On December 11, 1980, my life was forever altered when I watched the 2-hour pilot episode of Magnum, P.I. I was a 14-year-old kid in the 8th grade, already interested in cars but that show just grabbed me. The whole premise of the show was simply transformative to a 14-year-old; living in Hawaii essentially for free, solving crimes, having adventures with your best friends, all that was great but getting to drive that Ferrari 308 GTS every day made it seem perfect.
That show was my introduction to Ferrari’s cars. I had heard the name but did not really know what they looked like or represented. This was not helped by me living in Tucson, Arizona where a Ferrari was not the most common thing to see.
Now this is where it gets interesting. A few months after I saw the Magnum pilot, I was at the B. Dalton bookstore in Park Mall and found a book called The Illustrated Ferrari Buyers Guide. The price on the book was about $10, and I was able to get my mom to buy it for me.
This book became my bible and I took it with me everywhere, reading and rereading about the different models. I still own the book.
A few weeks later, my friend Tim Furrier saw me with the book and asked me what I thought of the cars. I told him that I thought they were amazing. His comment was, “Come to my house after school I want you to see something.”
After school that day we got to Tim’s house and he took me to his parents garage. He opened the garage and in front of me was a Ferrari 308 GT4. It was the first Ferrari I saw in person. I was stunned.
His dad let me sit in it, and we even got a ride in the car. It was a life changing moment.
About a week later I was walking back home from the bus stop and noticed a guy in his front drive with a car on a jack. The car was a 308 GTSi and it had a flat tire. I went over and asked if I could help out. He let me remove a few big nuts while he got the spare out of the front of the car. Together we got the tire back on the car and he asked if I wanted a ride home. It was 1981, I lived in a very safe gated neighborhood, and it was a Ferrari, so of course I said yes. We took the top off the car and drove me to my house, taking the longest route possible. It was the kind of ride you give to a 14-year-old car crazy person. I never got his name but remain forever grateful for the experience, one which changed my life even more than the ride with Tim’s dad.
Back to our Pick of the Day. It is an exact duplicate of the car I changed that tire on, and the car that was my first love in the entire world of cars, a 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi in Rosso Corsa paint with a tan leather interior.
Now while this may start an argument, I maintain that the Ferrari 308 GTS is the single most important car in the history of the company. I know that sounds crazy, but the 308 made more people aware of the Ferrari brand for the first time than any other single model. Before debuting on Magnum alongside Tom Selleck, many average people were not even aware that Ferrari was a car company. It is the car that kickstarted the company as a desirable and iconic brand to the average American and everything that came afterwards built on that weekly TV appearance.
The 308 GTSi here is described as a two-owner from new example that has covered a total of only 11,654 original documented miles. They add that it has never been in an accident, has a complete service history and its original window sticker, tool roll, and manuals.
This car is the mirror of the car in Magnum, P.I. and looks to be as close you can get to buying a brand new 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi located in Bridgeport, Connecticut.
I have owned a 308 GTS and still feel a bit like an idiot for selling it. At 6’4” tall, I just did not fit comfortably in the car, even after having it modified in the same way that the film crew modified the car for Tom Selleck. I should have just driven it with the top off all the time like he did and kept it. Oh well, maybe I’ll get another.
The downside of selling mine is that the prices have gone up on the 308 series cars, though not as much as Porsche 911s of the same era. At the asking price of $89,000 I honestly feel that this car is a solid and market correct opportunity. Yes, it has the wrong shift knob and the shift lever has been extended. I would just spend the $500 dollars to return it back to original and not be worried about it.
People who claim to be Ferrari experts will tell you that the original 2-valve injected 308 GTSi is slow. Seriously?!? Any car of this era is slow when compared to practically any modern car, including a V6 Toyota Camry. You buy a car like this because of what it is and not what it isn’t. What this 308 represents is the car that the rest of the brand has been built on. It is a stylish, iconic, and fun car to drive and much more exclusive and interesting than, say, a Porsche 911SC. Magnum drove one on his adventures and the opportunity to capture that era of the 1980s happens every time you drive this car. This is a truly amazing sounding example and well worth a look.
Yes the 308 GTS is still my favorite car. I definitely need another.