We all know the amazing Ferrari 308 GTS, but I would bet most people haven’t heard of the 208 GTS Turbo. That’s because the 208 was designed for a very specific and limited purpose. The original 208 GTB and GTS were designed to increase sales in the Italian market, where an extra 20% VAT was levied on cars with engines over 2.0 litres. Two years after the debut of the 208, which by this point was known by many as the slowest Ferrari of all time, the 208 GTS Turbo made its way to market.

Turbo Power

Compared to the 308, the one true difference lies in the engine bay. To decrease the price of their V8 sports car on their home turf, Ferrari decided to decrease the size of their V8. Whereas the 308 used a 2.9-litre aluminium V8 from the Dino family of engines, the 208 GTS Turbo was powered by a very small V8 engine displacing just 2 litres. Of course, this came with a power penalty – new 208 owners were given just 153bhp to move their new Ferrari down the strada.

This means that the original 208 was very slow, even for a sports car of that era. The 208 GTS Turbo’s forced induction resulted in a nice little boost of 64 horsepower, for 217bhp total output. Now we’re talking about some real, usable power. Heck, that’s even more than the 208 GTSi could muster back in 1980. A gated, dogleg 5-speed manual translates that power to the wheels, while a double-wishbone independent suspension incorporated anti-roll bars on both axles to keep the car stable while cornering.

Styling and Production

In Ferrari parlance, GTB signifies a coupe body style, while the GTS models wear a Targa top roof that can be stored behind the seats after removal, so today we are examining the roofless version of the 208. Of course, the 208 GTS Turbo retained the alluring Bertone-styled body that made the original 308 so popular. Production of the 208 GTS Turbo spanned four model years: 1982 to 1985. In that time, just 250 examples were produced, with almost every one sold in either Italy or New Zealand.


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