308 Driving impressions: 308 GTSi - Ferrari Life
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post #1 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 05:44 AM Thread Starter
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Driving impressions: 308 GTSi

During my recent Christmas holidays in Johannesburg, I enjoyed a week of driving through the leafy suburbs in the sun in Mike "Robin Masters" Schumacher's lovely 1981 308 GTSi, German spec (lhd and mesh in the side scoops). For me, this is the best time of the year to visit Johannesburg: no traffic with many people away at the coast for the holidays, hot sunny days with evenings cooled down by the famous Highveld thunderstorms that happened most afternoons like clockwork and lush greenery from the Summer rainfall. This was all amplified by Mike's generosity in letting me loose in his superb 308. The targa stop stayed stowed behind my seat all the time save for the afternoon when I collected the car from Mike and the rain came. Mike's instructions were simple-once warm, "give her horns to 7000rpm!"

Firstly the GTSi felt very together with no rattles and no buffeting at her happy cruising speed of 140-150km/h. Car felt stiffer with less buffeting than 911 Targa's of the same era. A really good design and execution of the targa top concept. Bit of squeaking with the roof on, although remained water free, all the more reason to keep the top off. Also so much better looking with top off. In fact the lines are sensational. As one hardly ever sees a 308 these days, one can really enjoy how beautiful the lines are without being dulled by the 308 being a fairly common sight on the roads and on the televsion screens. The views of her parked in my parents' garage and from the driver's seat grew more and more beautiful.

Talking of driver's seat, it felt a lot different to the Michalone. One felt that the seat was harder and narrower than that of the Michalone leading one to sit on the seat rather than in it. Two very nice details are the way the gear lever fell to hand, it is slightly longer than the early 308's but makes a big difference. Secondly, the clock and oil temperature gauges have been relocated to the centre behind the gear lever. Not only are they more readable than the earlier cars, but there is now a useful glove holder to the left of the steering column where these gauges used to be.

Firing up was instant compared to the carb 308 and the motor remains smooth all the way to my self imposed rev limit of 6000rpm. Ride very good, handling the many bumpy back roads very well. No rattles and no scuttle shake. This is a car that is faster than it feels. Stronger below 3000 rpm than the carb 308 but then whereas the carb 308 comes on cam from 4000rpm and howls off into the distance, the GTSi is smoothly consistent all the way through. The carb 308 is fast and feels it. The GTSi is more of a cruiser being deceptively fast. Mike posed an interesting question, do I prefer the GTB or GTS body style? After a week of enjoying this lovely GTSi, the answer is fairly simple: for the faster and racier carb 308, I prefer the GTB. For cruising around in the smooth, easy starting injection 308, I would take the GTS body style. In fact living in a sunny place like Johannesburg, a 308GTSi would make a great daily driver, warming her up from home to the highway and then highway cruising to the office. After a hard day at work, top off and cruise home in the cool evening air. Much as Mike has been doing these past years. The GTB would be my weekend, backroad warrior and cross continental blaster. Much as I have been enjoying the Michalone these past years.

Here are a few pics of a memorable time in Johannesburg in the lovely 308 GTSi (the car pulled off the Magnum look far better than the driver). Thank you Mike for your kind generosity. What a way to end a fantastic 2011!
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Current: 365BB, 550 bluebird and a few 911's
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post #2 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 10:10 AM
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Great write up David, and a wonderful "Christmas present" from Mike to you!!

Nice to be able to make some interesting comparisons.... GTB vs GTS, carb vs injection, and 308 targa vs 911 targa.

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post #3 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 10:22 AM
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David- Sounds like a fun time and a very nice car. Great to have good friends. The only time I have been to Africa was in 1966 when we stopped in Libya (Wheelus AFB) on a C-118 flight from Ankara to Greece. It sounds beautiful down there.

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post #4 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 11:00 AM
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Sharing the drive was nice. Thanks

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post #5 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 11:22 PM
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As usual an outstanding report.
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post #6 of 34 Old 01-05-2012, 11:35 PM
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Sounds to me like you had a tough day, David. w/ smiles Jimmy
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post #7 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 01:19 AM
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Excellent report! When buying my 308 GTS one of the factors was the fact that I can tinker with Weber carbs. If something were to go wrong with the fuel injection it would be an expensive repair. Now that I'm "more experienced" I know that it is not common to have problems with the fuel injection unit. Plus the fact that I haven't heard of anybody having problems with the electronic ignition where I had my points fail and swapped it over to electronic ignition.

The other factor that influenced my desicion to go with a carb car was the drastically reduced horsepower of the GTSi. You are correct in that the GTS pulls very strong after 4,000 rpm and I love the sound of the carbs at wide open throttle. But who wants to be driving around at 4,000 rpms all day? From your report it sounds like the GTSi has more usable power and for my driving style it would probably be better suited and I probably wouldn't notice that the car has less top-end power. I generally keep within reason to the speed limits and only occasionally have the moments of "spirited driving" I'm not a racecar driver and at my age I certainly don't need to be going down Main St. in 2nd gear at 4,000 rpms.

Thanks for sharing your excellent review of the 308 GTSi.

