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308 Carb or GTBi / GTSi (2V)?

Discussion in '308/328' started by nicolaprince, May 17, 2021.

  1. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
    Full Name:
    Nicola Prince
    #1 nicolaprince, May 17, 2021
    Last edited: May 17, 2021
    Good morning everyone, I am writing from Italy and after several years of wishing, dreaming and planning (basically since I was a child, as most of you I think!) I am finally ready to get a 308.
    My goal is to get a car for the life, to drive it possibly every weekend, and I do not care of appreciation, depreciation, speculation and so on. I just want to get one to enjoy the Ferrari experience.
    I am focussing on 308 for its style, affordability and limited performance - in the past I drove a 456 M and a 458 Challenge and on the public roads they are too dangerous, at least in my hands.
    Last week I had a quick drive of a '1978 308 GTS (Carburated, repainted red from blue, repaired exhaust with a small patch in the center, visible from behind), but due to sitting at the dealer for years it had bad tires so my experience wasn't the best one, while in the next days I should try a GTBi (original paint, very well preserved).
    For the moment I am excluding the QVs because of their price.
    My questions to the current or former owners of 308s are:
    - What are more reliable between carbed and injected models? I wish to have it ready for the drive every week, and given my very limited free time I don't want to waste too much of it with repairs.
    - Is there any reason to prefer a GTBi / GTSi over a carburated model?
    - Would you say that there is a minor or a huge difference between driving a carbed vs an injected vehicle?
    - GTS vs GTB: I like the idea to drive with the top off, but being 6' 1" tall I found myself a bit cramped with the top behind the seat, with the feeling that the windscreen was too low under my eye level. Is anyone really able to compare GTS vs GTB from experience? I am wondering if for an all rounder a GTB would be easier.
    - Last one: would you go for the most emotional or the better maintained/low mileage car for the budget? (I.s. so far the '78 308 I am evaluating has 94.000 km and no history, while the GTBi has full history and 40.000 km).
    Thank you very much for reading and for helping if you can!
    Ciao ciao!
    Nicola
     
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  3. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

    Mar 26, 2011
    10,994
    FRANCE
    I can answer - partly - the GTB vs GTS question, as I have both (1989 328s, but the cockpit is the same) and I am about 6'1 (exactly 1,84m, which would be 6 and half an inch). Much depend actually on your build (long or short legs, long or short torso, etc...) and how you usually sit in the car: more lying, or more erect...
    But it is true that the GTB has something like half-an-inch more headroom, and that I find my driving position instinctively immediately in the GTB, whereas it is more difficult in the GTS with the top on, and the windscreen is indeed a bit too short when I drive with the top off, but nothing material...(I tend to drive rather erect)

    As for the rest, well, I'll let the others answer...but a good carbed euro GTB will always be more desirable than a "2 valve-injected" (and more expensive); the driving experience is more raw. That being said, condition should always prevail; but between two cars of "more or less equivalent condition and history", the carbed car is the one to buy (but probably more expensive); not necessarly for the difference in performance, which, frankly, doesn't matter these days, but for the collectability.

    Rgds
     
  4. Kidasters

    Kidasters Formula Junior
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    Oct 4, 2013
    531
    Houston, Tx
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    Ken
    Between the Carb'd cars and the initial fuel injected cars, there is a difference in HP. The carb'd cars were supposed to have about 225 hp, the first inject cars only 200 hp. That's why they went to the QV - to get the engine to breathe better and back to 225 hp.

    On the carb'd car - some questions:

    When were the carbs last rebuilt? Were they rebuilt with sealed bearings on the butterfly shafts? Can you rebuild weber carbs, or do you know someone that can? Same with tuning?

    If you have more history on the fuel injected car, and no history on the carb'd car, and you don't care about value or originality, I'd get the car with complete history. If you want the one that should be worth more, and are willing to dive into a project, then the carb'd car.
     
  5. JC1720

    JC1720 Karting

    Jan 21, 2016
    55
    UK
    Ciao Nicola,

    My personal view only, I am sure others can answer better!
    • the carb cars have more power than the 2V injected (255 BHP vs 214 Euro spec, 205 US), with more torque and are a nicer drive IMHO.
    • injected cars are wet sump vs dry sump for the earlier cars - in practice, I don't think this makes any difference in day to day use
    • injection generally less trouble and easier to live with
    • however, if you use them frequently a lot of the issues with carb cars should be less - the more you use them the better, they don't long long periods of non-use. Carbs are fundamentally simple, but need use and a periodic tune up by someone who knows them
    • I wouldn't worry too much about higher mileages - they are simple and quite robust cars - but I would avoid anything without good history
    • Do check very carefully for rust, it can be hidden and expensive to fix
    • GTB vs GTS is a personal choice, try them both. If you're tall the GTB may be a little cramped (though that's part of the feel of a 70s sports car)
    • you'll get lots of great advice and help from this forum!
    I bought a '76 Carb GTB, for what it's worth - and it's lovely :)

    Good luck with your search!
    Ciao
    John
     
  6. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

    Mar 26, 2011
    10,994
    FRANCE
    The "Euro" carbed cars NEVER had 255 bhp, this is a myth. The "255" was a SAE figure, as the factory was using whichever figures suited them the best at the time; the true power figure of the carbed cars in DIN power is 230.
    Proof is that in the last sequence of owner's manuals for the carbed cars printed in 1980, when the factory decided to standardise on DIN figures for engine power, there is a sticker covering the figure "255" with "230" in the appropriate places.

