Would You Buy This 308 at This Price??

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by GearHead, Jan 3, 2004.

  1. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    OK, here's the potential car.

    '83QV. 29,800 miles. Looks like it was a daily driver the first 5 years or so, slowed down in use the next 5, then only around 4,000 miles over the past 10 years.

    The good: Paint is original, body and paint are good. Interior is original, a little dirty (tan), but looks like it will clean up nicely. I've driven it, and it drives nicely. Very hard to shift into second until warm. Other than that, feels good.

    The bad: Very little service over the past 10 years. The belts are probably 10+ years old! Bottom of the engine is fairly oily, hard to tell where it's coming from. Windows are more than Ferrari-window slow, the driver's window comes to a stop.

    Price: Around $28,000.

    Here's the deal. I have lots of automotive experience with other foreign brands (mostly German) - have done it all, engine, paint, body, etc. It's a major hobby that I've enjoyed for 20 years.

    The car obviously needs a major service. I would plan on doing the work myself, and would plan on removing the engine to change all the seals, belts, adjust the valves, and, importantly, clean everything up and detail the engine bay. I'd be ok with doing this slowly and having the car off the road for a few months. Doing the work is part of my enjoyment of owning a car.

    I'd prefer to have a car that I could drive for a year or so before having to do all that work, to get a feel for it, get used to the car, etc. But, I guess there is some benefit from having to just jump in both feet first!

    What do you think about that deal? Good, bad, indifferent?

    What would the parts cost be (roughly) for a 30K major?

    Any thoughts/advice appreciated!
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  3. Meister

    Meister F1 Veteran
    Silver Subscribed

    Apr 27, 2001
    Duluth, MN
    Full Name:
    The Meister
    That sounds like a good deal to me. See if you can't get the price down a little more because of the lack of service... perhaps you've done that already.
    I like the fact that you will be doing all the stuff yourself. I bought my 308 in a similar condition and have been going through it myself also. That way I know things are done right. I can't tell you how many stories I've heard of guys buying cars that were "recently serviced"... and paid a premium for it. Then only to spend thousands to do it all over again. The moral is if you can do the work fyourself, find a car you know needs service and do it right yourself.
    Service at a shop will run from $2500 to ? depending on where you are, how much you want done and how honest the shop is. Doing it yourself saves a lot. Belt and tensioner kits are around $250.00. Gaskets can get expensive, cam seals, etc.
    You've come to the right place. There are a lot of people here who can give you great advice (more than I), and you can learn a ton just reading the technical threads/archives. It's really helped me in my ownership and I'm sure more people will chime in with advice... good luck
  4. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    Yeah, my local shop is quoting $5500 for the 30K service.

    A huge part of the fun of owning cars like this is learning about them and doing the work on them, at least to me. It would not be uncommon for me to spend more hours working on a car or motorcycle then driving it, even after the car is "perfect" to most people. I don't truly "bond" with a car until I've at least taken the engine out once!

    It's a sickness!

    Also glad to have found this site and glad to see there are lots of other DIY wrenchers out there!

    Although I have searched the archives for HOURS without finding the definitive engine pull thread/link! Or a definitive belt/bearing/pulley replacement thread/link with lots of pics!
  5. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    Sorry, but the photo based procedures don't yet exist.
    There's good text write-ups for both tho, and some more recent threads that contain info that should be used to amend them.

    BTW, I wouldn't worry too much about that creeping&stalling window:

    Sounds pretty typical for a 308 that hasn't had the power window clean/lube service along with the fuse block not being cleaned & soldered. The grease inside of the window drive turns into something somewhere between cosmolene & 3/4 cured epoxy! In weather below 50 degrees my passenger window wouldn't move at all! in 90 degree weather it'd creep but make it up & down. In temps in between it'd usually stall & have to be helped by hand while holding the switch down.

    30K major service rough costs:

    Belts: 2 @ $20
    Tensioner Bearings: 2 @ $120
    Cam Seals: 2 @ $70
    Cam cover gasket Set w/cam housing o-rings: $175
    Distributor end cam seals: 2 @ $15
    Hylomar - $5
    RTV - $5

    Have probably forgot a couple of things, but that's pretty much the list
    unless you do a valve adj & need shims.

    T.Rutlands, Ferrari.uk several others can sell you a 30K service set of seals & gaskets. Be sure to ask exactly what's in the set as they differ from place to place.

    There's a pretty good chance that the oil on the pan is one or more of the following which you'll be taking care of:
    -cam oil seals,
    -cam seal housing o-rings
    -one/both of the cam covers
    -distributor end cam seals

    or (less likely) oil can be leaking around one of the sump cover studs, or one of the studs for the front passenger side motor mount.

