By on January 19, 2017


No, not Kato Kaelin. (That’s two OJ references on one day. We’re done. – Ed.)

Mouth-watering classics hit the block at Bonhams’ Scottsdale auction house all the time, but few were ever driven by the embodiment of 1980s masculinity. Well, today’s your chance to clear out your retirement funds and make a bid on one of the most recognizable vehicles in all of TV Land.

The 1980s was far from rough for Thomas Magnum. Fit, mustachioed, and more or less recovered from the horrors of Vietnam, Magnum’s life consisted of living for free on novelist Robin Masters’ Hawaii estate, where he indulged in opulent, seaside surroundings, a wine cellar that Higgins forbid him from entering, free helicopter rides from an overly generous fellow vet, jeans, and a red Ferrari 308 GTS.

A private investigator never had it so good. Well, there were some hardships — especially in those serious episodes. Ivan never saw that bullet coming.

Yes, Magnum P.I. (1980-1988) was the perfect premise for TV audiences in the heady 1980s, and the 308 GTS proved the perfect vehicle for escaping hitmen in Ford Fairmonts. Well, one of the Ferraris used on the show — a 1984 Ferrari GTS Quattrovalvole — can now be yours. It hits the block today in Scottsdale.

The vehicle, which arrived midway through the fourth season, replaced a 1980 308 GTSi and carried Magnum through 1985.

According to Bonhams:

It is believed that there were about five cars of each series used. The cars were destined to be used for one of two distinct purposes: action shots and light action/close-ups, the latter of which were kept in pristine condition. All of the cars used on the show were provided by Ferrari North America. Once a car was no longer in service, Ferrari North America would take the car back, give it a fresh paint job and servicing, and sell it to its “first” owner.

With a detailed ownership history, a 3.0-liter DOHC V8 and just 36,000 miles on the odometer, this model carries an estimated value of $150,000 to $250,000. And yes, there’s no chance that Tom Selleck didn’t drive this car.

Unlike the Testarossa, which added to Miami Vice‘s helping of ’80s excess, the 308 GTS is arguably the last “classic” Ferrari to roll out of Maranello. Grab your Hawaiian shirt, Colt 1911, and checkbook.

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52 Comments on “Car Driven by History’s Most Famous Moocher Goes on the Block...”

  • avatar

    As much as I loved the 308 back then, what I really wanted was T.C.’s Hughes 500D and it’s Reese’s Pieces paint scheme.

  • avatar

    Loved that car…do you get the “Robin 1” plate with it?

    “Favorite ’80s Movie / TV Car?” might be a good QOTD…this one would make the list, along with the Testarossa in “Miami Vice.” I might even include the fake Daytona from that show if I were feeling charitable.

    And the Bluesmobile…for sure.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Well if I had the money I would certainly try to buy this for ‘Er Indoors’. She always liked Tom Magnum/Selleck. And having met him personally, I did not mind. He was a personable, nice guy.

    Not only that but I also liked the show.

    • 0 avatar

      Worth noting: Selleck was originally cast as Indiana Jones, but couldn’t take the role due to the Magnum series. Bummer for him.

      • 0 avatar

        Nice factoid that. I cannot imagine Tom Selleck as Indiana Jones at all.

        • 0 avatar
          Arthur Dailey

          How about James Caan or Burt Reynolds or Ryan O’Neill (a late edit and addition to the list) as Rocky Balboa?
          Or Sean Connery as Gandalf?
          Or Patrick McGoohan as James Bond or Dumbledore?

          Casting is a combination of dumb luck, current tastes, ego and contractual squabbles.

          • 0 avatar

            I can see James Caan in that role for some reason. Connery is a no brainer, maybe McGoohan as Bond (Lazenby and Moore did it after all).

          • 0 avatar

            I wish Lazenby had done say two more Bond films. There was something there in his performance but it needed more fleshing out.

          • 0 avatar

            Patrick McGoohan turned it down. He was so sick of the genre he put his own money into The Prisoner.

          • 0 avatar

            How about Christopher Walken as Han Solo?

          • 0 avatar
            Arthur Dailey

            You know what the Millennium Falcon needs? More COWBELL!

          • 0 avatar

            Other interesting first choices for casting:

            “The Godfather” was originally supposed to have Robert Redford as Michael Corleone and Lawrence Olivier as Vito Corleone.

