1983 Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto Group B
- Registered to Ferrari SpA in 1983
- One of only 4 Group B-specification 308 GTB’s built by Michelotto, and one of only 3 to feature the ultimate 4-valve Ferrari engine, Michelotto Build Number 13
- Rallied 1984 in the World Rally Championship and driven by Toivonen
- Rallied in period by Pro Motor Sport S.R.L, the only team to campaign Michelotto Group B 308’s
- Ferrari Classiche Certified, fully matching numbers, Eligible to participate in the Tour Auto, Modena Cento Ore, Goodwood Festival of Speed, Rallylegend or the Eifel Rallye Festival
Ferrari, Michelotto and the 308 GTB
In 1983, the rules of rallying changed, and Group B regulations were introduced. Little did the regulatory powers realise at the time they had changed the face of rallying forever; rallying was about to enter its greatest era.
Over previous years Michelotto had developed the Ferrari 308 GTB into a potent competitor within the Group IV regulations. With the new regulations in place, Michelotto decided to build only four 308’s to Group B specification. One had a 2-valve engine producing 288bhp, while the following three featured the 2927cc V8 Quattrovavole engine using Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection, resulting in an impressive power output of 320bhp, and revving to 8,000 rpm. These three cars also feature the unique competition 'quick change' gearbox. Throughout their period competition days, the final drive ratio could be changed in a matter of minutes with a cover being removed to expose a pair of drop gears.
Highly evolved from their street counterparts with the extensive use of titanium and stripped-down body shells, these three Quattrovavole Group B cars were roughly 2 secs/km faster than the Group 4 308’s on any Special Stage. The Quattrovavole 308 Group B was homologated on 1st April 1983 with document B-241.
These Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto-prepared cars were approved by Ferrari SEFAC and Ferrari North America, and are now Ferrari Classiche eligible, with this example having already been inspected by Ferrari Classiche and certified.
This Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto Group B
The Ferrari offered here, chassis ZFFHA01B000022409 was delivered to Michelotto Automobili in Padova, Italy in early 1983 where it was upgraded to the ultimate four-valve Group B specification. Michelotto built only four 308 GTB Group B rally cars, with only three of these being fitted with the ultimate specification, four-valve Ferrari V8, Tipo 105 A engine.
Finished in white, this 308 Group B entered two rallies being driven by Maurizio ‘Menes’ Cavalli in the Italian Rally Championship, the Rally Piancavallo where it finished 3rd overall, and the Coppa Liburna rally in mid-September.
On the 19th September 1983, this Ferrari was issued its Certificate of Origin, and first registered to Ferrari S.p.A, Modena, Italy, being assigned the license ‘MO 600480’. The tenth round of the 1983 World Rally Championship was held in Italy, Rallye Sanremo, with this 308 Group B being driven by Federico Ormezzano and co-driver, Claudio Berro. Ormezzano was a former banking and antiques enthusiast, with one of his competition career highlights being victory at the 1982 Autodromo di Monza rally, the last victory for a Lancia Stratos. Berro was clearly a motorsport enthusiast, having been co-driver in rallies with Peugeot Italia and Peugeot Talbot Sport and Alfa Romeo Autodelta, and in 1994 would go on to be the Ferrari Formula 1 Team Manager. At this event the car was sported sponsorship from SABA, a German electronics company. Wearing race number 14, sadly the car retired with half-shaft failure.
The highlight of this cars 1983 season was up next, the Trofeo Villa d’Este rally in early October, with saw Gigi Martinelli and Emilio Radaelli pilot the car to overall victory. After another Italian rally in early November, this 308 was next partnered with Harry Toivonen at the Rallye di San Marino, round forty-four of the 1983 European Rally Championship. With older brother, Henri Toivonen, also competing in the sister Michelotto 308 Group B, Harry pushed hard to beat his brother, although sadly both cars retired. This 308 Group B competed in two further events to end the 1983 rally season, with images of these events included in the car’s extensive history file.
In January 1984, this 308 Group B was bought by Giuliano Michelotto, founder of Automobili Michelotto, before being sold to A.C.I Leasing. Pro Motorsport S.R.L. was the only team to run Michelotto Group B 308’s, with this car, chassis 22409, being assigned to their latest driver signing, Luigi ‘Lucky’ Battistolli.
