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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi, I'm new to the group. I'm chasing down two different Dino 308gt4s in Europe as I can't handle the US bumpers. however i also downloaded a pdf that lists all the changes made when the car was rebadged to a Ferrari. looks like a lot of items were upgraded probably based on analysis of weak points on earlier production. many different seals, door hinge hardware, venting, list goes on forever. Am I making a mistake purchasing a Dino badged car based on reliability due to the lack of upgrades to secondary systems and components? I've attached the list i downloaded. thanks for your time
 

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First, what is your goal? To own what? And why. That background might help.

Dino or Ferrari are both able series.
 

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As a co-owner of a Euro Specced `75 Dino 308GT4 I think you are typical of an armchair expert/potential purchaser. I`ve had a quick scan of those pages and really there is nothing of consequence to concern yourself about. Production changes are made to most vehicles during their production life, many to reduce manufacturer`s cost, some to improve the odd minor design weakness as they do their best to minimise warranty issues but those days are well gone as the cars are OLD, hardly in the first flush of youth.
They are a very simple car - you appear to be an Alfa owner from your title - they are in effect just a big Alfa using the same design techniques etc and if you do any work yourself on your cars will readily relate to them. They are simple and robust but because they are old are the sum total of all the maintenance and care given to them by previous owners.
Service history and a corrosion free structure are key plus they have to have been used, not left to decorate somebody`s garage. Higher mileage ones, with service history are better. In use they are great, the worst aspect is getting in and out of them.(For a tall overweight 68 year old anyway). No electronics (we have the twin distributors 4 sets of points engine), the pure sound of 4 Webers - one throat per cylinder and purely mechanical suspension and brakes make for a reliable, fun car.
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I’ve been lucky enough to have a euro and a US GT4. I’ve had the 75 US car for over 27 years and i’m proud to say I do all the service On both cars myself. I’m not an expert on anything, but I’ve been one of the biggest GT4 cheerleaders for decades. Do not discount the US cars, I have a nut and bolt restoration on the euro GT4 but I love the US model just as much, and it comes with some definite positive traits. The heavier bumpers especially on the front along with the full size spare hold down the front of the car at high speed, the Euro cars faster, but once you reach a certain velocity the front end tends to lift off the ground a bit.

I was also one of the first to publicly share on the Internet that service bulletin featuring upgrades, which was given to me by a long time GT4 owner. Many of the updates are just cosmetic and the ones that aren’t really don’t do much either and many of the cars had some done and others not. None of them will improve the reliability of a car that’s nearly 40 years old . I’m not a big fan of the really early us bumpers but the ones on most of the cars can be pushed in and I think don’t look bad at all. If you can find a car that’s been cared for and loved and serviced that’s more important than anything. If you get a car contact me and I can send you a bunch of the manuals and PDF form which I’ve been giving out to GT4 owners or us for years.

Rob
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Bowing to Robert`s better knowledge of the US versions but however knowing the Euro specs I think I would always go for the Euro specced cars if you can, more power, and no emissions air pumps, extra ugly lights on the sides, or warning lights on the dash etc etc. Lighter cars are faster and Euro cars are lighter, plus engines more powerful. The car is simpler not having the emissions gear, warning lights those extra lights etc which has to be better.
 

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They Euro cars also have a hefty premium not sure how much, but US models are going for 60-80K.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks to all the replies. I'm not sure what you mean by "armchair/expert", [email protected] I gladly admit to zero expertise which is why i asked people more knowledgeable than myself if any of the differences were worth considering. I've owned/own vintage Ferraris, Maseratis, Astons and Alfas and always look to the advice of others. I'm partial to Gandini's intent so I'm going for the Euro version. And yes Robert Garvin there is quite the premium especially adding the cost of importation. Bringing a Shamal here now and had to sit down when all the expenses were totalled. I have three cars on shortlist and will pull the trigger this coming week now that so many of you have made it clear the differences are not as important a condition. thanks to all.
 

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Duetto66, my term "armchair expert" refers to those who gather lots of information, some often provided by those with little actual knowledge themselves. Some of these "facts" are inconsequential or are so rare in the real world that should not even be considered. It can present a quite false impression of a model and confuse people, often putting them off a purchase. These armchair experts are often people who have never held a spanner in their life and concentrate on the information they have gathered so much - being particularly susceptible to negative information that they end up never making a purchase.
You are obviously like us (my son and I) and own several cars , including other Ferraris. I used to own a European workshop here in Christchurch New Zealand, and we do all work on our own cars, including fabrication of body panels and all mechanical. Engine tuning is my particular interest though and if I`m honest old Alfas are our real favourites.
Again though I would reiterate how good the GT4`s are if you have winding roads. We are into originality and have new OE size & type Michelins fitted and the car is incredibly agile and communicative. In Euro form with 255hp if the gearbox is used as it should be the car is still satisfyingly quick as a cross country steed and an enjoyable, very reliable drive.
 

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Friends,

My Euro car is perfect but I cant sell it as I dont want to break up the family 74 Euro #409 75 US #410! I am definitely not an armchair Ferrari guy! ha Duetto66 where are you located? Anything after 75 model year has to be smogged.
I love both cars the 74 is faster but the 75 handles and is more fun to drive. It has the optional 16" rims and the QV anti-roll bar in back
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Hi, After living and working in NYC most of my life I've moved to Charleston. We don't have inspections in this state. I assume under the 25 year rule I don't have to have this smogged but this is the first car I've purchased for importation that was also available in the US at the time of production so maybe I'm wrong. Two of the cars I've narrowed my selection to are 75s. The 3rd is a 76. As noted I'm bringing in a Shamal now but that was never sold here. If you look at the list of upgrades noted (but perhaps not uniformly implemented) there are seals, etc. that could have been changed/upgraded due to failure. Thus I thought it reasonable to ask people more knowledgeable if anything was critical. Robert I definitely intend two drive this thing. I have no idea if the optional 16" wheels are unobtanium but would you recommend these and the QV anti roll bar ?
 

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The 16" wheels were optional at some point, as they are in the 1979 parts book. I like wheels so I always have an extra set. The QV wheels are hard to find but many places such as superformance etc have the repro 16" wheels made out of aluminum and are much easier to care for and mount, and he thicker sway bar helps the car stability also.
 

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Isn't part of the difference in performance between US an Euro the ignition advance and emissions equipment. With the air pump and nuclear reactor removed and timing advanced how far off would the performance be?
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank everyone for the useful comments. The following summary of my search for a Euro delivery 308gt4 over the past couple months, is of no interest to anyone who hasn't chased unicorns so be forewarned. I narrowed down my search to 4 cars, three in various states of apparently decent but partially unknown condition and one undergoing a nut and bolt restoration in the appealing state where I could specify the interior finishes. As briefly as possible; one of the the cars at a famous vintage dealer in Germany was so falsely represented that the Ferrari specialist who i hired for a PPI stopped after 2 hours reviewing the body and trim since he didn't want to waste my money on further mechanical inspection and told me to run away. The two others were those situations where every time you ask for a more detailed photo of something you kinda see online the worse it gets. Lastly the nut and bolt restoration would be expensive under any circumstances but the roughly $20,000 additional cost to get it here put it in the $175,000 range. A bit rich for my blood for this car. Its been a bit exhausting but I leaned a lot about the model, not least from responders here. I have a couple other cars on my shortlist which I'm going to focus on, take a breather and start over. Thanks again.
 
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