Ferrari 328 Buying Guide

Picking up where the 308 left off, the Ferrari 328 is fast, beautiful and brilliant to drive – qualities that are belatedly being reflected in its value. Here's how to bag a good one

How much to pay

• Project £40,000 • Good £60,000-100,000 • Concours £100,000-140,000 •

Overview

Practicality ★★
Running costs ★★
Spares ★★★
DIY friendly ★★
Investment ★★★★
Desirability ★★★★

Once a mainstay of those ‘affordable Ferrari’ articles that you occasionally see – ‘a supercar for Mondeo money’ and suchlike – the 328 has come into its own in recent years. As a natural evolution of the fabulous 308, its values have followed a similar upward trajectory, and deservedly so.

The car is recent enough to be usable and reliable, but classic enough not to be cripplingly complex, yet despite being part of a long line of Ferrari V8s the 328 somehow stands alone. After it, came the unloved 348, then the stunning but altogether more modern F355. In terms of Maranello’s junior supercars, it could perhaps be described as ‘the end of the beginning’ – to borrow a phrase from Winston Churchill.

Although the 328 is nowhere near as fragile as you might expect, especially if it’s properly looked after, it retains the potential to be a ruinous money pit if you get it wrong. Here’s how not to…

Your AutoClassics Ferrari 328 inspection checklist

Engine

The move from 308 to 328 involved increasing the V8’s capacity from 2926cc to 3185cc, and the compression ratio from 8.6:1 to 9.2:1. Power and torque went up to 267bhp and 224lb ft respectively, but economy actually improved and the Magneti Marelli electronic ignition gave increased reliability – although the coil packs have been known to cause problems.

Water-pump bearings are still a potential problem area, and you’ll have to inspect around the cam-cover gaskets for signs of oil leaks – likewise the cam seals. Keep an eye on the oil pressure. It should be about 85psi on initial start-up, dropping to 40psi at a warm idle. The engine is inherently strong and will prove impressively reliable if it’s looked after.

A robust service history that’s full of oil changes and other essential maintenance is worth its weight in gold. Look for evidence of timing-belt changes, too. It needs to be done every two years, but at least the engine doesn’t have to come out.

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Gearbox

The five-speed manual transmission is very strong, although traditionally recalcitrant when cold – most of the problems are with engaging second gear. Once it’s up to temperature, though, any belligerence should have disappeared.

Check that the car doesn’t jump out of gear – a sure sign of a tired ’box – and that there’s no sign of wear via the clutch mechanism. A gently driven car could go 30,000 miles between swaps of the latter.

Suspension and brakes

The 328 retained the 308’s double-wishbone set-up, with coil springs and telescopic dampers all round, plus anti-roll bars front and rear. The dampers were uprated, though, and the larger 16in wheels fitted with lower-profile tyres. As a result, there’s more grip on offer, and the 328 is a hugely rewarding driver’s car. The handling should be secure and without vice.

From 1988 onwards the 328 gained ABS braking, at the cost of the dished alloy wheels – a forward step in terms of safety if not, arguably, in terms of aesthetics.

The rack-and-pinion steering, meanwhile, was still unassisted – as it would be on the subsequent 348 – and had a marginally quicker ratio than on the 308.

Bodywork

The 328’s styling follows the old line of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Pininfarina only subtly updated it over its predecessor, but the effect was nonetheless to make the 328 look far more modern and coherent. The facelift was superbly carried out – if anything, the later model is even better looking than the 308.

Although the 328 was fully galvanised throughout its production run, and therefore more effectively protected against corrosion than the earlier car, you still need to inspect many of the same areas. Those include almost everything below the waistline – the door bottoms, arches and lower quarter panels. Also run your finger along the swage line to feel for signs of corrosion.

You’ll need to check the box-section frame at the front of the car for signs of accident damage. It’s vulnerable to corrosion anyway, but poorly executed repairs won’t help.

Interior

On the face of it, the basic architecture of the 328’s cabin is the same as that of the 308. However, more of it was sourced from Fiat, and it can feel a little less special than the earlier car. That said, the seats feature thicker padding and are more comfortable, and the general ergonomics are improved via a more ordered approach to switchgear layout.

Certain trim items are now scarce and therefore expensive, so make sure that everything is present and correct. Excessive wear is a sign of a car that’s led a hard life and/or a neglectful owner – neither is a good thing.

Check that everything electrical works, including the windows. If they’re slow in operation, cleaning all of the various components and adding lubricant can solve the problem. Also make sure that the air-conditioning blows cold (and that the fans are actually blowing).

In both the GTB and GTS, anyone who’s much over 6ft tall will find that headroom is limited, although the GTS offers an obvious solution…

History

  • 1985: 328 unveiled at the Frankfurt Motor Show, and is available in both GTS and GTB forms.
  • 1988: ABS braking system becomes available.
  • 1989: Production ends after approximately 7412 cars of all types.

AutoClassics says…

The 328 is a seductive blend of classic styling and modern usability. It’s a supercar that you can use in traffic without it overheating or throwing any tantrums, while the comparatively lighter clutch mechanism makes life easier on your left leg.

The GTS hugely outnumbers the GTB, but values are driven far more by factors such as condition, originality, history and mileage than whether or not the car has a fixed roof. Whichever one you’re looking at, get a specialist inspection carried out.

If you find a good one, running it – while not cheap – won’t cost a fortune. Servicing prices are nothing like as severe as on younger Ferraris. With the 348 offering nowhere near the same appeal and the F355 representing a significant step up in terms of running costs, the 328 remains a superb buy.

Specifications

328
  Power 267bhp
  Top speed 155mph
  0-60mph 5.9sec
  Economy 20

Picture courtesy of MagicCarPics

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