Round two of the 1984 European Rally Championship saw this 308 enter the Targa Florio Rally, with Lucky making his Ferrari debut. Despite the latest Michelin TRX tyres providing little assistance, Lucky and co-driver Berro finished second overall, with the sister 308 Group B of Antonio Zanini finishing 3rd. A great result for Ferrari, confirming that the brand could be enhanced by an increased presence in rally.
Lucky drove three more events in early 1984 in the European Rally Championship in this 308 Group B, the Rallye delle Quattro Regioni, and the Rally Costa Smeralda and Rallye dell’Isola d’Elba, finishing second overall the final two. In all four events Lucky drove this car, he was partnered in the car by Claudio Berro.
Another first overall was achieved at the Rally della Marca, before 22409 returned to the European Rally Championship in early July with Ormezzano at the Rallye della Lana. The ADAC Deutschland Rallye followed in early September before another outright victory with Paolo Pasutti at the Rallye Nazionale Citta di Bassano del Grappa in late September. Massimo Ercolani race 22409 in the 1984 Rallye di San Marino, before this car finished second in class at the Rallye dell’Autodromo di Monza.
1985 saw European and nine-time Spanish Rally Champion, Antonio Zanini compete with this car in the Spanish Rally Championship. Rally el Corte Ingles also formed part of the European Rally Championship, and for this event, this 308 Group B was repainted blue, with ‘Playa de las Americas’ sponsorship. This race history has been confirmed with Cristiano Michelotto, with evidence of the blue paint still visible on certain areas of the car today, mainly the roof cooling vent.
Perhaps the most interesting event entered by a 308 was the 1985 Baja Montesblancos. This is a rally raid event held in the region of Aragon in Northern Spain and was launched in 1983. Based on the popularity of the African Adventure rallies such as the Paris Dakar and the Paraons Rally, this event was created by a group of French and Spanish enthusiast.
For this rally raid event, the car was refinished in white, with large Marlboro sponsorship. With extreme temperatures, the car was adapted with an enlarged roof scoop and engine cover to aid cooling, with a Perspex deflector added to the bonnet. Larger mud flaps were fitted, with the fronts being faired in to prevent dust being fed to the air intake for the engine, and in true safari-specification, a spare wheel was strapped to the roof. For this rally raid event, Antonio Zanini shared the cabin with Carmelo Ezpeleta. With over 50-degree heat in the cabin, the car was retired.
After this event, 22409 returned to Italy where it was bought by Style Auto Srl and rebuilt by Michelotto Automobili and finished in Rosso Corsa. Now displaying Italian registration ‘PD 784544’, this 308 was displayed at the Ferrari Owners Club of Great Britain meeting in June 1986. At this event, the car was heavily photographed by Ferrari historian, Keith Bluemel, with these pictures contained within the car’s expansive history file.
In the early 1990’s, this 308 Group B was bought by famed collector, Massimo Ferragamo, the son of Salvatore, a well-known Italian shoe designer and founder of luxury high-end retailer, Salvatore Ferragamo S.p.A. Having passed through a French dealer, this 308 was purchased by Robert ‘Bob’ Benedict in the United States of America. During this time, the car received maintenance from Motion Products Inc, before returning to Europe with the current owner in 2006. Upon arrival, this car was road-registered in the UK, and assigned license ‘YEL 938S’. During this ownership, this 308 Group B has been regularly campaigned in the Ferrari historic Challenge in 2006 and 2007.
Importantly, in 2007 this Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto Group B was inspected and certified by Ferrari Classiche. The red certification binder accompanying this Ferrari confirms it to retain its original chassis, engine, gearbox and differential.
Michelotto built only four Group B 308 GTB’s, with this car, chassis 22409, being one of only three fitted with the ultimate four-valve Ferrari V8 engine. Any Michelotto-built Ferrari is special, but this Ferrari Classiche Certified and fully matching numbers 308 Group B participated in the golden era of rallying at World and European levels. Today, these cars are highly sought after for a variety of the world’s major historic motorsport events, including the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Tour Auto or Modena Cento Ore rallies, or Rallylegend, but are you ready to get behind the wheel?
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