    If there's also oil all over the alternator & the heat shield under the alternator it'll be one or more of the 1st 3 for sure. Also, if oil on alternator, when you do the service, take a good look at the alternator slip rings, oil dropping onto the alternator gets sucked into it & the brushes eat up the slip rings. Alts can be rebuilt by any BOSCH rebuilder for less than $200.
  6. Steve Magnusson

    Steve Magnusson Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa

    Jan 11, 2001
    30°30'40" N 97°35'41" W (Texas)
    Full Name:
    Steve Magnusson
    As a buyer, I don't think it's unreasonable to use ~$5K as the "30K service needed" discount on a 308 if a seller is trying to get out easy.

    What exterior color? Don't flame me, but, again as a buyer, anything other than rossa corsa on the outside is a (maybe serious) discount (as is anything other than black or tan on the inside).

    Does the AC work well? (maybe another $1~2K discount)

    How about the emission stuff? Even if you don't have emission worries/requirements, a "complete" car has to be worth more than an incomplete car (could be several $K to restore).

    What about wheels? Anything other than stock 16" Magnesium alloy 5-spoke wheels would be a minus (e.g., 390mm wheels maybe a ~$2K minus)

    OK, I confess -- I'm a pessimist like cLyDe, and the seller should just give you the sh*tbox 308 ;) (FList joke).

    I know good 308s have been going up lately, but from your description it seems a little needy to me even for $25K. Good luck with the negotiations...

    PS Always amazes me how many 29,XXX mile F there are...
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  8. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
    Full Name:
    Sean F
    QV cars that are in nice shape and serviced are going for low to high 30's. The $28k price you mentioned already has the service factored in.

    You don't need to pull the engine to do a major service. Read the write up at expensivecar.com link - http://www.cameragear.com/ec/timing.htm to get an idea of what needs to be done.

    Replacing the oil pan and gear box sump pan can be done while it's up in the air.

    In addition to a major, I'd recommend you replace all the water hoses, fuel lines (especially the fuel filler kneck line). Most of the large straight stuff can be bought off the shelf, as can the small fuel lines.

    Change the oil and gearbox fluid (Redline 75x90NS NS=No Slip Additive) double check the timing.

    Oh, be sure and get a PPI with a compression check. If it's good, you're looking at the most $2000 in parts if you DIY the service stuff, otherwise it will be more than $10K to fix all that stuff I just mentioned.

    When you're done, ask around and find out who the best detail shop in town is and have them do the outside (machine polish and wax). You'll be amazed at what a good detailer can do to old tired paint on a car.

    The inside can be done with mostly off the shelf stuff, except do the leather with Leatherique.com (condition and pristine clean).

    Have fun. I'm about to do most of that to my '77GTB (except the PPI and sump gaskets).
  9. LSU348

    LSU348 Formula 3

    Dec 19, 2003
    Sugar Land
    Full Name:
    I just closed a deal on an 85 GTB QV at 24k in about the same shape maintenance wise then what you listed. GTS is worth a bit more so I would offer 26k for that car (if I could fit in a GTS) and be happy with 27k. Your paint sounds better then mine was so maybe even 28k is good.

    Original price was 30k before I called. Dropped to 27,5 k with service done - finished at 24k. If this was a GTS in identical shape I would have paid 28k happily.

    Sounds like you have a good deal on your hand. I am a competent shade tree mechanic and had a PPI done. I recommend it. Will cost you around $250. Go watch the PPI. I learned a ton about how to access all the areas of the car.
  10. Ksullender

    Ksullender Formula Junior

    Sep 3, 2003
    $28,000 is too high. $25 - 26K is were you should be.
  11. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    Thanks for all of the input, very valuable.

    I tend to agree that $28K, while in the ballpark, is probably a little too high. Seems to me a 20 year old 308 with essentially no maintenance in the past 10 years is going to potentially need quite a bit, even beyond the obvious major service. Brakes, cooling system, all lines, hoses, etc.

    The car shows ok, but is certainly not going to be winning any concours events. I'd classify it as fairly clean, a good driver. My wife, on the other hand, who has by necessity become accustomed to my insane obsession with cleanliness and not stopping until a car is put "right," called this particular 308 "a piece of crap" after seeing it.

    At $28K, for the "average buyer," it seems the car can easily become a $35K car by the time it is safely on the road. A lot more if a little bit of bad luck is thrown in.

    I've corresponded with Clyde over the years during my on-again, off-again search - I know what kind of value he'd place on the car!
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  13. Verell

    Verell F1 Veteran
    Consultant Owner

    May 5, 2001
    Groton, MA
    Full Name:
    Verell Boaen
    I tend to agree with you. Especially since 308s don't seem to be pulling the kind of bids on eBAY that they were 2 years ago. I haven't checked the Ferrari Market Letter's asking price index this month, but I'm not sure whether or not asking prices have dropped to match actual sale prices.