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post #8 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 01:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for your kind words, Gentlemen. I am blessed with generous good friends. And it turned into quite the driving holiday. Interspersed with playing Magnum in the GTSi, I spent a day playing with a pair of RS'. A 964RS sport (thin carpet, thinly disguised race car for the road completed with seam welded body and weighing in at 1230kg including fluids) and RS clubsport (rollcage, no carpets, no disguises, pure race car for the road). After switching driving seats, keeping a 993 turbo (X50 spec, i.e. 450hp) honest that joined us for the day, I fell for the rhd sport. A thinly disguised race car that pulls off cruising duties very well. The clubsport is manic, only happy when involved in a race.

On new year's eve I enjoyed a drive to the Vaal dam, a spot of tubing and a drive back. In a 1980 911SC in company of friend in his 993. Little SC raw, harsher ride than RS', surprisingly, compact and willing. Here we are enjoying dinner after a great 200km round trip. Enjoyed 1kg of prawns for R129 (about 13!) Johannesburg at Christmas is a great place to be. Particularly with good friends generously offering me the driving seats of some magnificent machines!
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post #9 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 01:51 AM
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I was just about to say - why is that 308 parked in front of a Porsche-only garage?

Because I know that besides Jaegermeister, John only keeps things from Stuttgart in there (that must be aircooled as well...)!

I hope all are fine and Happy New Year to my friends in Egoli, the city of Gold.


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post #10 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 01:51 AM
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And I've spent the last few days just laying in bed reading and recovering from jet lag. 13 hour time difference. It works harder on me coming to the USA then going to China.

I like that shade of blue on the Porshe. It wouldn't work on a 3x8.

Capt. Pete
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"Time is what prevents everything from happening all at once."
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post #11 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 02:39 AM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
I was just about to say - why is that 308 parked in front of a Porsche-only garage?

Because I know that besides Jaegermeister, John only keeps things from Stuttgart in there (that must be aircooled as well...)!

I hope all are fine and Happy New Year to my friends in Egoli, the city of Gold.
Onno
Hard to believe it was a year ago that we played in Joburg, Onno! Since then a pair of 964RS clubsports have joined the fold. John sends his regards and is intrigued to hear your driving impressions of the 991. The one John drove left him cold.

David

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post #12 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 05:50 AM
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David, happy new year to you and thanks for this great writeup !

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post #13 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 12:38 PM
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Pete- Flying west upsets your body less than flying east, generally. As you discovered.

We had to take that into account on long deployments in fighters.

Taz
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post #14 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 05:42 PM
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Quote:
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Pete- Flying west upsets your body less than flying east, generally. As you discovered.

We had to take that into account on long deployments in fighters.
Yeah, As I age it is fucking me up more. My mom noticed it also. Last time I arrived in Singapore I called her and she was like, "You sound great!" I was like, "Well, Im in my time zone now." I'm thinking about calling Singapore home and just forgetting about all the stuff in USA.

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post #15 of 34 Old 01-06-2012, 11:59 PM
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Quote:
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Hard to believe it was a year ago that we played in Joburg, Onno! Since then a pair of 964RS clubsports have joined the fold. John sends his regards and is intrigued to hear your driving impressions of the 991. The one John drove left him cold.
I still haven't driven it - Jonas bailed out and didn't return my e-mail. I'll get in touch with him next week.

I can understand why it left John cold but I expect to be quite impressed. For me, it seems like the perfect daily car with all the mod cons. It's not a sportscar, certainly not in character. Anyway, I'll do a little write-up.


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post #16 of 34 Old 01-07-2012, 04:36 AM
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I've finally taken the time to put a quick video impression together of our Porsche day in Johannesburg, Vitalone.

Here's the link. 2010JHB_PorscheDrive.mov - YouTube



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post #17 of 34 Old 01-07-2012, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
I've finally taken the time to put a quick video impression together of our Porsche day in Johannesburg, Vitalone.

Here's the link. 2010JHB_PorscheDrive.mov - YouTube
Onno
Great video. I can't say which car I like the best. Although I must say I like the roads in Johannesburg better than what I've seen of Jimmy's posts of Tokyo driving!

Capt. Pete
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post #18 of 34 Old 01-07-2012, 06:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JazzyO View Post
I've finally taken the time to put a quick video impression together of our Porsche day in Johannesburg, Vitalone.

Here's the link. 2010JHB_PorscheDrive.mov - YouTube



Onno
Excellent!

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post #19 of 34 Old 01-07-2012, 09:19 AM Thread Starter
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Brilliant! Thanks for the good memories of a terrific day Onno! Great cars enjoyed with great friends. Cool filming, editing and music. Happily the leading actresses steal the show from the poor supporting wheelman.

David

Current: 365BB, 550 bluebird and a few 911's
Past: 246gt, 512BB, 308 GTB "Michalone" and a few 911's
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post #20 of 34 Old 01-09-2012, 05:47 AM
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Hey Guys

I have just got back from time at the coast. Went to Umhlanga just outside Durban. Lots of chilling, swimming in the sea, spending time with the family and a fair amount of beer!!! I haven't logged on for 2 weeks so missed this post completely.

Happy new year to all you guys - hopefully 2012 will be a cracker of a year!

Thanks to David for looking after the 308. She unfortunately had an irritating low speed misfire from a tankful of [email protected] pertrol. It has definitely improved from David's driving her but I will likely have to have the fuel system flushed and reset.

Very nice write-up - especially for a humble "i" model.

We have blocked Youtube here in the office so will look at Onno's video at home.

Kind regards

Mike

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