The 308 GTB made its debut at the Paris and London shows in 1975. Built to a Pininfarina design by Scaglietti, it retained the 308 GT4′s V8, albeit with dry sump lubrication. The latter made for lower engine mounting and better cooling thanks to the fact that more oil was present. The first models boasted fibreglass coachwork.
The long awaited replacement for the Dino 246 GT model made its inaugural appearance at the 1975 Paris Salon. The Pininfarina designed body had a pronounced wedge profile, with a rectangular egg-crate aluminium radiator grille below a slim full width satin black front bumper. However, there were numerous key design elements of the Dino 246 GT carried through into the body details. These included the scalloped door intakes, twin circular rear light assemblies, and the vertical concave rear screen bounded by buttressed sail panels. In essence the shape was a modernisation of that of the Dino, with enough traces of its predecessor to provide a thread of continuity, earning praise from the press and clients alike.
One feature that was not immediately apparent, was that the 308 GTB was fitted with a totally fibreglass body, apart from the aluminium front lid. This was the first Ferrari production car to feature fibreglass as a body material, and in fact the idea has not been repeated by the company in large volume production. However, individual fibreglass panels have been used on a large number of cars from then until now, particularly for the front and rear valances and nose sections. Although the standard of finish was very high, a return to the more traditional pressed steel and aluminium happened in late 1976 for USA cars, and around mid 1977 for European models.
The simplest way to identify a fibreglass bodied car, is to see if there is an indent line between the front screen pillar and roof panel. If there is one, then the body is fibreglass.
USA market cars can be identified by heavier bumper assemblies, and rectangular side marker lights on the wings.
An optional deep front spoiler became available during 1977, which like the standard shallow spoiler was a fibreglass moulding. Like the Dino series, a luggage compartment was provided in the tail of the car behind the engine bay. On the 308 GTB it was accessed by lifting the entire engine cover, which revealed a zip top compartment, whereas the Dino models had a separate lid for the luggage area.
The main European market 308 GTB models had a tubular chassis with factory type reference F 106 AB 100.
Disc brakes, with independent suspension via wishbones, coil springs, and hydraulic shock absorbers, were provided all round, with front and rear anti roll bars.
All models were numbered in the Ferrari odd number road car chassis sequence, with both right and left hand drive available.
Production ran from 1975 through to 1980, during which time 2897 examples were produced in the chassis number range 18677 to 34349.
The transversely mid-mounted aluminium V8 engine was essentially of the same design as that used in the 308 GT4 model.
It was of a 90 degree configuration, with belt driven twin overhead camshafts per bank, having a total capacity of 2926cc, with a bore and stroke of 81mm x 71mm, bearing factory type reference F 106 AB 000 for European market cars.
The engine was coupled in unit with the all synchromesh five speed transmission assembly, which was below, and to the rear of the engine’s sump. It was fitted with a bank of four twin choke Weber 40 DCNF carburettors, mounted in the centre of the vee, the exact specification of which depended upon the market.
European cars were fitted with dry sump lubrication, whereas Australian, Japanese and USA examples retained the wet sump lubrication system used on the 308 GT4. The claimed power output was 255bhp for European market models, and 240bhp for US market examples which were fitted with power sapping emission control equipment.
A sports exhaust system, and high compression pistons plus high lift camshaft became available as an option.