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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Dino-Ferrari 308 GT4 Questions


I recently viewed an all original 3 owner 1975 Dino-Ferrari 308GT4, the asking price of $28K seems to be in line with what the market bears for these cars. However there are several issues that concern me.

1) The speedo does not work and the odometer reads about 54K miles. The owner confirmed that it recently quit working.
2) the brake warning light on the instrument cluster is on. Although the pads, rotors and fluid have all been refreshed. The brakes stop the car fine without any pulling left or right.

3)the engine starts and runs fine but I noticed that smoke comes up through the engine bay, near to the oil cooler on the right side of the bay, after about 5min of running at idle speeds. Revs are very smooth up to 7K rpm.

Some of the good points IMHO are:

1) There appears to be no rust and the car is original to California.

2) I can actually fit my 6'4" plus frame into this car and it has plenty of leg and head room for me.

3) Very nice civilized ride quality and the car/engine comes alive when pushed so it seems to be healthy.

All advice and opinions on these cars is very welcome.

Thanks in advance!

P.S. The passenger side door and rear 1/4 panel has some of the typical door dings. most are dime to quarter size ect...are these panel areas on this car fairly easy to get at by a paint less dent removal experts?

584 Posts

I can answer a couple of your questions.

I'd guess that the brake warning light is on because one or more of the floats in the brake reservior that sense low fluid cracked and filled up with fluid--upon which it sinks to the bottom, closes the circuit, and then the check engine light comes on. Same thing happened to by '74 GTV. It's no big deal, just get new floats.

I'd guess, from your description, that the smoke is due to a minor oil leak and the oil is dripping on to the exhaust manifold.

I too am interested in possibly getting one of these cars, if you don't buy please let me know where it is.

Doug Bender

2,426 Posts
Sorry to be late in replying. I seem to recall that the rake light comes on with the handbrake and it may well be just adjustment of the micro switch.
As for the smoke, Alfabender has hit the nail on the head, minor oil leak onto the manifold. Run you finger along the underside of the rearmost cam cover and see if there is oil escaping. Very usual.
GT4s are great, I had one as my everyday car for five years in central London and I really regret selling it. I don't like to recall the heavy steering when parking though!

354 Posts

Hi Timo-
I owned a 79 308GT4 for a few years. I think I have a buyers guide article in an old Forza magazine. I'll try to find it tomorrow and attempt to scan and post.
Here's what I can tell you. I apologize if you already know some of this.
There were 3 series of GT4s. Series 1 were '74-76 (I believe)
Series II were 77-78 and Series III were '79-80. I may be off a year so I will verify when I find the article. There are varying opinions of which were best. Some people like the early models because they had no smog equip. Some dislikes the SeriesI due to the fact that they were badged as Dinos, not Ferrari's. A lot of the early cars had IMO cheesy velour interiors (as opposed to leather) The Series II cars were considered the best by some because they were non-smog, but late enough in the series to have all the kinks worked out. They were also badged as Ferrari's. Series III cars had smog equip, also had nice big sunroofs and the nice star wheels.
The key with these cars is finding nice, well cared for examples that are rust free. The problem with GT4s is that they fell out of favor and were never really considered classics for a period of time. Low resale values led to a lot of cars that were not well cared for. Everyone agrees that maintenance history is very important. with a car with 50k miles you should find out when the last major service (especially cam belts) was completed, and by whom. As I mentioned in the thread about Maser Ghibli's, minor service will run you $2-3K, major service could get up to $10k (or more depending how many ancillary items need to be replaced, upgraded.
I sold my car back in 2000 for $30k. At the time that was absolutely top $$. I don't know how much appreciation has occurred since then, but that kind of money probably should be for a top car, not just a well used one. As far as rust goes, there are great original examples out there with none. Check the engine bay and front compartment as there are places where rust can hide (eapecially in the front where there is a big plastic insert. Steering and shifting should feel nice and tight.
Things I remember reading about being potential problem areas:
Dual distributors (expensive to replace, sync)
Smog equip (expensive and hard to find if missing)
They are really great cars and an absolute blast to drive. I invested in a Tubi exhaust on mine and the sound was incredible (especially when going through parking garages and setting off everyone's car alarms from the harmonics!!)

Good luck on your search and be patient. Plenty of gems out there!
former 308GT4 #15392


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