Two years after launching the emissions-restriction neutered 308 GTBi, Ferrari introduced the 308 GTS quattrovalvole. Still not quite as powerful as the original 308 GTB, this targa-topped “QV” model represented a significant increase. And because a of a new fuel injection system, it was still able to comply with emissions requirements. We will begin with a short history of the 308s that came before it, then dig into the details.

Before the Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole

Like all 308 models, under the bonnet lies a 2.9-litre aluminium V8 from the Dino line of engines. Initially this V8 produced a respectable 252bhp in 308 GTS guise. After the oil crisis, however, strict emissions standards necessitated the addition of a Bosch fuel injection system. This caused the power to drop down to just 211 bhp. Ferrari knew they couldn’t sell such expensive cars with so little power, and quickly started working out a solution. That’s where the quattrovalvole name comes into play: By using a 4-valve per cylinder design to increase the V8’s performance up to 240 bhp while retaining the cleaner emissions.  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 Changes

Exterior styling came courtesy of Pininfarina, and this bodywork would gain fame in 1980 as Tom Selleck zipped around Oahu in his 308 GTS on Magnum, P.I. Only minor styling changes made their way onto the quattrovalvole and included a small Ferrari badge on the side mirrors and a new radiator grille flanked by rectangular driving lights instead of the previous round lights. Compared to the GTB, the Ferrari 308 GTS quattrovalvole shaved off the roof in favour of a targa top. Inside, the 308 received a new 3-spoke steering wheel and a new seat upholstery option that used cloth in the centre.

Production and Legacy

The Ferrari 308 GTS quattrovalvole was in production from 1982 to 1985, at which point the range was replaced by the Ferrari 328.  Over four times as many GTS QVs were produced as the hard-topped GTBs, so it’s clear that this was the hot model to have back in the 80s. Because the 308 QV is nearly identical to its predecessors, aside from the new engine tuning, this model is mainly remembered for its stronger horsepower rating compared to its predecessor.


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