    Rgds
     
  7. Alex308qv

    Alex308qv Formula Junior

    Jul 1, 2016
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    Alex
    Attended a regional Concorso yesterday with my QV and watched a number of 308s driving in. The much richer induction noise with the carbed cars was obvious. A small point to add to the dialogue here.
     
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  8. Alex308qv

    Alex308qv Formula Junior

    Jul 1, 2016
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    Alex
    Attended a regional Concorso yesterday with my QV and watched a number of 308s driving in. The much richer induction noise with the carbed cars was obvious. A small point to add to the dialogue here.
     
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  10. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
    Full Name:
    Nicola Prince
    Good afternoon guys,

    thank you veeeery much for your prompt replies! I really appreciated all your comments.

    @ nerofer: I have a normal body, with slightly longer legs and arms than average (must be why stock shirts are often short armed on me :)) and I will carefully check the seating position in the GTB to see if I fit better. In the GTS with the top behind my back I had your same experience. Clearly, I imagine that a GTS with the top on or a GTB have similar headroom, or is it any different?
    @ all others: my corporate car is a Nissan XTrail diesel with some 150 hp and 340 Nm. When last monday I drove the 308 Carb I didn't really have the impression to be blasted away or pushed against the seat, or that it was a monster comparing to my Nissan. If I was looking for performance then I think I'd check F355s or 360s instead. I understand that 308s are vintage cars, and even if a QV or a Carb might be a touch quicker, with today's eyes 20-25 hps less of a GTBi/GTSi aren't really making any difference. Anyhow I will double check in the next days when I will try the GTBi.
    Two more things: all cars I am considering are EU-specs, because here in Italy they're way more popular, so I am not considering non-EU spec ones. Second thing, I asked the dealer if the GTBi could be tuned to get to the QV performance, just 25 hp more than its stock dataset, and he said yes - afterall the engine block can manage at least the carb and the QV perfomance: is it too a bad idea?

    Finally, if anyone owns or owned both Carb and 2Vi, could he or she share any advantage of the 2Vi over the carbs, or there isn't any?
    As I was saying, I am very focussed on the reliability to maximise the driving time and minimize the trips to the workshop. How ofter should a carbed car be checked/tuned?

    Thank you again! I quite enjoy your company on this chat.

    Ciao ciao,
    Nic
     
  11. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

    Mar 26, 2011
    10,994
    FRANCE
    The GTB has slightly more headroom than the GTS with the top on, about half an inch; it is not much, but it is noticeable.
    The "Saratoga Top" (aftermarket transparent top) makes things a bit better in the GTS, that is, if you manage to find one...they are very rare in Europe.

    As for modifying a car, well...it is your car; that being said, with the passing of time, "full stock" configuration is more and more desirable should you, or your family, have to sell the car one day. Such things as original color, full documented history, and above all, condition, are the most important things. 308s are not exactly rare, but those in top condition with a clear history do carry a premium.

    Rgds
     
  12. Dr Tommy Cosgrove

    Dr Tommy Cosgrove Three Time F1 World Champ
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    BIG time
     
  13. Kidasters

    Kidasters Formula Junior
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    Two points: On "conversion" - you basically have to swap the engine. Don't do it.

    On "on a carb'd car - how often...." - the answer is more than you want to. Fuel injection will always be easier.

    I have a 78 GTS (carbs) - and I'd say, for what you are describing you want - get the fuel injected car.
     
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  15. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
    Full Name:
    Nicola Prince
    Thank you very much for advice, Kidasters!
    Would you be so kind to tell few examples of disappointment or unexpected failures stopping your saturday afternoon ride, not to say a journey?
    I am also wondering which 308 could be more reliable for long trips, where you can get far from the local mechanic and where you can face risks not to find a skilled workshop or a repair could let you down for days. I would like to drive my car far on the Dolomite mountains too, which might be like 800-1.000 km in 2-3 days.
    A dear friend collecting carbed cars says they’d be more robust than injected (no sensors o delicate injectors) but he’s no direct experience with Ferrari.
    Thank you very much again!
    Nic
     
  16. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
    Full Name:
    Nicola Prince
    Thank you very much for the reply. I fully agree with everything.
    In case, I was simply thinking to make a temporary update to the dataset to inject just a bit more gas, without ever changing a single bit of the hardware. That way, the car could always be converted back to fully original.
     
