1980-82 Two Valve Injected - The "Rodney Dangerfield" of the 308 series? | FerrariChat

1980-82 Two Valve Injected - The "Rodney Dangerfield" of the 308 series?

Discussion in '308/328' started by dave80gtsi, Jan 14, 2004.

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  1. dave80gtsi

    dave80gtsi Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 3, 2003
    Full Name:
    Dave Meredith
    As a continuation of a side comment which I made in the context of another thread in the Technical section, I'd like to post this one as a separate topic for more focused discussion.

    Without exception, every 308 buyer's guide or model range review article contains admonitions that the early 1980's 2-valve injected "i" models are to be avoided. These articles claim, as sole justification, the belief that they are slower than the later QV's and don't "sound as good" as the earlier carb models (points which I generally acknowledge in overall principle).

    When I went 308 shopping this past summer, I specifically looked for a mint 1980-82 "i" model, and ended up with a nice 1980. From my perspective, I did not want to continue to fuss about with Webers any longer, and I did not feel that the modest 12% horsepower gain (230 vs. 205) as a result of the QV engine change was worth the approximately 30 to 50% purchase price premium over the "i".

    For instance, simply removing and safely storing the "i" smog gear alone (blocking nozzles in the exhaust ports, restrictive cat converters, air pump, etc.) has subjectively gained me some of the horsepower which the QV offers. The only valid criticism of the "i" series in my viewpoint is that they used the metric TRX tires and rims which are now a bit out-of-date. However, this "innovation" of the time was used throughout the entire Ferrari line, as well as the Ford Mustang of the day, so I believe that it is not fair to single out the 308 "i" alone for criticism on that issue. Besides, an upgrade to modern 16" rims and tires, if desired, is straightforward.

    Yet, I find myself constantly defending this car and my selection of it against so-called 'experts'. This "no respect" routine, just like Rodney, gets old quickly.

    So, the question for the masses - Am I the only one out there who has developed an appreciation for these so-called 'black sheep'? After all, if straight line acceleration rate and engine horsepower were the only parameters which mattered, then how to justify, as one example, the price and market fondness for the 246 Dino series - another model that I also admire, but which, in comparison to other Ferrari models both past and present, is a bit lower in raw horsepower than its peers?

    Cheers - Dave / Ohio
  2. Napolis

    Napolis Three Time F1 World Champ
    Honorary Owner

    Oct 23, 2002
    Full Name:
    Jim Glickenhaus
    I bought one new in 80, drove it 85k, loved it.
  3. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ

    Feb 16, 2003
    Land of Slugs & Moss
    Full Name:
    Han Solo
    Hi Dave,
    I own a '78 GTS with the 4 twin choke Webers and a 240Z with 3 sidedraft twin choke Webers. There are times on some of these cold mornings when I really wished I had an injected car, even an 'i'.

    The reasoning behind this is the drivability of the injected car is usually better. The horse power and performance is nearly the same between the '78/'79 carbed cars and the 'i' cars. The '78/'79 cars were detuned for emissions in the US so they turned out to be quite a bit slower compared to the '76/'77 cars, this understanding from what I have read on this site and other sources. I am told the only real difference in performance is better throttle response in the carbureted car and with some rejetting, some horse power gains.

    The other advantage to the carbed car is the option of changing to performance cams with rejetting where in the case of the 'i' car the fuel injection would need to be changed from stock. If no mods were made it would be a moot point.

    I have read about the electronics being a pain in the rear in the 'i' cars due to the location of the equipment in the right rear trunk area. Prone to moisture etc.......

    There was a weight gain on the 'i' cars from the carbed cars. Then there is the wheel dilemma. I had 14" wheels on mine and still upgraded to 16" wheels so it's a moot point.

    Still, my personal feelings on this is, if the 'i' car was well maintained there is no reason why it wouldn't be any less fun to drive than the 'other' 308's. They still make neat sounds with Tubi pipes installed!I think in this economic climate they can be a pretty good buy if in good shape.

    I love my old slow 308 and I have to whip it to keep up with just about everybody else in the club. That isn't going to stop me from enjoying the car. When asked why you bought the 'i' you can simply answer, "It was a deal I couldn't pass up".

    ..........................and don't forget. Even though Rodney Dangerfield doesn't get respect just about everybody likes him..

