Digestible Collectible: 1985 Ferrari 308 GTSi QV

Chris Tonn
by Chris Tonn
digestible collectible 1985 ferrari 308 gtsi qv

As a proud member of the Brown Car Appreciation Society, I had to share this magnificent example of Italian history. Sure, Ferrari may call the color “Prugna Metallica” — or metallic purple for us Anglos — but it’s brown to my eyes (and that of the dealers’ camera).

This is perhaps the only way to fly under the radar in a Ferrari.

I doubt I’ll ever own a Ferrari as three conditions are conspiring against me: the upward trend in the value of nearly all exotic classics; the terrifying parts and maintenance costs; and I can’t fit into the cheapest Ferrari, like this 1985 Ferrari 308 GTSi QV. Famously, Tom Selleck’s 6-foot-4-inch frame couldn’t fit in Magnum’s 308 GTS with the targa roof in place. And I’m just as tall as Mr. Selleck, though my facial hair isn’t nearly as distinguished.

There appear to be plenty of service records, always a plus with any older exotic. The leather is faded, and possibly has some odd transfer of blue denim dye. No worries, though: this looks like a Ferrari I (well, someone smaller than I) could hop in and drive cross-country without fear of a few stone chips.

The eBay auction has a reserve price set, but a quick look at the dealers’s website reveals a $54,500 ask. Five years ago, this was a $25,000 car. I’m not certain they’ll get more than forty thousand, though, considering the non-red paint. I like different, though, so this appeals to me.

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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  • Boxerman Boxerman on Jan 20, 2016

    I have this cars big brother the 512BBI and have owned it for near on 25 years. The coments here are interesting. Basicaly you can boil down the perspectives to those of (A) auto enthusiasts and (B) everyone else, a category that may also include people who can buy fast cars but have no real clue of the art and pleasure of driving for the own sake.. As a kawasaki/ducati racer said to me in the 70's, its not about how fast you go, but how you go fast that counts, and thats when kawasaki had much more hp than a ducati. Would you rather fly a p51 mustang or a faster airbus? In the past Ferraris were never about 0-60 and were all about how they flowed down the road at speed. Their singularity of purpose, and styling that came from an artists eye (not legislation) always required an owner who understood. A 308 QV has all the attributes of a classic ferrari. It can happily flow along pinging of the redline if you want between 60-130 mph for days on end, the motor singing to you, the unassisted steering talking to you, The whole car alive around you. Its an imersive experience appreciated by those who simply love to drive. Others are udoubtably happier in a faster easier to find service mercedes sl or lexus. As to running costs. Most parts are not expensive. But certain things are labor intesive, so if you cant do the work yourself that componant can add up. Its important to find one that has not had defered maintance. Old cars need new hoses, brake caliper rebuilds, new bushings on top of whatver is a normal maint item. Many owners think their cars run well because they just run. If you want an older ferrari to run properly all of the above either need attention or a prior owner has already attended to them. If not thats an extra 5-10K(with labor) to sort. The ferraris of this era also have cams driven by belts, a belt change is something to do every 5-7 years at which time most people rebuild water pumps and attend to a few other things. If you cant do this work yourself its another 5-7K, parts wise less than 1k. Besides this, a 308 needs its oil changed every year and you should do brake fluid every two. But its frame tarnsmsiion and mtoor are very robust, so high speed use will not harm them in the least, unlike many other so called fast cars, these cars were built tough enough to have their performnce exploited daily. Yes maintanance is going to cost, you are also buying an asett. Something to keep which will over a period of time appreciate as opposed to new car depreciation, keep it long enough and this appreciation balances maintanace costs. As these cars are classics, they are not going to be superceded by next years model, if you like it now, it will be the same likable 10 years from now. Its somehting of timelss quality and attributes, something to buy keep and enjoy. On that basis these cars are not expensive compared to any other similar enetertainemnt over a period of time. As to use, this is a sunday early am drive, preferably on smooth twisty two lane road, in which case it clears the mind and rewards in a way few other cars can. Its not for going to the supermarket, although it can, and if you get stuck in traffic on a hot day, the car wont overheat, but you certainly will with the subotimal ac and the heavy clutch/shift. I cant think of any new car that will offer the same experince, and most of the older stuff which is a comparable classic experience is many multiples more to buy. If you ever lament a car getting too expensive because of poseurs and speculators, and can swing a 308 before that happens then do. 10 years from now or less this will be hailed as THE starter classic ferrari. Rememebr when 246 dinos were 13k.

    • Pbr Pbr on Jan 22, 2016

      Glad you brought up Ducati ... a Duc/Aprilia/Guzzi/etc is an Italian exotic that actually A) raises my heart rate, B) I can afford and C) fits in my garage & DIY-willingness zone.

  • Superdessucke Superdessucke on Jan 21, 2016

    Why the lack of photos of the interior, undercarriage, and engine? Why is a brown 1985 car bid up to 30k? I guess I don't understand the world anymore.

  • Davew833 Davew833 on Jan 21, 2016

    I remember seeing one of these on display at the mall in 1985. It was this very same color. I remember thinking it was quite beautiful in person and not as ostentatious as every other red Ferrari out there.

  • Chan Chan on Jan 22, 2016

    I see a few people harping on the lack of interior pictures. They're on the eBay page; scroll all the way down.