Collecting Cars

1981 FERRARI 308 GROUP 4 RECREATION - CURRENT FIA HTP PAPERS

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2020-09-25 08:00:04

This Ferrari 308 GTB is an incredible road-legal Group 4 rally car, expertly restored and upgraded to FIA Group 4 specification, and finished in a stunning race livery. The engine is a fully rebuilt dry-sump 2.9-litre V8 fed by four twin-choke Weber carburettors, coupled to a five-speed manual transmission. Not to be confused with less well-prepared examples, more than £270,000 has been spent over the last 10 years to produce this impressive recreation, which notably comes with new and up-to-date FIA papers for historic motorsport.

Just 11 genuine examples of the 308 were built to Group 4 specification by Michelotto in period, followed by four Group B cars. They were raced by renowned privateer teams, and perhaps none more so prolific than Charles Pozzi, who ran four examples of the Group 4 car, in the iconic Entremont and Pioneer liveries.

This UK-market car, chassis 31085, is understood to be among the last examples of the carburettor-fed 308 GTB built in Maranello, before the introduction of fuel injection for the GTBi. It was delivered to its first owner in May 1981 and was originally registered as ‘RBC 260W’. The comprehensive history file has records of several other keepers over the subsequent 18 years up to 1997, by which time the car was re-registered as ‘PPC 396W’ having been on private plates in some of the intervening years.

Paperwork and invoices show the car was serviced by Ferrari specialists such as Modena Engineering, Talacrest and Rardley Motors through the 1980s and 1990s, so it was certainly well maintained. Unfortunately for the owner at the time, records held by DVLA indicate that in 1997 the car suffered from accident damage, and it was subsequently logged as a Category C insurance loss.

However, the car was evidently repaired and put back on the road, and it is understood to have been in the next owner’s care for around 10 years, before being advertised for sale in the December 2009 issue of the Ferrari Owners’ Club magazine with around 65,000 miles from new. The next owner realised that this car’s particular history made it a great candidate for a comprehensive transformation, and he commissioned Ferrari specialist Foskers to undertake a nut-and-bolt restoration, modifying it to a faithful Group 4 recreation in the process.

The ‘rebirth’ of this Ferrari 308 GTB started with a total disassembly of the body and frame, and with the latter soda blasted and refinished. In the process, it was strengthened to the original specifications in order to meet FIA Appendix K regulations, and a new bulkhead was fabricated along with rear strut bracing and suspension stabilisers. Lightweight steering mounts were fitted, and the bulkhead panels, sills and door shut sections were drilled out to reduce the weight further.

In place of its original steel bodywork was fitted a fresh set of fibreglass panels with narrow rear wheel arches, and Kevlar inner arches. A lightweight fibreglass dashboard was also installed. The body was painted in an original Ferrari Rosso Corsa hue.

Mechanically, it was treated to a fully rebuilt carburettor-fed V8 engine using a new-old-stock 308 GTB block. The gearbox was also overhauled before being refitted. Lightweight suspension wishbones were also installed to the original Michelotto specifications.

Inside, the Ferrari was stripped out, fitted with two composite racing seats, a custom centre console housing an array of toggle switches, as well as a safety lock-out block for reverse gear on the transmission gate. As a result of the fastidious attention to detail and quality modifications, the car received FIA papers in October 2013.

The owner at the time had planned to use the Ferrari for fast road use and occasional track work, but due to overseas commitments it saw very little use after the restoration and upgrade, and so it was sold to the current owner and seller in November 2017.

During his tenure, the already impressive recreation was taken to another level with the addition of wider rear arches to accommodate the larger Group 4 Campagnolo-style alloys, a rebuilt front bulkhead, installation of a new FIA Group 4 ‘bias’ pedal box, and an overhaul of the steering column, rack and mounts. New Bilstein shock absorbers were fitted all round, and a new fibreglass and aluminium floor has been installed.

The wiring loom was overhauled, and the car was completely repainted both inside and out. In the cabin, period-correct Recaro rally seats were fitted in black of the thinner composite items, and the car was then reinspected for a fresh up-to-date FIA Historic Technical Passport - which was duly issued in March 2019. All of the most recent upgrade work was carried out by rally preparation specialist BGMSport run by Ian Gwynne. The team there has the pleasure of looking after two of the original Group 4 cars, so applied their insight to finishing this recreation off to a great standard.

Today, this Ferrari 308 GTB presents in superb condition throughout. While it would be an incredible addition to any collection just to gaze at in admiration, this is a lightweight, fast and agile car that deserves to be driven hard. With current FIA HTP paperwork, it represents a great opportunity to participate in any number of the exciting historic rallies and race events across Europe in particular, including the Tour Auto, Modena Centro Ore, Rally Classic and many more.

With genuine Michelotto-built Group 4 308s rarely coming to market - and when they do so, typically attracting asking prices well in excess of the one million Euro mark - this meticulous recreation should prove to be a great value road and track car, delivering a thrilling drive from behind the wheel, and turning heads wherever it goes.

All UK-registered cars and motorbikes on Collecting Cars are run through an online HPI check. This vehicle shows no insurance database markers for theft, and has no finance owing. Bidders should note that the car is recorded as a Category C insurance loss in 1997, as explained above.

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