  4. M.James

    M.James F1 Rookie

    Jun 6, 2003
    Worcester, MA
    Full Name:
    I, too, considered purchasing the 80-82 model range - I like the fuel injection versus messing with Carbs. There's something about the carb cars and fuel starvation during hard cornering that puts me off, as well as the risk of carb fires.

    What detracts me from the 1980-1982 cars is the money you have to spend to gut the cars of the restrictive emissions equipment (not very well thought out by Ferrari engineers), and the horrible oil consumption experienced by several cars in this range. I understand there was a factory recall for the 1980-1982 cars because they were drinking a quart of oil every 200 miles. The recall involved entire engine replacement. Engine rebuilds fixed this problem as well, but there was no root cause for the oil consumption. I've been told that unless your car has had Recall service or an engine rebuild, the car is a time bomb for this malady. Mr. Glickenhaus' car had this problem, I recall.
  5. snj5

    snj5 F1 World Champ

    Feb 22, 2003
    San Antonio
    Full Name:
    Russ Turner
    It's a great car. The FI is more user friendly and after a little clean-up has more than enough power to hone your skills, have fun and even get in a little trouble.
    You can buy a good one for a bargain, take care of it and drive it every day and have a blast, guilt free.
    As you said, the 246 is no rocket ship either, but then the true appreciation of a Ferrari is not about 0-60. As R&T once said, 'every Ferrari is a joy to drive, and reflect the passion of its builder'.
  6. tbakowsky

    tbakowsky F1 World Champ
    Consultant Professional Ferrari Technician

    Sep 18, 2002
    The Cold North
    Full Name:
    I have an 82 GTSi 2 valve car. Being a tech and working on lots of Ferrari's I really don't see that much of a performance differance between the qv cars. Not enough to justifiy the almost 10k differance in price. I really enjoy my car. The oil consumption problem is a biggie though. I'm rebuilding my engine now because of this. The cost to rebuild the engine is very reasonable and worth doing.
    Like posted below you can gain a few extra horses by removing the cats and emissins gear. Yes mods like cams and other stuff can't really be done because of the stock fuel injection system. But who cares? If you want to go racing stop light to stop light don't buy a Ferrari..ANY Ferrari. Go buy a Viper or Corvette or what ever.

    The engines are also very strong and seem to last. I have NEVER seen one with a rod through the block. They don't make enough power to do such damage. The more power..the more thing are streesed the more they break.

    Ya so what the guys in the club go "oh just a 2 valve huh?" **** them. enjoy the fact that you have a Ferrari.
  7. kdross

    kdross Formula Junior
    Silver Subscribed

    Feb 10, 2002
    Full Name:
    I think the big problem associated with the "i" cars is the oil consumption issue and the perception of having reduced power (Ferrari still claimed the 78 & 79 cars had 240 hp - they only had 205hp from what I have read. Only the 76 & 77 cars had 240hp, and many have questioned those numbers too).

    For me, it was worth paying extra for the 308QV over the "i". First, I have always wanted a 308QV. It was the current Ferrari model when I first got into cars while in middle school. Second, the QV model has many upgrades that for me are worth the premium. Upgrades such as 16" wheels, rust protection (something is better than nothing), more hp, no smog pump, engines use Nikasil, etc more than make up the difference in pricing.

    If you do your homework and find a well maintained 2V, the car will be very enjoyable to drive. It will also be a lot of car for the money, and is perhaps the best value of any 308 series.

  8. Dom

    Dom F1 Veteran
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 5, 2002
    You think you've got problems, imagine owning a GT4 :)

    Back to reality: I like the "i" cars. Basically, all of the 308 series cars are obsolete now with regard to power. If I recall correctly, a stock Nissan maxima has 265 HP, and will probably blow the doors of any 308 (maybe even 328).

    These cars are no longer about power, but about having fun while driving.

  9. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ

    Feb 16, 2003
    Land of Slugs & Moss
    Full Name:
    Han Solo
    Might I add that our regional director drives an 'i' too so you are in good company.

    On another note, people look down on the much maligned 308 GT4 as being the red headed step child etc........Being red headed ain't all that bad when you are a Dino. I'm told they handle better than a GT because of their longer wheel base and are quite fast in the earlier years. I wouldn't hesitate to own one or feel self consious about it. Where do you think the running gear came from for the GTB/S?:)

    To me it's still a Ferrari. Period!

