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GTB v. GTS

Discussion in '308/328' started by rdefabri, Jun 12, 2009.

  1. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    This has probably been discussed ad nauseum, but wanted to post as I had a recent point of reference.

    I had been driving a modern Spyder (Lambo Gallardo) and was appalled at the amount of cowl shake and flex in the chassis. To be expected considering how much is lost by losing the roof, but still shocking to me, at least in a car at that price.

    It's been years since I last drove a 308 or 328. I am getting hot on acquiring one, and my preference is a GTB as I like the look. However, as there are more GTS models, it's likely I could go that route, but I am wondering how much of a difference there is in the cars in terms of handing / flex, etc.

    I realize these are old cars, and that they aren't going to feel modern. I also assume that the GTS, with the removable top in place, probably gains some additional rigidity, but what is the view of people here - is a GTB that much different in terms of handling / flex?
     
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  3. Ferraripilot

    Ferraripilot F1 World Champ
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    I have heard a local shop owner say yes, they are indeed very different to drive. I have driven both and have not noticed much of a difference, but then again I am not exactly the discerning race driver type. I suspect a driver with a good amount of racing/track experience would be able to notice a difference while mere mortals such as myself would not. The GTS weighs maybe 40-50lbs more which will not really make a difference either.
     
  4. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    The test that stands out in my mind was the 328 review by Forza. They noted that the shake on the GTS was really noticeable. IIRC, the author thought something was wrong with the car as he had never noticed that on previous GTS' he had driven.

    Honestly, if I get one, I won't track it and I recognize it's no F430. My current classics would probably be buried by a 308 GTS anyway, but my Lexus GS400 would put all of them on the trailer, so performance isn't paramount.

    What is important is that feeling of being connected with the car. When I drove the Gallardo, I felt completely uncomfortable and had low confidence in it. I don't want to acquire a car if the feeling is the same. If the GTB is worlds better, then I'd just as soon hold off until I can find one instead of jumping at a GTS.

    Yes, I do need to drive a few prior to any purchase, but wanted to get opinions here first.
     
  5. greyboxer

    greyboxer F1 World Champ

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    Drive both and then think about your usage and whether the pleasure would be increased by having the roof off

    They're not racing cars anyway and you may find a GTS with the roof on quite acceptable
     
  6. JV's89

    JV's89 F1 Rookie
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    I've had both but never tracked the GTB. The roads around here are horrible enough to test any cars rigidity. I miss the solid feel of the GTB but it was a GTBi so it was a little on the slow side. Even with the top on my car it shakes and sqeaks alot on bumpy roads. If you're not happy with a newer Lambo I would bet your not gonna like a 20 year old GTS. Just my .2 cents.
     
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  8. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Right, that's sort of my thinking. Although as greyboxer notes, they aren't racing cars either - I don't plan on tracking at all. However, I don't want the thing to shudder so much I have no confidence in the car either.
     
  9. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
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    my first 308 was a carb GTS, then i had a GT4 and 3 GTB's. the last being my current GTB QV. there is a big difference between how a carb GTS drives, versus a GTB QV. i am not saying one is "better" than the other, other than they have very different seat of the pants feedback.

    a buddy of mine brought over his euro 77 GTB for me to tinker on for him, and he took my Euro GTB QV for a spin. we took turns and noted how both cars were different, but were "classic Ferrari" in how they felt, smelled , and sounded. its a very visceral thing, having one of these cars.

    these 308's are slow, but none of us here care about that, as many of us have the means to buy " what we want" and we chose and old Ferrari, on purpose ! :)


    to sum up the differences: the connected feeling you get from an older 308 GTS, wind in your hair, sun, the sounds and smell of the carbs, is only different in a 308 GT4, that it steers "quicker" and feels lower and nimbler than a GTS.

    the 308 GT4 has a cab forward feel to it, and its fun and refreshing.

    the QV GTB i have is my first injected Ferrari. many have commented on how easy it is to just start, and drive, like a well made Japanese car. the car has the sounds and smells of Italian metal and leather, and you can hear the performance exhaust and the air intake sucking air in if the right window is open. the carb noise is missed a bit, but the QV makes up for that by working all the time, with no muss or fuss.


    my best advice is to drive some cars, and figure out what you are looking for. then see whats out there.

    buy a GTB if you find one you like !
     
  10. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Thanks! Great write up, I appreciate it!

    It's through this website that I opened my mind up to a carb'd 308 - I'll likely go that way as I am a tinkerer, and I do appreciate the sights / sounds / smells.
     
  11. pad

    pad Formula 3

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    I equate your question with those regarding the Jaguar XKE. There is no car prettier than the XKE coupe - but nothing like driving the roadster with the top down. Same with the GTB / GTS. If you want art, buy the GTB. If you want driving pleasure, buy the GTS (and keep the top off). If you want a mechanically superior car, buy something new.
     
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  13. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
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    What he said.

    More broadly, the 308/328 are body-on-frame cars, with the frame providing structural rigidity and chassis attachment points. The body panels are attached to the frame. I'm skeptical of performance claims based on having a solid roof. (For unit body cars, like the Porsche 911 or Ferrari 348/355, etc., the roof is a critical structural compnent.)

    FWIW, I think the GTS has the better lines. The GTB rear quarter windows/roofline have always looked slightly awkward to me.

    That said, for track use or bad weather driving, I think I'd take a GTB over a targa.
     
  14. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I don't know, I think a Series 1 E-Type roadster is the cat's meow. The roof on the coupes looks a bit of an add-on. Ditto for the earlier XKs.

    I agree with you, though, that modern cars have far more rigidity than any of the cars mentioned here. Chassis technology has improved massively, to the point where old British cars in particular feel like ox carts. The only old car I've been in that felt tight to me was a 1958 Porsche Speedster, probably because it was unit body from day one.
     
