Unearthed: 1976 Ferrari 308 GT4

Classic Cars

While the 458 Italia may be one of Ferrari's best models yet, the old 308 helped pave the way for mid-engine design.

For many years, people were accustomed to seeing front-engined Ferraris only. Even Enzo Ferrari himself favored that design. However, things began to change in the late 60s when the Dino came out with its mid-engine layout. Originally powered by a 2.0-liter V6, the Dino brand was meant to be used for models with engines that had fewer than 12 cylinders. Named after Enzo Ferrari's late son, Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, the entire Dino lineup has gone on to become some of the most valuable and sought-after Ferraris ever.

And the 308 GT4 is one of them. Not only was it groundbreaking for its Bertone designed wedge styling, but it was also the first Ferrari ever to be powered by a V8. As we know clearly well today, the mid-engine V8 layout is now one of the Italian automaker's most profitable configurations. The owner of this 1976 308 GT4 had to do some major repair work to the engine in order to get it running. It was first sold back in 1977 in California and it even required a full engine rebuild in 1987 due to a timing belt break.

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Its next owner drove it very little around California and when he had service work done to it in 2000, it had 62,060 miles on the odometer. In 2009, there was only 62,198 miles. A couple of years later it was put up for sale again on Craigslist. Before the current owner bought it, he inspected it and discovered that it had another engine rebuild in 2007. Unfortunately, the previous owner ran out of time and money and his mechanic hadn't done anything to tune the car after the engine had been put back in. After towing it home, some maintenance was required such as rebuilding the four Weber carbs with new rings and gaskets and adding new spark plugs and wires.

He also fixed a large crack in the rear exhaust header. Painted in Avorio Safari, this factory original paint color is quite rare, as only 34 Avorio Safari cars were built at the factory throughout the entire 308 GT4 production run. And only 15 of those were for the American market. Its 3.0-liter V8 produces an output of 230hp, but the European version had 250hp. It's great to know that it's now in hands of an owner who went about doing the desperately needed mechanical upgrades to get this Italian beauty running again. Photos courtesy of sbarer.

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