    Another factor is that with the economic up-turn, the folks who were 'buying-down' into 3x8s are now looking to buy 348s & 355s.

    Sure would be nice if there were NADA blue book type info on these cars.
  14. jimpo1

    jimpo1 Two Time F1 World Champ
    Owner Silver Subscribed

    Jul 30, 2001
    Dallas, TX
    Full Name:
    Jim E
    $5500 for a major on a 308 is way too high, that's factory authorized dealer pricing. I've seen majors on 328's run from $1800 to $3800 at independant shops. Shop around.
  15. Mark 328

    Mark 328 Formula Junior

    Nov 6, 2003
    Orange, Ca
    Full Name:
    Mark Foley
    My 2 cents:
    Cavallino list the QV price to be $30-45K, however $28K for a car that has not been serviced seems a bit high. I would be careful about using the odometer as a measure of the mileage (the speedometer can be easily unplugged). I would be sure to look at several cars before buying one. Although my next comment will likely spur lots of debate, I would prefer a car with a more miles and regular service. There are a lot of problems associated with low miles cars including problems with seals, brakes, suspension and coolant related corrosion problems. On this chat you seem to hear the people with low milage cars doing the same work that people with high milage cars are doing.
    On the positive side, It seems that it would be better to buy a car and do the service yourself (with the price adjusted) and if you have looked at a few you would be a better judge of the market than I.
    Another thing to look for is that all the tools, jack, book, smog equipment ect. are included in the deal. (these can cost $1,000).
    A few years ago, when I was looking, I saw a nice carbed 308 w/o service records for $24K. Because the price difference between a 308 and 328 (where somebody wanted to sell it) was not too much different, I ended-up going to a 328.
    I realize that some aftermarket parts can be purchased, however for the 60K service on my QV 328 , It cost me about $700 for the timing belts, seals and gaskets from Ferrari. Parts for these cars are expensive therefore it is critical to start out with the right car.
    Also, I would not drive that car until the belts etc were changed.
  16. norm

    norm Karting

    May 30, 2003
    Rochester, NY
    Sounds like a 25-26K car, without seeing it. 4K for a major service, including new plug wires. Even doing the work yourself, could easily get upside down in the car. your time is worth something. So even though restoring the leather isn't an expensive undertaking, it is time consuming. best to shop around and get the most car you can for the $'s.
  17. PeterS

    PeterS Four Time F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Jan 24, 2003
    Full Name:
    I bet you will be into this car for $20K with EVERYTHING done! I say that because of the comment you made about the transmission. I bought my '77 308 for $15.5K / 66K miles from Ferrari of SF, same exact scenario. It ran and looked great. I knew that I would put some bucks into it. I had a 30K done and that ran about $9K. There was quite a bit of pricey parts that were needed. Once into the gearbox, the sync's were toast along with the 4-5th gear that saw some heat at one point. $8K for a full gearbox rebuild. $2K for newly upholstered seats and pannels / floormats.

    When you get a quote for a 30K (lets say at 4-6K), you can expect that there will be other parts that need to be replaced. With my car, I had no problem with the expense because this particular 308 is a very low VIN Euro. This was the exact car I looked about two years for!

    I would focus on an offer around $20-24K. If it needs a lot of work, you will be VERY upside down in the car Vs spending an extra $10K on one that needs little to no work.
  18. 8valve

    8valve Formula 3

    Sep 3, 2003
    Full Name:
    Mick A.
    But do not plan on driving it for a year without first replacing those belts, if they are indeed 10+ years old.....By the way, is it a GTB or GTS?
  19. flyingboa

    flyingboa Formula 3

    Nov 27, 2003
    Full Name:
    For what is worth here is my experience on a 328 with 13000 miles on th clock that was not used for 6 years nor serviced for 12....
    I just had to replace all belts, all liquids, check all brake system (nothing wrong found) and replace the water reservoir tab. The car runs great without any problem.
    Hope the same will apply to you.
    Best of Luck
  20. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    A lot of these cars have not been serviced! (They are all GTS).

    I looked at another low mileage '83 that had its 7500 mile service done in late 1984, and has not been serviced since!

    We are talking about a timing belt that is 19 years old! Talk about willing to live dangerously.

    I've looked at 4 recently, and all have had the bottoms of the engines covered with oil and grime, too. What leaks so much on these cars?
  21. thecarreaper

    thecarreaper F1 World Champ
    Silver Subscribed

    Sep 30, 2003
    well its the fact that with out proper service, all the seals are dried out and will leak. remember the engines are aluminum and it heats cycles in a different way than say cast iron. back when these cars were new, there were few aluminum anythings out there , much less a V8.now from camary's to camaro's aluminum is everywhere. i have a theory on fixing these common leaks in old fcars with fitted freeze plug with roll pins installed. been doing this on alloy drag motors for years. ferrari stuff ( parts) are expensive but when you compare it to a top fuel drag motors or say a NASCAR engines and its pocket change. the new advances we have today open up many ways to improve the cars we care about. the majority of new cars made ( last 10 years or so) are pretty much meant to be disposable. if its any help. many of the leaks you are describing will be taken care of when the major service is done. unless the car is dirt cheap, the fact that it has been neglected is a major concern and price breaker.
  22. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    These are kind of unique cars to buy as used cars, there are so many "shiny-but-totally-mechanically-neglected" cars.