  10. Agent Smith

    Agent Smith Formula 3

    Apr 20, 2002
    I drove an 82 308. It was a lot of fun. I wasn't on a track - just driving around on public roads - but all the fun stuff was there. The sound of the engine, the clank of the shifter, and the handling was all present. It still had enough power where I could EASILY get into big trouble, and it would have been just to hear that engine running through the gears. Heck I would take one and enjoy driving it for all the right reasons. After all, what else could I possibly get in that price range that would be anywhere NEAR as much fun?
  11. formula1joe

    formula1joe Formula Junior

    Nov 3, 2003
    Atlanta, GA
    Full Name:
    Joe Bennett
    I own an 80 308GTSi and have never regretted it. Of course some guys want to talk about how much more horsepower they have stock and all the young kids who know noting about cars think my car has 400 horsepower and can go 200mph. I love seeing their face when I say no it is a 3 liter V-8 that only has just over 200 horsepower.

    Horsepower is great and eveything, but it still comes all down to driver skill.

    I did notice on my car by taking off the belt for the air pump the car seemed to run alot smother and revved better. Wonder why that is?! just kidding.
  12. f355spider

    f355spider F1 World Champ
    Owner Rossa Subscribed

    May 29, 2001
    I think you may be banging your head against the wall. The general consensus is much like Ken Ross' point, the QV's (esp the 84-85) seem (for most folks) to be worth the stretch for the many improvements made. You weren't sold on this, so you chose the "i". Nothing wrong with that decision, but it is an uphill battle to defend it, or convince others that your decision is "better"; but no one can argue it was the right decision for YOU.

    Dom makes a great point too...you have plenty of company with the GT4, Mondial and 400/412 owners, so join the club! :) Heck you could even throw in the 348 and 456 owners as those cars get a pretty good drubbing these days too (none of them are deserved in my book).

    As Dom also said, you can pretty much ignore the performance end of things. Your average "family" car of today can meet the performance of my 328! I just saw a review of the 2-door Honda Accord V-6 with 6 speed. 0-60 in 5.9 sec, top speed 153!
  13. Spasso

    Spasso F1 World Champ

    Feb 16, 2003
    Land of Slugs & Moss
    Full Name:
    Han Solo
    [Your average "family" car of today can meet the performance of my 328! I just saw a review of the 2-door Honda Accord V-6 with 6 speed. 0-60 in 5.9 sec, top speed 153![/QUOTE]

    I think I need a blower for my car! :(

  14. sjmst

    sjmst F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jul 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Full Name:
    I have an 82 Mondial. I see that this is one of the main cars to “avoid.” While this may hurt my resale, it is also what got me into the car as the price was so right. It is hard to feel the car is something to avoid when I inadvertently cause the tail to step out, or am keeping an eye out for cops as it carves up the road. I agree with the main points here:

    1) Driving this car is an overall experience. If all that matters to you is 0-60, why get a Ferrari? I can have my Mondial, or pay 10 times that for a better Ferrari and still get smoked by a car much cheaper.

    2) Any Ferrari is an illogical choice. Any car is more practical and a better buy strictly by the numbers. You can get way more bang for your buck with MANY other vehicles. Ferrari is simply because you want it. Don’t complain, don’t explain.

    3) Some will always put other cars down. When I had a BMW 325 ci, some on the BMW discussion board insisted this car was way underpowered. Now that I have a 530, I miss that 325; it was way fun. You like your car? End of story.
  15. Cavallino Motors

    Cavallino Motors F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    May 31, 2001
    Florida or Argentina
    Full Name:
    Martin W.
    I have one coming and I can not wait to get the car. I love them. They are reliable and just as good looking. The extra what 15HP, who cares. Since you are not racing these cars anyhow, where is the point, bragging rights. Those that absolutely want that QV, I have one of those coming as well :)

    Keep yourself posted at www.4Ferrari.com

    (shameless plug :))
  16. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    i would rather have a carb car only because i know carbs and how to diagnose them. the lack of technology makes the older cars easier to work on yourself at the level i am at. more on topic, i would get a FI 80 to 82 308 if it was a great car with a stellar PPI and service records. a great point was made with the fact these cars are old and slow and most anything will stomp them nowdays.heck my 1970 Z28 4 speed was one of the fastest MASS PRODUCED cars of its day, for a few years anyway, but i would take a 308 or mondail anyday. i had use of a friends old beat up MGB back in high school. the car was fun as hell and you could drive it near its limit and not go to jail or risk killing anyone. for some reason i want a 77 carb 308 specifically. but the injected cars are looking good since i can actually afford one of those! not everyone has 100k plus for a car, but we can get the smiles of having a fcar just the same. black sheep or not, i say go with it. i would love to have a LAMBO Jalpa, as much of a parts nightmare they are, i would still love to have one of those too. great thread!
  17. markrolf

    markrolf Karting

    Nov 26, 2003
    Kettering, UK
    Hi all,

    I've got a 81 GTBi. Yeah maybe it's not the fastest of Ferraris but it's the sound, and at the end of the day - It's still a Ferrari!!!