            Dougray Scott was the first choice to play Wolverine in “X-Men”.

            Jake Gyllenhall almost took over for Tobey Maguire in “Spiderman 2”. Maguire had a back injury (which was actually made into a gag in the scene where he falls from the roof into parked cars, and whines, “my back…”).

            Winona Ryder was originally Mary Corleone in “Godfather III” – she had a nervous breakdown and was replaced by Sofia Coppola, who singlehandedly almost ruined the movie (she proved to be a good director, though…see “Lost in Translation”).

            Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” (he actually did quite a few scenes before the producers figured out he was wrong for the part, then reshot them all with Michael J. Fox – you can see some of the Stoltz scenes on YouTube and Stoltz is way off)

            Genevieve Bujold as Captain Janeway in “Star Trek: Voyager” (like Stoltz, Bujold did some actual filming in the role, and then quit / was fired, with Kate Mulgrew taking over thereafter…Bujold was comically bad in the role)

            And my all time favorite…

            OJ Simpson as The Terminator. Art imitates life.

            (And I’ll go on record and say Selleck would have made a darn good Indy…and the movie probably would have been great on its’ own merits…but Harrison Ford was a GREAT Indy.)

          • 0 avatar

            If memory serves, Pierce Brosnan would have taken over the Bond role sooner but like Selleck, the show he was on (Remington Steele) wouldn’t let him out of his contract.

      • 0 avatar

        True. They wouldn’t let him out of the contract to do the movie.

  • avatar

    Have 308 or air-cooled 911 prices sky-rocketed more in the last 10 years? I remember decent ones in 2007 being like $27K.

  • avatar

    And you can tell it’s a real Ferrari, by all the blue smoke.

  • avatar

    Higgins: Magnum, you are clad only in your undershorts.
    Magnum: Of course I am.
    Higgins: Even for you I find that just a trifle casual.

  • avatar

    I loved that show when I was an adolescent.

    I recently watched a few episodes – needless to say it hasn’t aged very well.

  • avatar

    I love this show and its spinoff, Airwolf.

    Probably the coolest 1-2 combo in the history of television.

  • avatar

    While just about any modern-day family hauler will dust the 308 in a straight line, I still think the 308 is one of the most elegant and beautiful cars. Ever. The 80s were great times for car buffs. Talking cars (KITT), flying cars (well, sort of…if you count the General Lee), beautiful cars (this 308, the Daytona knock-off and the following Testarossa)…if I had the funds, I’d love to have a 308, it wouldn’t even have to be the one from the show.

    If I recall correctly, at one point in time on the series, Tom Selleck bought each of his co-stars 308s. Nice. Wonder how many of them kept their gifts?

  • avatar

    Higgins: You still haven’t explained you’re knowledge of lifts.
    Magnum: And you still haven’t expl- (the lift gives a sudden jolt) … explained why you’re here. I still say you know more than you’re telling. What happened Higgins, did Nahli double-cross you, too?
    Higgins: I came to find my stolen Ferrari.
    Magnum: Oh that’s it! Ha! Ha. That settles it!
    Higgins: Settles what?
    Magnum: You said YOUR Ferrari. Again. You have done that one too many times!
    Higgins: I meant Mister Master’s Ferrari.
    Magnum: No you didn’t. You do lie about yourself, it all adds up; the writing, the little “my” slips of the tongue…
    Higgins: What on earth are you talking about?
    Magnum: The big lie Higgins, admit it! You’re Robin; YOU, are Robin Masters!
    Higgins (laughing): I-I’m laughing at the sheer absurdity of the accusation.
    Magnum: No, no, no, you’re laughing, because you’re trapped. YOU have NEVER laughed like this. Now admit it. You’ve spent all these years,pretending to be Robin’s employee, because you didn’t want anybody to know that you write cheap pulp novels.
    Higgins (laughing wildy): And who, may I ask, is the man we know and address as Robin Masters?
    Magnum: I don’t know, some little guy with a voice like Orson Welles and a body like Truman Capote, that you hired to pose as Robin. And it was very interesting casting. You weren’t satisfied with the nom de plume. You developed this whole persona, to create the kind of playboy you envisioned writing cheap pulp, so YOU could devote yourself to serious writing.
    Higgins (laughing hysterically): Oh… please… I can’t stand it!
    Magnum: You can’t stand the truth. Oh come on please, I remember ALL the little slip ups, like the time Robin called you Sir. And why is it, that you know exactly when he’s going to call, and exactly what he’s going to say. I mean, why does Jonathan Quayle Higgins get these very legal looking letters from Robin’s publishing company?
    Higgins (continuing to laugh hysterically): Well… occasionally, Mister Masters asks me to look over minor documents for him.
    Magnum: Minor documents? Checks, contracts, approvals for galley sheets…
    Higgins (suddenly more serious): You steamed open my mail?
    Magnum: Ah-ha! YOUR mail!? (laughs)
    (they are interrupted by a demolition siren)

