When the odometer of Ed Giles’ 1980 Ferrari 308 GTSi recently turned over to 20,000, Ed pulled over to take a photo. His careful maintenance and stewardship shows how much he loves the 41-year-old automotive icon.
It’s red (of course) and one of only 1,749 308 GTSi models built over a three-year period from 1980 until 1983 when it was replaced by the Ferrari 308 quattrovalvole (literally, four valves – per cylinder).
Many would argue that the 1980 308 GTSi was not classic Ferrari-fast. The era’s fuel emissions standards became more stringent. As a result, Ferrari equipped the 1980 308 GTSi with a 3.0-litre (2,926 cc) mid-mounted V8 engine, fuel-injected for the first time, resulting in reduced horsepower.
The sporty wedge-shaped car, which had a 1980 price tag of $45,000 (that would be about $150,000 today), is arguably the brand’s most recognizable.
So how did a not-so-fast Ferrari become an automotive icon?
You may remember a certain mustachioed private investigator by the name of Thomas Magnum tooling around the Hawaiian island of Oahu in one on television.
For eight years, from 1980 until 1988, Tom Selleck, the actor who played Magnum, entered our living rooms every week. The opening theme song and the visuals accompanying it will be familiar, I’m sure. If you weren’t quite old enough to watch the series, your mom probably did… he’s so handsome! And that car!
I wonder if Porsche is still kicking themselves. The show’s producers had approached the German automaker about using a Porsche 928. When asked if the sunroof could be made larger for better filming and modifications made to accommodate Mr. Selleck’s tall frame, Porsche refused.
Ferrari was only too happy to oblige.
Today, the steel-bodied car in Ed Giles’ care looks brand new. With 224 horsepower and a top speed of 240 km/h, the targa-top two-seater is no slouch. The cool gated five-speed shifter adds to the true sports car look and feel of the Italian prancing horse.
He loves driving the 308 GTSi and tells us whenever he takes it to a show, he lets the kids sit in the driver’s seat, inspiring the next generation with Ferrari fantasies and a good bout of car fever.