Gray Market Exotic: 1981 Ferrari 208 GTB – Sold?
October 28, 2021 Update – We just confirmed the listing for this “Classifind” expired, so with no replacement found we’re assuming this ride “Sold?” While this one got away, please reach out either by email or call us directly if you’d like to be informed when we come across something similar.
We may think the migration towards more frugal vehicles is driven solely by concerns over the environment, but sometimes lower output cars and trucks are created solely to skirt onerous tax laws. Take this gray market 1981 Ferrari 208GTB originally listed in September 2021 on Craigslist in Romeo, Florida for $70,000 – it was essentially born in response to Italy placing exorbitant tax rates on luxury goods, prompting Ferrari to create a downsized version of the classic 308. Therefore, it was only available in the Italian market and considered by many to be the slowest Ferrari ever built. Given this model wasn’t sold in the United States, there’s really no comparison in the conventional price guides, but it’s important to note you’re buying this car for the high state of preservation, and not the performance.
The 208 came in GTS and GTB flavors when introduced, and the drivetrain consisted of a two-liter V8 engine pushing out roughly 155 horsepower. The engine size was a direct response to the new tax rate assigned to luxury goods, which included cars with engine sizes over two liters. For Ferrari and other high-performance automakers, this represented a significant burden, so you can’t blame Ferrari for stepping away from its commitment to building top-flight performance cars in order to move inventory without incurring the 38 percent tax rate Italy’s government was leveraging. The automaker attempted to improve the entry-level car’s capabilities by turbocharging the second iteration of the 208 line, which pushed output to a respectable 220 horsepower with a top speed of 150 miles per hour. Truth be told, I wouldn’t mind finding a 208 GTB Turbo someday – what an interesting car.
We came across this well-produced and subtitled video by Italian Davide Ceroni on his YouTube Channel where he test drives a 208 GTB Turbo model:
It’s difficult to find the 208 in any form outside of Italy and a smattering of others that faced similar restrictions on so-called luxury items. The 208 seen here was obviously imported by an enthusiast, and if not for its performance, then for its incredibly well-preserved condition. That’s the upside to a 208 in that it still looks like a 308, so enthusiasts will still fawn over a car like this at a show as a way to see what a Concours-grade example of one of the most recognized Ferrari cars in the world looks like – it will take them a minute to realize it’s a homely 208. With just under 34,000 original miles and claims of being fully serviced, this rarely seen 208 GTB is likely to drive to any show it wants to and notch a few ribbons for its survivor-grade condition, all while being one of the rarest models ever seen in the states. Good luck with the purchase if you take this 208 home!
Here’s the seller’s description:
“Immaculate in every way this example of Ferrari’s 208 GTB built solely for the Italian Market. Fully serviced extremely fine running motor. Preservation award winner at any show..”
Do you have a Ferrari 208 GTB story you’d like to share? Comment below and let us know!