1979 Ferrari 308 GTB

The much-anticipated replacement for the revolutionary Dino 246 broke ground at the 1975 Paris Auto Salon. New from the ground up, the V8-powered 308 signaled Ferrari’s full embrace of the mid-engine sports car formula pioneered by the Dino 246 GT. Maranello had been tentative about the Dino, avoiding Ferrari badging in the event buyers rejected the idea of a compact mid-engine Ferrari. But their fears were quickly abated by the little Dino’s remarkable popularity, so while the 308 was still part of the Dino family, it was granted full Ferrari status and proudly carried the legendary badges on its nose and tail. The 308 GTB and open-topped GTS were penned at Pininfarina, and while the GTS substantially outsold the GTB, the slick-top Berlinetta is preferred by many collectors for its purity of form and purpose.

This highly desirable 1979 308 GTB is a superb example of Ferrari’s iconic sports car, showing just over 58,000 miles from new and boasting exceptionally well-documented history. Finished in a beautiful and rarely seen shade of metallic blue over tan upholstery, it is a long-time California car that remained in the care of one fastidious owner from 1979 through 2015. It is accompanied by a large stack of California registration receipts, service records, Ferrari Classiche Red Book certificate of authenticity, and much more.

According to the original window sticker on file, chassis 28609 was delivered through Ferrari of Los Gatos to Dr. Ronald Yee of Sacramento, California. The only option listed is the Blu Dino metallic paint, which was a substantial $670 extra cost. Correspondence on file shows that while the car was still under warranty, Dr. Yee noticed the original finish was failing – a not uncommon occurrence in the late 1970s. Ferrari of North America covered the repairs, entrusting Wes Lasher Ferrari to perform a complete respray on their dime. The color they applied is a shade darker than the original, but it suits the shape beautifully, and the second time proved a charm as the paintwork survived the ensuing years remarkably well.

Mr. Yee eventually sold his cherished 308 to a fellow Sacramento-based enthusiast who was also a Ferrari Club of America concours judge. That owner continued to care for the car without regard to cost, showing it in various West Coast events, earning an FCA Platinum award along the way. In 2018, it found its first owner outside California, where it continued to receive meticulous maintenance. Service records show it had a comprehensive service exceeding $20,000, including a timing belt change, clutch replacement, suspension overhaul, fluid changes, and more. It was at this time it received its Classiche Certification, verifying its factory-correct specification and original engine/gearbox.

Today, this 308 remains a beautifully preserved example inside and out. The paintwork is in excellent order, with a few minor blemishes consistent with its 40-plus years and 58,000 miles. The gorgeous yet understated shade of dark blue proves that Ferraris don’t always look their best in red, and it highlights the beauty and purity of the fixed-roof GTB’s shape. Fit and finish of the bodywork is to factory appropriate standards, and the car rides on excellent Cromadora 5-spoke alloy wheels shod with proper 205/70-VR14 Michelin XWX tires. The bumpers and trim are all in superb order, and the boot houses the factory tool kit and jack in their original vinyl pouches.

The tan interior trim displays the inviting character of a cherished, unrestored car, and the leather is supple and clean with minimal wear on the seat bolsters. Door panels, sills, tan carpets, and the black leather dash are all in excellent order. Gauges, switches, and controls display minimal wear, including the console-mounted HVAC levers and period-correct Blaupunkt AM/FM/8-Track player.

The honest and authentic character continues under the engine lid, where the sizeable wrinkle-finish airbox largely obscures the original numbers-matching 3.0-liter V8. Many aficionados prefer these carbureted two-valve cars for their snappier power delivery compared to the injected models, as well as the rorty induction noise from the quartet of Webers. This example runs beautifully, with good power and precise gearshift once the fluids are up to full operating temperature. Detailing is true to factory standards, with proper hardware, plumbing, and fittings. The undercarriage is similarly well-detailed, with correct finishes on the suspension and brake components, all of which are well-documented in the Classiche report.

Thanks to the efforts of a string of dedicated enthusiasts, this beautiful and desirable 308 GTB is fabulously well-preserved and ready for enjoyment. It is an outstanding example of what made the 308 such an icon – lusciously shaped and a marvelously focused tool for driving, it is as beautiful to look at as it is to use and will undoubtedly be a welcome addition to any enthusiast’s stable.


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