Classified of the week: a Ferrari 308 with V12 power | Top Gear
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Saturday 3rd June

Classified of the week: a Ferrari 308 with V12 power

Purists evacuate the area. This 1985 Ferrari’s had a double heart transplant

Published: 21 Apr 2017

This 1985 Ferrari 308 GTS QV will go under the proverbial hammer at Silverstone Auctions’ sale in May.

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Nice car. Its pretty bodywork eschews the obvious red for Metallic Blue Chiaro. Inside, white leather has been specified, with blue piping to match the exterior. And this is the GTS version, so it comes with a lift-out targa roof panel if you fancy a breezier experience.

However, what makes this particular 308 more than just a tidy old prancing nag is what’s lurking behind the seats.

Unimpressed by the power developed by the 2.9-litre ‘Tipo’ V8 engine, (which Ferrari had recently updated to muster four valves per cylinder and develop a heady 237bhp), the owner decided to do the unthinkable and bin the V8 entirely. The owner in question was Nigel Husdon, employee of Ferrari’s chosen UK dealer network at the time.

Clearly a chap familiar with other delights on Ferrari’s menu, Mr. Hudson had the 2.9-litre V8 removed and filled the gap with a brand-new 4.8-litre, quad-cam V12 from Ferrari’s four-seat grand-tourer, the boxy 400. It produced a much healthier 315bhp, earning the now rapid 308 the nickname ‘Nigel’s Flyer’.

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Just take a moment to digest the lunacy going on here. Taking a nigh-on brand new Ferrari sports car, relieving it of factory power and plundering an even more expensive model for its loonier engine. In a modern context, it’s like picking up a tidy Ferrari 488 GTB, larking about in it until the novelty wears off, then plumbing in the V12 from an 812 Superfast. Few deeds would strike you from Marenello’s Christmas card list quicker.

The installation of the V12 into the diminutive 308 appears to have been far higher quality than your average garage bodge-job, though, which is just as well given only 233 right-hand drive 308 GTS QVs were ever made. Mind you, a V12ed 308 is an even rarer thing, with only four such conversions known to exist today. 

This one’s recently enjoyed a full restoration after a decade in dry storage (as classic Ferrari values soared), and is estimated to fetch between £50,000 and £60,000 at auction. 

Granted, that’s a thick wedge of money for your summer toy. But what price do you put on arriving at a classic car concours event to the horrified expressions of the Factory Originality Brigade in this Franken-Ferrari? This is the anti-establishment Eighties supercar bargain.

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