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Would You Roll The Dice On A $31k Ferrari

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Filed under Automotive, Ferrari

A 1984 4 valve 308. Image: Sfoskett

Some time back, a colleague of mine announced he was shopping for a used Ferrari 308. “Don’t do it,” was the advice I gave him, because “there’s no such thing as an affordable Ferrari.” He listened to me then, but succumbed to the affordable exotic fever a few years later. When I caught up with him last year, I asked how the Ferrari was. “Great,” he said, “it hasn’t cost me anything yet this year.” Which was his way of saying that he hadn’t been driving it lately, because the car needed some $5,000 worth of engine work. The timing belts, for example, were long passed their replacement intervals. Still, it was a Ferrari, it was paid for and it was in his garage, and that was good enough for my buddy.

So here’s the question: you can buy an early ‘80s Ferrari for right around the $30,000 mark, maybe even less if the car has had a hard life. Coincidentally, that’s just about the same price as a new Mustang GT, and a quick comparison shows:

– The 1980 Ferrari 308 GTB (with four Weber carburetors) produced 240 horsepower in US trim and weighed 2,648 pounds, giving it a power to weight ratio of 1:11. The 2011 Mustang GT makes 412 horsepower and pushes 3,605 pounds, for power to weight ratio of 1:8.54. Advantage, Mustang.

– Zero to sixty in a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTB came up in around 7 seconds, and the car had a top speed of 149 miles per hour. The Mustang hits sixty from a standing start in 4.8 seconds and tops out at 155 miles per hour. Advantage, Mustang.

– Care and feeding of a Mustang is relatively affordable, and short of money-shifting the engine I can’t think of many $5,000 repairs. Care and feeding of a Ferrari, on the other hand, is notoriously expensive. Mustang FTW.

– One is an Italian sports car, and one is not. Ferrari FTW

I’m not in the market for either car right now, but a eBay posting for a 1980 Ferrari 308 GTB is what got me thinking. There are no circumstances under which I’d buy a “cheap” Ferrari, but your mileage may vary. Would you roll the dice on a bargain basement prancing horse?


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