    • 0 avatar

      After awhile, I began to get the idea that Higgins was really Robin Masters. I mean, why would he keep that place, and never be there?

      • 0 avatar
        Arthur Dailey

        Originally they did actually have Orson Welles voice Robin Masters.

        However Welles died during the shows run and by then they had sort of segued into the concept of Higgins actually being Robin Masters. And it did work better that way.

    • 0 avatar

      Ivan, Did you see the sunrise this morning?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      I think the writers/producers pulled a George-Lucas-style retcon to make Higgins = Robin Masters. In the first few seasons, Higgins is obviously not Robin, as he and Magnum each have phone conversations with Robin, and there’s even an episode in which Robin comes to the estate (but you never see his face). In later seasons, they started playing around with the idea that Higgins WAS Robin, and pretty much established it as truth with the conversation DeadWeight quotes. Then in the very last episode, Higgins claims to have been lying about being Robin, so it’s left up to the fans to decide.

      Confession: my wife and I had planned a Hawaii trip for our 10th anniversary. When it didn’t work out, she bought all eight seasons of Magnum on DVD instead…

  • avatar

    Aside from the Ferrari, Higgins, and the dobermans, all I really remember from this show as a kid was that Magnum was 8 feet tall and his shorts were borderline inappropriate.

  • avatar

    At the risk of summoning a certain poster named after a certain month, the best part of watching Magnum reruns is the lack of foundation garments worn by the female guest stars.

    • 0 avatar

      At least one of the original Charlies Angles was honest enough to publicly admit “When we were #3 in the ratings I thought it was because it was a good show, when we were #1 I knew it was because we didn’t wear bras.”

      • 0 avatar

        Ah, Charlie’s Angels…the episode where they get thrown into a small town jail and have to do a communal shower was, shall we say, instructive to a certain 13-year-old who just happened to have looked a lot like me…

  • avatar

    That intro theme is magic, used to love this show when I was a kid along with the A-Team.

  • avatar

    There was a set of shows on that defined the ’80s – Magnum PI, The A-Team, Harcastle and McCormick, The Fall Guy, Knight Rider, Riptide, Airwolf, and the Dukes of Hazzard. Each one of them had at *least* one iconic vehicle. As a kid, it was the hook that got you into the action.

    Is there even a show like these nowadays? Does Big Bang Theory have a Challenger? Did Chandler Bing ever hang the ass out on a 550 Maranello?

    (honorable mention to MacGuyver, because, you always honorably mention MacGuyver)

  • avatar

    Way back when, I used to see “Robin1” and “Robin2” drive around quite often even though the studio they used wasn’t that close. And the estate where they filmed the show was a good, long drive away –but thanks to the magic of TV the island of Oahu shrank quite a bit.

  • avatar

    I loved that TV series. It is one of the few shows (maybe the only one) where the gun gets cocked well before the shooting starts. Breaking the 4th Wall and using the actor to narrate was brilliant.

  • avatar

    I’ve read that Tom Selleck was so tall that he didn’t fit in the car. They had to remove some of the cushioning from the seat and remount it at an extra-low position so that his head was mostly below the windshield.

  • avatar

    The second best part of those opening credits is when they had to launch the Ferrari on the shoulder of the road because 308s of that vintage don’t make enough power to spin the tires on dry pavement. That, or the car would have broken.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    Sit Ubu, Sit…
    Good Dog

    Thats about all i remember

  • avatar

    I’m surprised that Tom Selleck could even fit into the 308. A friend of of mine has one that he bought slightly used back in the late 80’s, and it’s got one of those old fashioned long arms/short legs Italian car seating positions, with the steering wheel slightly horizontal and bus-like. Not comfortable at all.

    But damn, is it pretty!

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