1985 Ferrari 308 GTSi QV - SOLD
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You can spend more money on a Ferrari, but you probably won't get one that can attract more attention.

When dealing with icons, it's often difficult to know where to start. Is this 1985 Ferrari 308 GTSi Quattrovalvole important because of what it is, or what it represents to pop culture, or both? Values on these cars have been skyrocketing for the past three years, and again, is that because people of a certain age are expressing their love for a vehicle that speaks to them on an emotional level, or because these really are wonderful cars to own and drive, or perhaps because the high tide of Ferrari pricing is finally floating all the boats?

So instead of talking about the big picture and investments and the volatile nature of owning an exotic, I thought I would instead talk about the car itself, because there are legends and then there's reality. Fortunately for you, this car more than measures up and the important facts are these: just one owner for the past 25 years, service records, books, manuals, and tool rolls are included, it is documented with its original window sticker, it is the more desirable Spyder variant with a removable roof, it has the optional Euro-spec front spoiler, and it was recently and comprehensively serviced to the tune of more than $8600, making it a turn-key Ferrari you can enjoy without worries.

Let's move on, shall we?

1985 was the final year of 308 production and it was an abbreviated year at that, as the facelifted 328 came online in August. For many enthusiasts, the latest is often the greatest and there's a valid argument to be made here. The 4-valve heads added horsepower that the Bosch fuel injection took away, creating a car that was at once faster and more reliable, not to mention emissions-friendly, compared to its older siblings. The Pininfarina-styled body was angular yet seductive and there are many who will argue that nothing prettier has been built in Maranello since. I'm not going to debate the relative merits of the car's evolution and which particular sub-model is most desirable, since each enthusiast has to make his own choice, but this car is entirely impossible to ignore, even when it's sitting still. There's not a wrong line on it anywhere and personally, I prefer the satin black louvers and grilles on the hood, fenders, and deck lid, which add a degree of aggression that was lacking in the earlier monochromatic models. The heavy American-spec bumpers do nothing to diminish the stunning overall look, probably because most of us are already accustomed to their appearance, and the slashing arrow-like cove on the sides is the best ever example of form following function. You can spend more money on a Ferrari, but you probably won't get one that can attract more attention.

The original owner was a lady in Nashville, TN, and we don't have much information about her beyond her name on some of the original purchase documents. We do have the original window sticker showing that Thoroughbred Motorcars was the dealer of record, and that window sticker does indeed match the car's specifications today, including the $535 Euro-spec front spoiler. After that, it made its way to Pennsylvania in 1988 although receipts seem to show that a bank was paying for the maintenance—odd. It was purchased by its most recent owner in May 1992 with approximately 32,000 miles showing on the odometer. Today, 25 years later, it shows just over 46,000 and includes tens of thousands of dollars' worth of service receipts because it was cherished by its caretaker. Whatever this car needed, it got, it's that simple.

Today, the car is simply gorgeous, glowing in correct Rosso Corsa red paint that really is the only proper color for a 308. We believe it to be factory paint and if it has been repainted, it was done prior to the long-term owner's tenure and we can find no traces of sloppy workmanship or errant masking. It's just beautiful in person with very few demerits. Yes, there are some chips on the low front spoiler and behind the wheels, but none of the panels have ever been bent, tweaked, or dinged, and the car shows the kind of deep shine that only time and hand-polishing can offer. For $60,905 1985 dollars, you did indeed get a carefully-crafted, hand-built automobile. Exacting panel gaps show off precise assembly that should embarrass cross-town rival Lamborghini, whose cars at this time often resembled home-built kits. The doors open and close with the kind of authority that you'd expect from Mercedes-Benz not a hand-built Ferrari and if this car has ever seen rain, I would be surprised (in fact, our photo shoot was the first time the removable top panel had been installed since at least 1992). The black bumpers are unmarked, the satin black grilles are in excellent condition, not faded and chalky, and the unique wing over the top of the rear window appears to be wrapped in black vinyl that's in almost new condition. I love looking at this car so much that I have it parked right outside my office door so that I see it every time I look up.

