Rare 1977 Ferrari 308GTB ‘Vetroresina’ set to go under the hammer

This rare, mid-seventies, V8 GTB has been the subject of a simply breathtaking restoration and with just 154 ‘Vetroresina’ (Italian for fibreglass) examples leaving the factory in RHD destined for the UK, this Ferrari 308 is sure to get lots of interest when it goes under the hammer later this month with Silverstone Auctions.

Introduced at the Paris Salon in 1975, the stunningly beautiful 308 GTB, Ferrari’s second V8-engined road car, marked a welcome return to Pininfarina styling following the Bertone-designed Dino 308 GT4. Badged as a ‘proper’ Ferrari rather than a Dino, the newcomer had changed little mechanically apart from a reduction in wheelbase, whilst retaining its predecessor’s underpinnings and transversely mounted quad-cam, 3.0-litre V8, which now featured dry-sump lubrication. In road tune, this superbly engineered power unit produced 255bhp, an output good enough to propel the aerodynamically efficient 308 to a top speed of 150mph (240km/h). Produced initially with glass-fibre (Vetroresina) bodywork – the first time this material had been used for a production Ferrari – the Scaglietti-built 308 GTB using steel after April 1977. This change in construction brought with it a considerable weight penalty (around 80kg) and consequently a reduction in performance, as well as increased susceptibility to corrosion. Naturally, anyone wanting to race a 308 GTB started out with the Vetroresina version if they could.

The car presented here is a 1976 Ferrari 308 GTB Vetroresina, a right-hand drive/UK-supplied matching numbers car, one of just 154 examples that left the factory in this configuration destined for the UK (only 712 Vetroresina 308 GTB coupés in total were ever produced).

Ferrari 308GTB #20521 was built in 1976 and delivered to the UK market importer, Maranello Concessionaires in January 1977 to fulfil their order (F/112) for a RHD 308 GTB, presumably for stock. There is a copy of this order in the history file for a “308/GTB (RHD) complete with five cast-alloy wheels, tyres and toolkit, finished in Rosso Chiaro Ferrari 20-R-190 with Black Leather (VM 8500) and black carpets”. There is also a copy of the invoice (3/01/1977) from Ferrari to Maranello for a total of £6,744.00

Some months later the car was purchased by a Mr CW Thompson of Sheffield and there is a similar invoice in the file (15/07/1977) from Maranello to him for £12,815.17. According to its current V5, it was initially UK-registered as TPB 650S on 1/08/1977.

Perhaps Mr Thompson didn’t get on with it as it soon changed hands and, on 23/06/1978, John M Anderson became its second owner. John was Chairman of the Ferrari Owners Club and was to keep the 308 for just over 20 years. (Registered 47 JMA). At some point, he decided to race the car and it was race-prepared by Graypaul of Loughborough to run in Class ‘O’ (Originale) of the Ferrari Owners Club Championship from 1990. The modifications for this class were minor – (low front spoiler, racing seat and harness, half roll-cage, uprated shocks and a fire extinguisher)- and easily reversible. There is a set of seasonal race results in the file showing that#20521 took part in 50 races (1986/87 and ‘90-’95) with 21 podiums and only 1 DNF. 1995 appears to be his last season and there are invoices on file from Mortimer Houghton Turner (April 1996 – £16,763) for “post-racing refurbishment”.

Now registered VOP 418S, the Ferrari was purchased in August 1998 for £25,000 by Mike Whitaker and within the file is a valuation report (4/09/2000 £29,000) in which Mr Whitaker states “I’ve spent £10,000 on a full mechanical (engine/gearbox) rebuild and reconditioned brakes”. On 5/11/2000, Jeremy Taylor became the proud new owner and applied his cherished registration, 53 JT.

The vendor acquired #20521 in 2017 (now registered VOP 418S again) and, aware how rare the 308GTB Vetoresina had become, commenced a total restoration effectively transforming the 308 from a rather tired example into what is, conceivably, the best right-hand drive example in the world. It would be wrong to try and paraphrase the detail of this restoration but suffice to say that the volumes of detailed invoices from Specialised Automotive Services of Clitheroe alone total £104,053. On the assumption that anyone interested in acquiring this world-class Ferrari will spend some time viewing it, an extra hour with the restoration file would be encouraging.

There is a fairly recent (1/06/2018) invoice from JCT600 for £699 that details an annual service with fresh fluids and a ‘Health Check’ at 25,172 miles. The current indicated mileage is 25,175, however, bear in mind that the speedo head was changed at 62,000 miles meaning that the car has covered approximately 87,000 miles, completely academic given the restoration.

Supplied with the car is a packed history file with V5s, lots of old MOTs and Tax discs, copies of the Ferrari News, Classic Car Magazine from November 1997 featuring the car, reams of invoices from every era, race results, factory correspondence, a brand new Service Schedule/records handbook and best of all, a seriously impressive, A3 landscape, hardback, glossy photo-book displaying the restoration of #20521.

It’s simply not professional to say that this is the best Vetroresina in the world but, if it’s not, we would certainly like to see a better one. You can view this beautiful Ferrari 308 ‘Vetroresina’ and others in the forthcoming ‘Race Retro’ online auction with Silverstone Auctions here.

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