, lines, and other fittings have been replaced to factory specifications as needed. The compartment appears clean, complete, and original. The oil pans are clean showing no chips and are bearing the proper Ferrari factory numbers and casting marks.
Original Motor – Yes
Engine Number – F106AE*00653
Maintenance – In June 2017, the timing belt, tensioner, and SKF bearings were replaced with receipts. A previous timing belt was replaced in 2011, along with various other services, belts, O-rings, and seals. Prestige Autohouse performed a valve adjustment and cam seal service in 2002, at 41,191 miles.
The Drive – The engine starts without hesitation, warm or cold, with a smooth, healthy idle. The 240 horsepower feels plentiful and the sound of the eight cylinders with four Weber carbs is not only unique, but absolutely delightful.
Transmission – 5-speed transaxle gearbox. In 1996, the car received a new clutch at 38,885 miles. All other related components remain original and without damage.
Original Transmission – Yes
Gearbox Number – Available upon request
The Drive – The car shifts beautifully likely showing the car was not thrashed in its life. The iconic gated shifter provides great feedback and is extremely pleasurable to move through the gears.
Handling – Disc brakes, independent suspension via wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, front and rear anti-roll bars.
Maintenance – Four new QA1 shocks and coil-over springs were installed last year, as well as a brake service.
The Drive – Both steering and brakes have great feedback and inspire confidence.
This GT4 remains almost entirely original, and is in well-maintained, above-driver condition.
Flashlight and cover
Jack with appropriate bag
Non-original items include:
The car was factory ordered with the rare A/C option, however, the unit has since been removed (included in sale with related components).
Various mechanical components that have been replaced during the regular course of maintenance
Receipts and records dating back to 1989 are included in the sale, as well as a book indicating its original sale date in 1980 in California.
Other important included documents are as follows: a Blaupunkt Service brochure, Blaupunkt Berlin 8000 owner’s manual, Blaupunkt wiring diagram with booster installation supplement, Blaupunkt Equalizer pamphlet, Dino 308 GT4 consumer information pamphlet , Dino 308 GT4 owner’s manual (North American Version 1978), Dino 308 GT4 North American Version Owner’s Manual (the book itself), Sale and Service Organization booklet, Warranty Card and Owner’s Service Book, and the Canvas Book Packet cover.
Finally Ferrari – In its first five years of production (’73 – ’78), the GT4 was badged as a Dino. Though the GT4 and its predecessors are commonly accepted as Ferraris in modern times, the final two years of production were the ones that ultimately received the Prancing Horse logo from the factory in the period.
Unusually Ferrari – With the exception of the 250 GT “Speciale,” effectively a coach built unicorn, the involvement of Gandini and Bertone is significant here in that it is the first time the names were involved with Ferrari in a production car capacity. If you consider roughly 90% of Ferrari design is attributed to Pininfarina, there is an immediate rare factor in a car designed at Bertone. Consider this: the Ferrari Daytona, a quintessential front-engine V12, finished production in 1973 just as the Dino GT4, a Gandini wedge, was rolling off the assembly line; undoubtedly interesting times at the factory.
Exceptionally Ferrari – This is a $50k Ferrari. It’s a ticket into interesting classic Ferrari ownership for the price of a top Alfa GTV. Its 2+2 successor, the Mondial, was not as pretty or as nice to drive as the GT4. This particular example, in triple red, makes it even more special. And remember, Elvis Presley had one.