  15. buckminster

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    I have never had a problem with the carbs and tuning and I have had the 79 308 12 years. Sounds like a Ferrari, can't beat the carbs for original sound. If you are over six feet tall I recommend the GTS.
     
  16. GrayTA

    GrayTA F1 World Champ
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    I am somewhat of a novice at this, but I get a pretty good feel for different cars I have driven.

    For your reference - I drove a fairly low mileage 79 GTB - this car felt very tight and solid. It was fairly subdued until I got on the gas a bit, then the sound of the carbs was really awesome.

    I have also driven an 85 GTS QV (the one I bought) - this car was much more fun to drive as the top was off and the sun was in and all I could hear was the wonderful sound of the engine - no carbs of course, but just pure mechanical joy.


    If you arent tracking, then I believe that the GTS would be a more fun car.


    PDG
     
  17. CliffBeer

    CliffBeer Formula 3

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    I've driven both the 308GTB and 308GTS and didn't really notice a lot of difference in terms of stiffness/cowl shake. Both seemed very stiff to me and completely acceptable from the standpoint. I may not be the most aware driver so perhaps I'm just not as attuned to it as others, however, I certainly do notice when are car has excessive cowl shake. For comparison they both seem stiffer (less cowl shake) than a contemporary 911 or alfa spider or just about any other full convertible I've driven. They both have a pretty efficient and structurally intense chassis underneath the bodywork. I don't think you'd be disappointed but best to go get some personal seat time with both for first hand experience. The old 308s are pretty softly sprung, and the early ones ride on 14 inch wheels with tall side wall tires which certainly helps to absorb some shocks to the chassis.
     
  18. tommott77

    tommott77 Formula Junior

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    I have been wondering the same thing. Just hearken back to all the open-topped, tube framed, race cars over the last half century. Now I am sure a good number of them were built due to regulations, but then again I am sure a good number of them were not.
     
  19. 308 GTB

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    #16 308 GTB, Jun 12, 2009
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  20. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    Proof that the body provides strength is seen in the GTS rockers as you open the door and step into the car. The GTB has no raised re-inforcement to climb over. The GTS reminds me of a C4 vette (not quite as extreme though) as you step over the knee wall to get to the floor and seat. The GTS also has different anti-sway bars, thicker than the GTB and I suspect that is to make up for chassis flex, its not like the GTS is heavier and requires stiffer suspension.
     
  21. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
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    #18 Newman, Jun 12, 2009
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  22. hardtop

    hardtop F1 World Champ

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    My first two Ferraris were a 308 QV GTSi and a 328 GTS. Twisting was pretty obvious. Sometimes on a tight curve with a big change in camber, the 308's door would come unlatched part way. My 3rd Ferrari which I bought kind of on a lark was a 77 308 GTB and that was it. There was no going back. You will hear people say that if you don't track it, it won't matter but I take the opposite view. I can tell the difference in the first 50 feet of driving. The b's are much better mannered. I might point out that all 308's, even B's are not very stiff by today's standards. I feel the car shudder when I hit a bump but I can no longer tolerate the movement and shaking in an S. I don't think there would be much difference in an objectove handling test like skid pad or slalom but the difference behind the wheel is very, very noticeable. Some people are more sensitive to chassis flex than others. It sounds like you (like me) are very sensitive to it. I don't think having the top in place makes any diffenence except in an instance where there would be extreme flexing. I remember putting my hand at the junction of the roof and windshield header. There was constant movement even on a smooth road. Try them both.

    Dave
     
  23. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
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    #20 thecarreaper, Jun 13, 2009
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    **cough**

    GTB's have clean lines......

    :)

    **cough**


    i have had 911 coupes, Lamborghini Jalpa's, and my fair share of muscle cars. i am predisposed to non open top cars, but the GTS's cars of the 308 series feel "loose" to me. the Jalpa was a direct competitor to the 911 and 308, its heavier, and feels "solid", but i still disliked the heavy top the Jalpas had. to me a GTS is fun, but i prefer the GTB for its feel, and secure feeling. the GTB to me are like baby BB512's. :)


    think of how a 911 Targa drives, compared to a same year 911 coupe. both are 911's, but both drive very differently.
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  24. Dr Tommy Cosgrove

    Dr Tommy Cosgrove Three Time F1 World Champ
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    I have always loved the smoother lines of the GTB but I bought a GTS because I like the top out option. In 11 years I have only put about 300 miles (out of almost 50,000) with the top in - until this spring.

    I had my a/c worked on and have been using it since the Ferrari Challenge in Atlanta last April. I have been surprised how much I enjoy the top in, didn't think I ever would. I could live with a GTB!
     
  25. judge4re

    judge4re F1 World Champ

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    Buy one of each. ;)
     
  26. furmano

    furmano Two Time F1 World Champ
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    #23 furmano, Jun 13, 2009
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    I've never driven a GTS but after a local drive with some guys which included a high speed run on a broad, curving four lane highway, the driver of a 328 GTS asked if I had felt shuddering or twitching on the curves. I told him I didn't and in all sincerity, I didn't know what he was talking about.

    I concur.

    -F
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  27. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I'm with you there. The old 911 Targas are awful compared to the old 911 coupes.
     
  28. rdefabri

    rdefabri Three Time F1 World Champ
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    I am 5'6" and although there isn't much hair left up top, I am incredibly vain ;)

    The idea of a GTS is cool, but I've never been so enamored with top off (I do own an XKE coupe - art to me!)...Some good commentary here, still makes me think the "B" is the way to go.

    As stated previously - like a small 512 BBi!
     

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