The handsome Connolly leather interior is entirely original and in excellent condition. Yes, there are a few signs of use and age, most notably some scuffing on the driver's outer seat bolster, but it's well in line with the car's age and mileage. Original carpets, door panels, and even the dash pad are in outstanding condition with no UV damage, cracks, or dryness. You settle in with a typical Italian "gorilla" driving position (short legs, long arms) and the grippy leather-wrapped steering wheel will hard-wire itself to your cerebellum the moment you turn the key. Big Veglia gauges give you a clear view of the engine's health and they're all fully functional, including the oil temperature gauge and clock down on the center console. In fact, everything works on this car: A/C (such as it is—keep your expectations modest), AM/FM/cassette stereo radio, power antenna, power windows, power mirrors, and even the heat is decent for those cool evenings. I bet the windshield wipers have never been used and there are no scratches on the windscreen to suggest they have. The leather on the console remains firmly affixed to the various curves and panels, and I'm particularly amused by the "SLOW DOWN" warning light on the dash whose actual function is hard to divine. As I mentioned, we were the first to install the removable targa roof panel in two-and-a-half decades and it's remarkably light and easy to manage by yourself. Push it into place on the windshield header, then secure two latches in the back. Voila! That's the original spare tire up front, never used, while the zippered cargo bay in the back remains neatly finished with original black carpets. Travel light!

But you don't buy a Ferrari because you need to haul luggage, you buy it because you want a gorgeous dance partner who can also carry on an intelligent conversation, and it is here where the 308's many virtues are most apparent. Thanks to the Bosch fuel injection system, it starts instantly and idles perfectly every time. It bumps up to about 1700 RPM when it's cold, then drops down to about 900 RPM where it'll stay for the rest of the trip. It pulls 240 horsepower out of the 3.0 liter DOHC V8, which by today's standards seems modest but in application makes the 308 absolutely delightful to drive. You can use far more of its performance envelope than today's 600-horsepower supercars, which is why it's a superlative dance partner. If you're good enough, the 308 will go anywhere you want on the dance floor with style and grace. Then there's the scintillating exhaust note, which sounds kind of crude at idle and low speeds, but increases to a thrilling tenor howl as you run through the rev range, and the sounds that this car makes are a big part of the experience. It never gets hot, even on the warmest days, and is content to sit in traffic without complaint. It is the rare supercar that is also usable as a car.

The engine bay is tidy and clean, not concours, but that's OK—you're going to drive your Ferrari, aren't you? There's evidence of proper and recent service everywhere you look and original fasteners and clamps were retained whenever repairs were required. Original decals and warning tags remain in place as well as factory finishes on things like the bright red intake manifold and plated fuel injection components. The engine cover takes a gentle hand to balance on its pneumatic struts, which are getting tired, but then again, they're 35 years old—your call on whether to replace them, but they do hold the lid up. Belts, coils, ignition components, water pump, thermostat, and other parts are all recently installed and the previous owner was the founder of a large oil-change company, so you know it has always had fresh oil in the crankcase.

The "dogleg" 5-speed manual transmission takes some acclimation to really feel comfortable and at first you'll be looking down to be sure you've selected the right gear. As you've surely heard, it takes some mastery to get it right, and it isn't just brute force but it isn't all finesse, either. Once you figure out the combination, you'll never miss a shift again and you'll shift with confidence. Warm it up before you run it hard because the synchros are a little sluggish when it's cold, but otherwise the driving experience remains vice-free. The ride is firm but not bone-jarring, certainly well in line with something that slices through corners like a scalpel, and if you wanted to use a supercar every day, this would be a fine choice. Everyone raves about how the Acura NSX made the supercar civilized, but I can't imagine that it could be much better than this Ferrari. Brakes are, as you'd expect, powerful and fade-free and the exhaust definitely has the right sound with twin pipes barking just below the rear bumper.

This 308 also offers all its original manuals, a complete tool roll, jack bag, and a binder full of receipts and invoices that reflect its service history. The important notes are that the belts have been changed by noted expert Earl Gibbs at North Coast Exotics and the water pump has been recently replaced. This is a no-stories GTSi that rightfully deserves to be at the top of the 308 food chain.

I won't lie to you, I'm in love with this car. I can't resist touching it as I walk by and I find myself stopping to admire it every time I'm near. I know that Ferrari owners and buyers are particularly concerned about pedigrees and service history, and again, this car gets everything right with a spotless record and responsible long-term ownership with an experienced enthusiast who had the means to treat it right. It remains fully functional in every way. 308s are appreciating faster than almost any other Ferrari at the moment, which might suggest that they have either been criminally under-valued for too long or that enthusiasts are realizing that they are delightful cars to own. And if you're of a certain age like I am, there's a theme song linked to a mustachioed private eye that will play in your head every time you turn the key. Come see this car and fall in love—you won't have any other choice.

Vehicle: 1985 Ferrari 308 GTSi QV
Price: SOLD
Stock Number: 114027
Mileage: 46,433
VIN: ZFFUA13A2F0058405
Engine: 3.0 liter DOHC V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Gear Ratio: 4.0629999999999997
Wheelbase: 92.1 inches
Wheels: 16-inch Cromodora
Tires: Front: 205/55/16, Rear: 225/50/16 Goodyear
Exterior Color: Rosso Corsa
Interior Color: Tan leather
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