Classifieds Hero: 1988 Ferrari GTS Turbo

Ordered new for the Brunei royal family, and still with a sub-1,700-mile odometer reading, this GTS Turbo is a tempting prospect. You can buy it now…

The Ferrari Gran Turismo Spider Turbo was launched in 1986 as a turbocharged convertible evolution of the Ferrari 328. Fashioned with the latest bodywork cues straight from the Pininfarina design house, the GTS possessed similar performance but had a notable aerodynamic edge over its predecessor.

A more rounded nose combined with ducts forward of each rear wheelarch, a roof aerofoil and five slim exhaust air slots cut into the rear valance panel were among Pininfarina’s exterior styling tweaks. To those unschooled in the methodology of reducing drag, this may not sound like much change between one Ferrari model and another, but the fact that the standard 328 GTS and the new GTS Turbo delivered near-identical performance is worthy of closer inspection.

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After all, the naturally aspirated 328 GTS came with a 3.2-litre power unit, while the GTS Turbo carried a 2-litre V8, and yet both were able to cover 0-100km/h in roughly 6.3 seconds and offer a top speed of 253km/h. Given the difference in engine size between the two, the development that must have taken place upon the Ferrari shop floor remains impressive even now.

And neither was it simply for fun that Ferrari had chosen to task itself with providing the same performance from a 1.2-litre-smaller engine. Italian tax laws of the time penalised owners of engines larger than 2 litres, so in order to retain the fun of opting for a high-performance vehicle, many customers sought turbocharged variants that would bypass the hassle.

It was therefore only natural that manufacturers such as Ferrari would move in to accommodate this niche. Keeping the 328’s Bosch K-Jetronic fuel-injection system, but adding an IHI turbo with a Behr intercooler operating 1.05 bar boost pressure, as well as a Marelli MED 807A electronic ignition system, the new GTS could dish out an appealing 254bhp at 6500rpm while also managing to stay on the more favourable side of the newly introduced engine regulations. Choosing a GTS Turbo was therefore very much a case of having your cake and eating it.

This particular GTS Turbo is one of 828 cars manufactured over the three-year production run. Due to the low numbers manufactured, the model is distinctly elusive within the classic car market, and consequently GTS Turbos are now eminently collectable.

Originally finished in Azzarro Blue, this GTS received a factory colour change to Blue Le Mans when ordered by Prince Jefri of the Brunei royal family. Having been used very sparingly over the past three decades, and primarily residing in professional storage, the stunning Ferrari remains in immaculate condition throughout.

UK registered and supplied with its original service book, it’s an incredibly attractive sports car that can still impress with ease, despite Ferrari’s modifications to fend off the Italian tax laws of the late 1980s.

Get a closer look with the AutoClassics classified advert.

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