    Yes, Nissan and Toyota drivers may be able to go faster, but how much better is it to say you've got a Ferrari!!

    Long live the 308!!

    Dino246gt likes this.
  18. F328 BobD

    F328 BobD Formula 3

    Mar 17, 2001
    Southlake, TX
    Full Name:
    Hate to butt in here... I remember when I was looking for a car. I was looking at 308's and somebody told me to go drive a 328. This is exactly the reason I went with the 328. It has the reliability of FI with 260 hp. I also understand the 328 puts you into a different price level which is definitely a factor. I still love all the 308's.
  19. seschroeder

    seschroeder Formula Junior

    Apr 25, 2002
    Alexandria, VA
    Full Name:
    Steve Schroeder
    My 82 308 GSTi has been wonderful. It starts the first time, every time no matter how cold or hot and goes down the road. Perhaps it isn't as fast as some but then how fast can one really go on public roads?
    Dino246gt likes this.
  20. FerrariFrank1

    FerrariFrank1 F1 Rookie

    Aug 15, 2003
    Full Name:
    I bought a Red,'81 308GTSi,(hence,my FChat moniker. I don't have Red hair!) I got the car exactly 3 years ago,(Jan.5th.) It had 14,250 one owner miles,and had just had it's 15K,and a few new parts,(including computers). The car now has 18,800 miles. Not alot,as I also own a 'Vette,and another car. But,I don't have a problem with oil consumption. My car is S/N 35317,built in January of 1981. I check the oil after every drive,as,opposed to checking a "regular" car's oil after it sits for a little bit,and "settles". You have to check the 308 oil when it's warmed up. They told me,at one of the two authorized Ferrari dealers in my area,where I bought it. That it needs to be checked warm. They once had a guy call for a tow because his 308 didn't want to keep running. They towed it in,and found out that it had been extremely overfilled. he checked it,and refilled it cold. Also,I keep seeing posts about "2nd.gear" being hard to shift into,especially when cold. Mine doesn't,nor hasn't ever been like that. Windows? Fairly quick,unlike most 308's. I guess I got a good one. I'm very pleased with it,and have absolutely No regrets on buying a 2 valve car. I don't really go too fast in it very often. But,when I do,it's adequete. Not really that big a deal to me. My Corvette will blow it away,hands down. But....It's not a FERRARI!!! :) No,I love my '81 308,just the way it is. But,am also thinking of adding a Testarossa this year. If I really want to go fast,I'll just take that one out that day! :)
  21. btemplin

    btemplin Rookie

    Dec 17, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Full Name:
    Brian Templin
    As Dom also said, you can pretty much ignore the performance end of things. Your average "family" car of today can meet the performance of my 328! I just saw a review of the 2-door Honda Accord V-6 with 6 speed. 0-60 in 5.9 sec, top speed 153![/QUOTE]

    My dad has the new Subaru Forrester XT (SUV, turbo 4 cylinder) that does 0-60 in 5.3 seconds!!! Better than any 308 or 328 out there...and for a lot less $$. As if that's not bad enough, take a Mitsubishi EVO or a Subaru WRX XTi...either well kick the snot out of an early Testarossa off the line.
    The point being, when dealing with cars that are 10, 15, 20 years old or older, you have to get out of the mindset of comparing them to newer or "better" cars. I'm trying to sell my 1995 Porsche 911 so I can get a 328. My friends think I'm out of my mind...selling a relatively new Porsche to get an older, slower Ferrari. But it's my passion, it's what I REALLY want.
    Purchasing any Ferrari of any age is not something you do because it makes sense. No matter which F-car you get, there will always be something else out there that's considered "better". You buy one, any one, because it's what makes YOU happy. As some one else pointed out, no explanations and no justifications.
  22. GaryReed

    GaryReed F1 Rookie

    Feb 9, 2002
    Full Name:
    My very first Ferrari was a 1981 308GTSi and it was a learning experience. I bought it because the price was right ($23.5K) and I didn't want to deal with carb issues. It had the usual problems: oil leaks, slow windows, metric wheels, useless parking brake, etc.. The biggest concern was extreme oil consumption, I was going through at least a quart or more of oil with every tank of gas. After just a year, I sold the car ($27.5) and bought a real clean '83 308GTS QV.

