Restoring a vintage Ferrari is about so many tiny, annoying details – The Globe and Mail

August 3, 2022 by No Comments

Columnist Lou Trottier is in the process of restoring a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS.Lou Trottier/The Globe and Mail

They say it is all in the details. I’m not sure who “they” are, but a truer statement could not have been made when referring to restoring a classic Italian sports car. Case in point is the restoration of my 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS, which has provided a not-so-subtle lesson in patience. While I have experience repairing vintage cars, nothing could have prepared me for the incredibly finicky journey this car has taken me on. It’s as if Enzo Ferrari examined all the vehicles surrounding him, deciphered their engineering techniques and then executed the exact opposite. I also suspect it was this nature that earned him worldwide acclaim.

For years, the lowly 308 was labelled as the throwaway Ferrari because of the abundance of available cars, parts and ease of service. But now numbers have dwindled, original parts are rare and values have skyrocketed. Classic car insurer Hagerty currently places the value of a same year model Ferrari in excellent condition at $130,000. In 2014 it was valued at $35,000. But values on paper are just that, paper, these cars take a long time to sell for that kind of money. I acquired mine just moments before the market exploded. However, I only got so lucky. The previous owner was a fellow automotive technician who purchased the car sight unseen from an auction south of the border in the mid 2000s. It was only when he arrived with a truck and trailer that he realize what he had bought. The car ran, but was missing its complete interior. He spent the next decade sourcing missing parts without ever actually working on the car. When I took over, I received the car as he had mechanically found it, but now with boxes and boxes of additional parts. The problem is that while he purchased the major missing pieces like a dashboard, consoles and seats he did not get around to finding the smaller pieces. Whoever coined the motto there is no such thing as a cheap Ferrari nailed that one too. Smaller pieces like electrical switches, levers and other trim parts are now costing a small fortune.

I receive regular reader requests for updates on my Ferrari restoration project. For those of you interested in seeing the actual car up close you can search my name plus Project 308 on the internet and watch more than 40 videos detailing its restoration.

For those who only want the highlights. The car is coming along slowly. As inferred to above, I have been stuck on the interior for quite some time. So many smaller insignificant parts are missing, and this has led to hours spent scouring the internet, when I wish I was working on the car.

One of the biggest recent hurdles was the interior carpet. I found a replica carpet from a company in Denmark, but the translated instructions, not having the original carpet to compare and the fact I have never installed a full carpet before made this a significant challenge.

The two doors are remounted, the full suspension and braking systems are also rebuilt, the engine is assembled and is sitting off to the side waiting …….



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.