Road & Track Vintage Review: Dino 308 GT4 – One of the Most Controversial Ferraris Ever

Here’s an appropriate follow up to the Dino 246 GT we saw the other day. The 308 GT4, whether sporting Dino or Ferrari badges (after May 1976) will go down as perhaps the most controversial car wearing a prancing horse. It’s easy to see why: after being in bed with Pininfarina for so long, Enzo kicked them out in favor of Bertone. Why? I’ve never heard a good explanation, but I suspect there must have been one. A bit of a lover’s spat. PF was certainly feeling hurt. But they had the last laugh.

It’s not like Marcello Gandini didn’t know his way around a mid-engined super sports car, having penned the Lamborghini Miura and Countach, among others. But let’s face it; Ferrari had acquired the PF look, and Lamborghini the Gandini look. Crossing over was probably a bad idea.

This test by Paul Frère focuses less on that issue and more on all the others. But he does note that calling this a 2+2 is a bit of a cruel joke. And just why both Ferrari and Lamborghini (with the Uracco) felt the need to build these “2+2″s is a good question. Needless to say, Ferrari soon thought the better of both the 2+2 concept and Bertone styling, with their 308GTB/GTS, styled by PF, of course.

The 308 was of course the first eight cylinder Ferrari ever, but hardly the last. The reason it was branded a Dino is that Enzo said “Ferraris are 12 cylinder cars; the rest are Dinos”. Of course that conveniently forgets the four cylinder racing Ferraris. And of course he soon changed his mind.

Meanwhile, the 308’s new 90 degree 3 liter V8 comes in for lots of praise for its tremendous flexibility. This was not a nervous, high-strung engine. it would smoothly accelerate from 25 mph in fifth right up to its top speed of some 152 mph without any flat spots or  “cam effect”. Handling, ride and brakes all were praised. Steering not quite so much so. And the heating/ventilation system was atrocious.


A fine machine, if not one of the more desirable Ferraris. Although I’m sure they’re finally bringing good money now too.