    Driven moderately when new, and reasonably cared for, but then essentially just parked for the next 10 years. Owners don't drive them much anymore because they know they are living on borrowed time with a 10+ year old belt. They want to get rid of the car, but they don't want to drop the $5,000 - $7500+ that it would take to "cure" 10+ years of complete mechanical neglect, esp. since they want to sell the car anyways.

    The typical of what I've seen: Nice and shiny on the outside, interior shows some wear (Ferrari leather certainly doesn't seem to hold up well, my 140,000 mile '86 BMW leather looks better than the 25,000 mile 308's I've seen), the bottom of the engine is coated with oil and grime. No records since the 80's or early 90's.

    That's kinda been par for the course.

    I also wonder if they have 10 year old brake fluid and trans lube. The answer seems to be "yes"! I also wonder if some of these have had the same engine oil in them for 5+ years.

    If I didn't have the desire and ability to work on the car myself, I wouldn't touch any of the one's I've looked at with a 10 foot pole, even at $25,000. For the average person with no mechanical aptitude or interest to buy one of these "shiny beaters" is really a recipe for financial disaster. I can easily see one of these $28,000 cars becoming a $38,000+ car in a heartbeat (the major service plus water pump is a given, plus everything else on a car that has been mechanically neglected for 10 years).

    An interesting process!
  23. Steve King

    Steve King F1 Rookie

    Feb 15, 2001
    Got my 77 2 yrs ago with 32k on the clock and the 30k just finished. According to the 30k repair slip it cost $1700 for the service. This was belts , tensioners , valve adj , cam seals , carb tune , plugs , wires , dist. adv. check (top bearings and bottom seals replaced) , timing , all fluids changed , AC charge , new alt/AC belts , clutch adjustment , new fuel hoses , brakes/rotors checked and front/rear wheel alignment. This was done by a private Ferrari mechanic in Burlington Vermont. So in todays $'s I would think a major like this would cost maybe $2000 ? So now its time for cleaning up the window motors/tracks and redye of the seats and fix the zipper in the trunk. I just did the 15K minor myself and decided to changes the belts (needed a little Fcar learning to supplement my Jag background) and tensioners along with upgrading the WP to the larger bearing type. Fun car to play with and drive. Brings me back to my 3 2bbl setup I ran in my earlier Vettes. Tinker , tinker , tinker and love it.
  24. GearHead

    GearHead Karting

    Jan 3, 2004
    Yeah, I've spent days combing the 'Net for tuneup and maintenance info. Actually quite a bit of stuff out there. Including the workshop manuals, nice!

    I really don't see the mystery of the timing belts. It looks like other than getting the AC compressor out of the way, there is nothing difficult about the belts and tensioners. In fact, looks a bit easier than many other cars - access doesn't seem all that bad.

    Valves adjusts also look like any other shim valve setup.

    The CIS system is one I am very familiar with from my German cars. Heck, CIS has been used on everything from Audi to Volvo.

    The one thing that looks a little difficult is engine removal. Other mid/rear engine cars (like Porsche) have the engine removed from the bottom. Much, much easier than trying to lift it out of the top. Go with gravity, instead of fighting it! I can drop a 911 engine in less than an hour, and a 914 engine in probably 30 minutes (or your pizza is free!) I guess the tube-type frame makes removal from the top necessary on the 308.

    I've printed out quite a bit of material re: 308 maintenance. To be honest, I don't see anything scary or out of the ordinary . . . am I missing something?
  25. Ksullender

    Ksullender Formula Junior

    Sep 3, 2003
    It's all relative.

    MRFOTOS Karting

    May 26, 2003
    Maui, Hi
    Dont forget the shocks/bushings, leaky shocks,and dried up bushing are also common things that need to be looked out for on the older 308s.
    more hidden $$$ to fix these possible gremlins.
  27. joeyy

    joeyy Karting

    Nov 11, 2003
    long island
    Full Name:
    factor in all work you are able to do yourself. (do not add your labor as a cost) plus parts and outside sublet costs. if it adds up to be less than a car that you know is good with all records ect. than you can see what the car should cost you.
  28. Wayne 962

    Wayne 962 Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 27, 2003
    Nope! I've come to believe it's all inuendo and hype from Ferrari mechanics who like to charge big bucks for routine maintenance...


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