From 1980 to 1983, the Ferrari 308 GTSi served as the targa-topped 308 choice for the sun-loving automotive enthusiast. This follow-up to the 308 GTS really only featured one major upgrade (if you want to call it that) compared to its predecessor: a Bosch mechanical fuel injection system that was installed with a singular purpose – to reduce emissions. This not-so-glamorous upgrade was necessary to remain in line with new emissions controls being implemented all over the world at the time, but it came with an unfortunate side effect.
The 2.9-litre aluminium V8 from the Dino line of engines originally produced a stout 252 bhp in the GTB and GTS models, but the new fuel injection system caused output to plummet by 31 bhp – down to just 211. A gated, dogleg 5-speed manual converted that power to the motion, while anti-roll bars and a double-wishbone independent suspension kept the car stable while cornering and relatively comfortable when not. Performance wasn’t Earth-shattering, but remember, this wasn’t the top-level Ferrari of this era – that was the iconic 288 GTO.
Even though the power output may have been a disappointment, the stunning Pininfarina styling was left almost entirely intact. Few stylistic changes made their way onto the GTSi, as this model not intended to be a major upgrade over the prior car. Those few minor updates include a new wheel design, new steering wheel, different upholstery on the seats, and a couple of gauges moved from the instrument cluster to the centre console.
The 308 GTSi would live on until Ferrari worked out a way to increase power while keeping emissions under control. That answer came in 1982 with the 308 quattrovalvole, another evolution of the 308 which used a 4-vallve-per-cylinder engine design to bump power up to 240 bhp while maintaining emissions compliance. So, while the 308 GTSi was really just a temporary solution to keep this model on the road, it did its job well, selling 1800 examples.