The final Ferrari 308 GTB built by Michelotto
The last of just 11 Group IV-specification examples
Highly eligible for a wide array of historic motorsport events, including the Tour Auto and Modena Cento Ore
Full Ferrari Classiche certification
One of three Michelotto-built 308s delivered new to the USA, with a successful period road-racing history
The Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto Group IV
Pastel linen suits, cheese-grater side strakes and Tom Selleck’s tash. That’s what springs to mind when we think Ferrari in the 1980s, which is why seeing the pretty Pininfarina-designed 308 GTB attacking a rugged and stiflingly dusty rally stage is a little unseemly at first.
Rallying certainly wasn’t on Enzo Ferrari’s radar, but it was for Giuliano Michelotto. From 1977, the young Paduan engineer had his heart set on turning the latest mid-engined Ferrari 308 GTB into a terrain-trampling thoroughbred, pitching it against the Lancia Stratos, several of which he had incidentally prepared himself. It was the beginning of Ferrari and Michelotto’s enduring and incredibly successful partnership, which continues to this day.
With Il Commendatore’s blessing, a wide-arched Group 4 version of the 308 GTB arrived first in the late 1970s. Michelotto built 11 of these lightweight lookers from the chassis upwards and they competed hard and successfully all over Europe. Jean-Claude Andruet actually finished second at the Tour de Corse in 1982 driving his iconic Pioneer-liveried 308, the only time a Ferrari has ever graced the podium of a World Rally Championship event.
While a Group B variant of the 308 GTB followed in 1983, the Group IV version was actually the more drastically re-engineered car of the two. These cars were meticulously built by Michelotto from the chassis upwards to be no-compromise competition cars. A structural roll-cage, composite bodywork, a ‘dog-change’ gearbox, all-new brakes and suspension systems and an engine tuned with a much higher compression ratio.
The result is a blisteringly quick means of covering ground, especially when you dig further into that rev range and exploit that beautifully composed chassis. “It’s very powerful and the driving experience is somewhere between a regular 308 and the steroidal 288 GTO,” Max Girardo explains. “The difference is that it’s got a properly sorted chassis and the resulting balance and grip are incredible.”
Girardo, who’s well-versed in the handling intricacies of Italian rally cars from the 1970s and ’80s, also suggests that the Ferrari’s longer wheelbase than that of, say, the Lancia Stratos makes it more user-friendly proposition and the perfect partner for endurance road rallies such as the Tour Auto and the Modena Cento Ore, both of which it’s eligible to take part in.
You can read our definitive ‘Reference Points’ guide on the Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto Group IV and Group B rally cars by CLICKING HERE.
This Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto Group IV
The car we’re honoured to have just found a fantastic new home is chassis number 21883, which boasts the distinction of being the final Ferrari 308 GTB rally car built by Michelotto. As such, it benefits from the extensive development undertaken throughout the seven years of the factory-blessed 308 rally programme.
Most notably, that means its seductively swollen wide-arched body is constructed entirely from featherlight Kevlar, unlike the earlier cars which are a mix of Kevlar and glass-fiber, and the V8 is fed by a not by Webers but by an innovative Kugelfischer fuel injection system. The latter raised power to a whisker over 300bhp, which, when combined with the fact the car tips the scales at a scant 800kg, makes for a searing driving experience.
Chassis 21883 began life as a standard road-going 308 GTB in 1977, though underwent its rally makeover at Michelotto in 1984–1985. The car was imported into the United States via New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport on 24 January 1985 and, just two days after touching down was exhibited at the New York International Auto Show.
Following its moment in the spotlight, this Ferrari was sold to its first owner, one Artie Wiener from Bayshore, New York. While chassis 21883 was never rallied in period, Wiener did road-race the car extensively in the Eastern Motor Racing Association (EMRA) series between 1986 and ’1990 under the X/FB Racing banner.
At historic circuits such as Elkhart Lake, Lime Rock and Bridgehampton, Wiener and this Group IV 308 GTB enjoyed much success, scoring numerous class and overall victories. From 1990 until 1999, Wiener used his Ferrari sporadically including at a number of Ferrari Club of America events. We have some wonderfully nostalgic footage of Wiener and the car at Elkhart Lake, sharing the track with 250 LMs and 512 BB LMs. A simpler time!
Wiener didn’t part with chassis 21883 until 9 November 2000. Algar Ferrari of Philadelphia bought the car and, in turn, sold it to Bill Noon, the renowned American enthusiast and founder of Symbolic Motor Cars in California. With the car painted in the classic Gulf colours, Noon competed regularly, winning the disc-brake category of the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge in 2003 and travelled to France to contest the Tour Auto on two occasions.
There’s a wonderful quote from Noon in Keith Bluemel’s excellent profile of this Ferrari 308 GTB Michelotto Group IV in Cavallino magazine. “It was one of the best racers I ever had,” he recalled. “I remember a 20-minute race at the old Moroso track in a field of some 25-plus cars avoiding a Comp Daytona on the first lap that spun out. I went off to avoid him. Now dead last, I passed every BBLM, Comp Daytona, GTO and all the others. In the end I took third behind a P3/4 and a 512M.”
Straight after the race, Noon was approached by one Dr. Steve Dudley who, suitably impressed, offered to buy the Ferrari on the spot. During his seven-year tenure as chassis 21883’s custodian, Dudley continued to add to the car’s impressive historic motorsport record and, perhaps most importantly, had its authenticity certified by Ferrari Classiche in October of 2008. Interestingly, it was the first Michelotto-built 308 GTB to receive Classiche certification.
This Ferrari’s final owner, based in the UK, acquired the car in 2010 and promptly sent it to the Ferrari specialists GTO Engineering for a comprehensive bare-metal restoration, during which its remarkable originality was noted. Shortly after the restoration was completed, the car entered the Tour Auto in 2011 – an event it returned to in both 2012 and 2013, resulting in a class victory and an incredible second overall finish, respectively. Since then, this Ferrari has been maintained by GTO Engineering and made an appearance at the Heveningham Hall Concours of Elegance in 2019.
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