What on earth was Ferrari thinking when the sinuous pre-Raphaelite curves of the Dino 246 gave way to the cloddishly angular 308GT4? That’s what a lot of people thought back then of Bertone’s first production Ferrari – Maranello’s very own cheese-wedge TR7.
The 308GT4 is only now beginning to make sense. It was notionally the marque’s first mid-engined 2+2 – which Bertone achieved by thrusting the seats forwards, making the model look liable to trip up head-over-heels at any moment.
Yet there was no quibble about the quad-cam 3-litre V8, the firm’s first production-car unit, later destined to be coupled with the less visually challenging 308GTB. At 250bhp the 308GT4 could better 150mph, and was acclaimed for being fast but not harsh, poised, flexible and smooth. It worked. And that’s the point.
Back then, the 308GT4 didn’t really catch on. Yet today, compared with the faddish garnish of the narcissistic 308GTB, its blunt straightforwardness speaks of connoisseurship – a car appreciated for what it is: a pure thing. It’s not only a lot cheaper than a GTB; some say it’s better.
Closing the gap on its more traditionally styled relation
• In the 1990s most auctioned 308GT4s reached under £10,000. 308GTBs were double the money.
• In 2001, a 1977 308GT4 rebuilt for £45,000 sold at auction for £10,200.
• Top auction price since 2005 has been £16,000, but 308GT4s are slowly gaining on 308GTBs.
• Retromobile saw a very nice ’75 308GT4 fail to make its £15,500 reserve.
• £20,000 now gives you huge choice.