1978 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 Coupe
Ferrari’s replacement for the 246 series, badged the 308 GT4 Dino, was a break with tradition for the legendary Maranello marque in more ways then one. The styling was entrusted to Bertone for the first time, who created a sharper edged, more contemporary look than the flowing curves of earlier Pininfarina designs. Whilst retaining the mid-engined layout of the 246, the new 308 GT4 had the added versatility of occasional rear seats and was somewhat optimistically described as a 2+2. The 308 GT4 has added significance as the first production Ferrari model powered by a V8, the 90-degree unit featuring twin overhead camshafts per bank, four twin-choke Weber 40DCNF carburettors and a compression ratio of 8.8:1. Developing a healthy output of 255 bhp and mounted transversely, the motor was mated to a five-speed transmission operated via the traditional slotted gate. The 308 GT4 also featured rack and pinion steering, fully independent suspension with unequal length wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers plus anti-roll bars front and rear. The Dino had disc brakes all round and the alloy rims were shod with XWX Michelins. Competing with Maserati’s Merak and the Lamborghini Urracco, the new Dino was significantly quicker than both its rivals, with a 0-100 km/h time of 6.4 seconds and a top speed in excess of 250 km/h. Despite early misgivings around the styling, the Dino proved a resounding success, with just over 2826 sold in seven years of production and the model was the first in a long line of V8-powered Ferraris that continues right up to the current 488. The Dino is practical (it has a decent sized boot and the rear seats provided additional luggage space), relatively simple of maintain and best of all, still affordable, making it a great first Ferrari. The Bertone styling has aged gracefully and the renewed interest in the 308 GT4 has been reflected in the way prices have begun to appreciate in recent years.