1985 FERRARI 308 GTB MICHELOTTO GROUP 4
Ferrari's foray into the world of rallying
The first Ferrari developed in collaboration with Michelotto
The 11th and last copy produced
Engine just rebuilt
Eligible for Tour Auto, Cento Ore Modena
Cento Ore Modena
308 GTB GROUP 4
Fiberglass and Kevlar
FERRARI V8 2.926L
290 HP. @ 8000 RPM
The Ferrari 308 GTB, heir to the Dino 246 GT and the Dino 308 GT4, was presented at the Paris Motor Show in 1975. The car, part of the Italian manufacturer’s standard range until 1983, also had the honour of being developed to create competition versions, both in Group 4 and in Group B. The model now being offered for sale by Ascott Collection is one of the rarest members of the Ferrari 308 GTB racing lineage, which were produced in very small numbers. It was built in February 1985 – the very last of the 308s to be produced for competition and the ultimate Group 4 model. Authenticated by the Ferrari Classiche department, it bears witness to a legendary period, and holds an important place in both the ancient and modern history of the brand, being the car which inaugurated the collaboration between Ferrari and Michelotto!
The development of the 308 GTB’s racing version
At the end of the 1973 season, Ferrari made a radical decision – to devote itself henceforth solely to Formula 1, and not develop any other programmes in parallel, as was previously the case with the 24 Hours of Le Mans, for example. This choice of concentrating its resources and efforts did not, however, curb the ambitions of many private teams, which were calling on the brand to develop a model to meet the Group 4 specification. Some of them wanted an authentic Ferrari, refusing to fall back on the Lancia 037 developed for rallying by the Fiat parent company.
Not wishing to go back on his decision to focus on Formula 1, Enzo Ferrari found a solution for them and entrusted the project to Michelotto... In 1978, this Ferrari dealer in Padua, a true Ferrari specialist, took the base of the 308 GTB (chassis 20951 supplied by Ferrari) and prepared it for rallying. Giuliano Michelotto believed in the 308’s potential, and set up his first project with support from Ferrari, thereby initiating a collaboration that is still ongoing today! After the first model and its rallying successes, the customers quickly arrived. At the time, Charles Pozzi, a French importer of the brand, was the keenest advocate of developing 308 GTB 4 production (through the voice of Daniel Marin, its managing director). As he was looking to replace his Daytonas, he placed an order with Michelotto for four 308 GTBs in Group 4 configuration.
The first Ferrari Michelotto in history
The 308 was thus the first Ferrari born of the collaboration with Michelotto. After preparing the engine for the Lancia Stratos, Michelotto joined up with Ferrari, and became the partner and preparer that we know today. With its tubular chassis, fiberglass body, and reinforcements with carbon-kevlar panels, the 308 GTB weighed in at only 1020 kg. The wider wheel arches were conspicuous but did nothing to break the harmony of the Pininfarina lines. Other notable features – dictated by rallying requirements – were a suspension that increased ground clearance and travel, and a full set of high-intensity lights.
Michelotto reduced the weight of the cylinder heads and changed the pistons of the V8, which still had Weber carburettors on the first versions before then switching to Kugelfischer mechanical injection. With just under 300 hp, the car’s power unit was aided by a revamped transmission for rallying, with a custom-built close-ratio, 4-speed gearbox and a ZF limited-slip differential. The first versions developed 288 hp at 8000 rpm. This was a significant increase compared to the standard 308 GTB’s 255 hp at 7000 rpm.
For context: the 308 GTB was produced in both Group 4 and Group B versions. While the latter may seem more extreme, being the result of regulations put in place from 1982/1983, this is not at all the case. In fact, Group B was designed above all to allow a larger number of manufacturers to compete, with the minimum number for the production model being reduced from 400 to 200 units. But the modifications permitted were more restrictive, meaning that the 308 GTB Group B cars came much closer to the road model than the Group 4 versions, for which more extensive developmental engineering work was authorized.
While from 1977 Ferrari reverted to metal bodies (with steel and aluminum openings), it was the versions with fiberglass bodywork that were chosen as the basis for subsequently producing the Group 4 GTBs. This particularity explains why the chassis numbers of the Group 4 (and Group B) 308 GTBs are often among the older, exclusively pre-1977 models.
S/N 21883 offered for sale
Chassis 21883 is one of 11 cars built to Group 4 specification, and was the last to be built, in February 1985. It’s also the last competition 308 GTB, with the Group B specification versions (only four cars) being produced only in 1983 and 1984.
The car being presented by Ascott Collection today, bearing chassis number 21883, is one of only three copies delivered new in the United States. Being the last car in the series, it benefited from the ongoing development work. This included in particular the replacement of the Weber 40 DCNF carburetors with the specially developed "Kugelfischer-Michelotto" mechanical injection system. Also worth mentioning is the addition of Kevlar body panels, whereas most earlier cars in the series featured fibreglass bodies with composite opening panels.
On leaving the Michelotto workshop in Group 4 configuration in 1985, it was entered for racing by its first owner. It took part in numerous competitions in the United States in the Eastern Motor Racing Association before returning to the paddocks of the Ferrari Challenge and even, in Europe, of the Ferrari Maserati Historic Challenge. After going from a livery combining red and silver to a Gulf livery, the car is now being presented in a red and white configuration.
Its first owner, Artie Wiener, kept it for the first 15 years of its existence. It was acquired in 2020 by Algar Ferrari in Philadelphia who in turn sold it to Bill Noon in 2000. Bill Noon entered it in the Tour Auto in 2003 and 2006. It was then acquired by Dr. Dudley who entered it in the Maserati Historic Challenge. Dr. Dudley applied for Ferrari certification. 21883 on 16 October 2008 was the first 308 GTB Group 4 to receive its Ferrari classiche certificate on 16 October 2008. In August 2010, Andrew Beverly acquired the car and entrusted it to GTO Engineering for a full restoration. The car was repainted in red with white piping as it is today. The work was completed in 2011 and 21883 made its baptism of fire during the Tour Auto. She was entered again in the Tour Auto in 2012 where she won the class. The current owner purchased the car last year. The engine and gearbox have just been overhauled. She benefits from a power unit with maximum potential.
By Ferrari's own admission, 308s have become highly prized rarities. "All of them are highly sought after in memory of Ferrari's bold and brilliant foray into the world of high-level rallying," reads the brand's official website. The 21883 is a rare model that bears witness to this era, to be discovered with the Ascott Collection and – why not – to be entered in your next Tour Auto?