History of the 1973-1980 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4
Ferrari introduced the 308 GT4 in 1973 under the Dino name as a mid-engined 2+2 stablemate to their successful Dino 246 GT, and it represented several firsts for the company. It was the first and only time that Bertone was to style a road-going production Ferrari, and as such its wedge shape is distinctly different than the Pininfarina styled cars that came before and after it. It was also their first mid-engined 2+2. Finally, the Dino 308 GT4 represented Ferrari’s first use of a V-8 in a road car. This brand new 3-liter quad-cam, 90-degree V-8 motor had four Weber carburetors and made 250 hp in European tune. It was mounted with its 5-speed gearbox as a unit transversely behind the rear seats. The chassis was based on that of the Dion 246 GT, but with a longer, 100.4-inch wheelbase, and independent upper and lower wishbone suspension at all four corners.
In all, 2,826 examples were built from 1973 to 1980, with U.S. deliveries beginning at the end of 1974. Production can be roughly divided into three series. The Series I cars were produced in 1974 and 1975 (U.S. availability started in the 1975 model year), and these cars produce 240 hp in U.S. non-catalyst form, and were the lightest cars in the series. As a result, they are considered spirited performers to this day. These cars carry a “Dino” badge on them, and may or may not have a Ferrari badge as well. Series II cars were built until the end of 1977, had a larger front grille area, different details in the dashboard and glovebox area, and while they were still rated at 240 hp in U.S. form, they were catalyst equipped and are heavier than the Series I cars. Finally, Series III cars were produced until 1980 and were rated at 205 hp in the U.S.. A factory sunroof was available throughout the run but appears to be more prevalent on these later cars, and a rear storage shelf in place of the rear seats was an option as well.
The Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 is today a fine choice for the enthusiast who wants a wonderful handling, mid-engine Ferrari with plenty of room for two and their luggage, yet also inspires its driver with a wonderful carbureted V-8 sound just behind the cabin. Like all cars in the 308 series, the GT4 requires a timing belt service every four to five years, but this is not nearly the maintenance or financial headache that folklore might indicate, provided the car has a strong service history and has not suffered from a life of deferred maintenance.