    The QV used zero oil and kept me entertained for over five years.
  23. dave80gtsi

    dave80gtsi Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Nov 3, 2003
    Full Name:
    Dave Meredith
    Thanks to all of you good folks who have posted on this one - looks like I hit a nerve here with this topic, eh?

    Perhaps a bit of personal background might help to explain to you all a bit better where I am coming from with my original posting.

    My 80 "i" is my first Ferrari, and I came to it after (literally) 25 continuous years of wrenching on and restoring Fiats (thus, my side comment about already having had my fill of tuning Webers). If there was ever a marque which "gets no respect", it's a Fiat! So, when I found my 308, I figured that my automotive status would change dramatically. And, indeed, it has for the vast majority of the unenlightened. (Amusingly, the consistent first question that I receive when it becomes known that I have the 308 is "Is the color red?", and then next I always hear some lame joke about Magnum P.I.).

    After years of fiddling with Fiats, I suspect that I have a bit of a different slant on Italian cars in general than many of you good folks might. For me, the whole 'Return On Investment' justification to own this specific car or that other car is moot, as I am accustomed to dealing with fun Italian cars which cost next to nothing to buy, and are likewise sold for the same piddly amount. Therefore, the whole fun of ownership is down to working on and restoring the car - modifying this, improving that, and generally working with what you have, instead of wishing for something different. And, as such, the "i" models offer a tremendous amount of potential. If I was into this hobby strictly focused upon R.O.I., I would instead play the stock market.

    Of course, I would certainly prefer to have a QV if all other variables were set to the same. But, the difference in purchase price for the QV compared to the "i" can buy a lot of extra bits and pieces which all work together to add to the enjoyment of ownership.

    And, also of course, if and when the time comes to sell the "i", I will not receive as much money back as I would for a similarly nice QV. That's part of the deal, and one that I can easily live with. I spent years restoring a Fiat Spider, to illustrate as an example, put $12,500 worth of parts and material into it (and, all of my labor was considered free!), and sold it for $6,000 so to buy the 308. Foolish use of my money? Perhaps, to many of you. But, I figure that the enjoyment of working on and restoring these cars is my hobby. The personal satisfaction and feeling of pride over a job well done at the end of the day ( ... that was one good looking Spider when it was sold!) cost me that $6,500 difference over the years, and from where I sit that's cheap entertainment. One car at a time, I figure that I am doing my part to help keep old Italian sports cars on the road.

    Finally, a comment about the "i" burning oil issue, since it has been brought up. For what I have learned, there were two (2) primary causes of this, both long since sorted:

    1) The ridiculous practice, at the time, of having the cold start idle set to something like 2500 to 3000 rpm, done in the name of reducing initial start emissions. I cannot imagine ANY new "i" owner willing to put up with this nonsense, and can believe that the disconnection of this goofy feature would have been the first thing done by the new proud owner when the car was driven out of the showroom back then.

    2) An unreliable electrical connector which, when it failed, electrically cut out several of the cylinders. This valuable info came from Ric Rainbolt of this board (search the archives for the particulars), and I thank him here publicly for sharing the important tip.

    Point is that both of these faults, as well as others unique to the "i", are easily addressed. I personally don't think the electronics-in-the-leftside-trunk-getting-wet is a big issue for the 308 series, as even a casual inspection of this area can quickly verify that all is well, or that there is a problem which can be easily sorted.

    Bottom line - It's all about the fun of ownership for me, and so far I'm having a ball!

    Cheers - DM / Ohio
  24. sjmst

    sjmst F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jul 31, 2003
    Long Island, NY
    Full Name:
  25. Husker

    Husker F1 World Champ

    Dec 31, 2003
    western hemisphere
    My '82 GTSi 2V is pure joy. No oil consumption, no 2nd gear problems. I have driven the car problem-free for about 2 years. That's not to say there haven't been minor issues - horn compressor, headlamp replacement, etc. - but show me a 23 year old car without these minor issues and I will show you a liar. The mechanicals on these cars are SOUND. Car starts and runs like a bear. That's my take!

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