  17. Brian Harper

    Brian Harper F1 Rookie
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    Feb 17, 2006
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    K-Jet has very little in the way of sensors and they have proven to be robust, IMO. And I don't think the injectors are delicate. Furthermore they are relatively cheap and easy to replace. For daily driving (and living in California) I think the FI is the right choice. For weekend enjoyment, collectability, sound, etc., carbs win.
     
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  18. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
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    Nicola Prince
    And if I daily drive carbs?
     
  19. Kidasters

    Kidasters Formula Junior
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    Well - it's a 40 year old car. Honestly - anything at any given time could fail. To me - the car that has service history trumps the car with no service history, no matter the fuel delivery and distribution. Car with no service history fails timing belt or belts - all done. Car with no service history fails water pump - big problem. Car with no service history ruptures big equalization hose between fuel tanks and car burns down - bad day.

    Like I said before - for what you want, get the car that has more knowns than unknowns.
     
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  20. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
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    Nicola Prince
    Thank you so much again. Very wise, never thought of equalization hose starting a fire!
     
  21. Brian Harper

    Brian Harper F1 Rookie
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    Feb 17, 2006
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    Then you do.
     
  22. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

    Mar 26, 2011
    10,994
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    Where are you based, Nicola? May I suggest you to write a P.M to our F-Chatter friend "AlbertoLP" who lives in Modena province and has a carbed 308 GTB...he might be able to help.

    Rgds
     
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  23. miketuason

    miketuason F1 World Champ
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    Feb 24, 2006
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    I say get the best 308 your budget can buy.
     
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  24. TheMayor

    TheMayor Eight Time F1 World Champ
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    Bingo.

    I had a carbed Euro 79 coupe and I liked the noise the carbs made. But reliability and mileage was a real problem. I had an 84 QV spider and that was better, but didn't sound as good.

    Everything is a trade off but one thing is for sure -- get the best one you can.
     
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  25. kcabpilot

    kcabpilot Formula 3

    Apr 17, 2014
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    Carb fetish is basically a nostalgia thing. Some people think they sound "better" I think "different" is a more apt description. For what it's worth F1 ditched carbs sometime in the late 60's but it's up to you. There aren't a whole lot of 308's for sale at any given time to choose from so, as has been suggested, pay more attention to the overall condition and pick the best you can find. They all deliver in the enjoyment category and reliability is hitched to condition regardless.
     
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  26. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
    Full Name:
    Nicola Prince
    Thank you very much! Actually I just found "Albert-LP"... just hope he's the right one! I am in Bologna, next door to Modena :)
     
  27. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
    Full Name:
    Nicola Prince
    Very interesting comparison, thank you! Could you possibly tell me more about "reliability and mileage was a real problem", here on the thread or in private if you prefer?

    I am getting to trust all the people saying carbed cars sound better, but this is my situation: I am 44, working 5 full days a week, 12 hours away from home everyday. In the evenings and on the weekends I am caring our young baby and helping my wife, who's working long hours too. In general I am "allowed" :) only 3 free hours for tennis on sunday mornings, so it's easy to understand that within the 308 world I need to get the least troublesome model. I would drive it on saturday or sunday afternoons for a couple of hours while they're having a nap, plus a couple of times a year with a friend or my wife for a weekend away. Breakdowns and frequent need for maintenance/adjusting, given my lifestyle, would sort of kill the experience. If for any reason an injected model can truly be considered more reliable (realtive to a 40 yrs old Ferrari reliability), then I think I would go for it and maybe postpone a carb for later.
    Some then would probably recommend to get a newer model like a 360 - my mechanic said one of his customer friends used to daily drive one for more than 160.000 km trouble free - but my heart is stuck on the timeless beauty of the 308, especially its nose, instrument panel, central console switches, plus the ground low seating position and unassisted steering!
     
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  28. nicolaprince

    nicolaprince Karting

    May 16, 2021
    132
    Bologna, Italy
    Full Name:
    Nicola Prince
    Thank you very much for your thoughts. Did you have any direct experience with 308s?
    It also makes a lot of sense what you and others are saying, to get the best possible car on budget with the best service history and overall condition, choosing among the limited offers of the moment.
     
  29. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

    Mar 26, 2011
    10,994
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    Then you are indeed very close from his home...

    Rgds
     
  30. nerofer

    nerofer F1 World Champ

    Mar 26, 2011
    10,994
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    The most reliable 308 is not a 308: it is the 328, but the aesthetics are not the same. I have two '89 328s, not a single problem in 13 years of ownership; you turn the key, it starts, and off you go.

    Rgds
     
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