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This Dino was gifted from Enzo Ferrari to Jacques Swaters, the Belgian racing driver of Ecurie Francorchamps fame. And it has survived in remarkably original condition.

As I managed to extract those two facts from the text of the advertisement, I immediately knew this had to become our Prime Find of the Week: Couple a well-known racing driver with any classic Ferrari and usually the price rockets up. But this Dino is for sale at – relatively speaking – modest £51,000.

Jacques Swaters started off as a racing driver (this Mondial 500 was used by him in 1953 and 1954) before focusing on managing the Ecure Francorchamps and later the Ecure Belge, primarily in sports car racing.

This reflects three things:

  • Jacques Swaters was primarily known from sports cars, not Formula One. Thus, he’s not that widely known today.
  • The Dino 308 GT4 is not a particularly popular Ferrari.
  • And this Dino is not in perfect condition.

The latter part could well be the deal breaker: Any Ferrari (and despite its official name being Dino, it is of course still a Ferrari) needing work will quickly run up some hefty bills as parts are never cheap. And as the Dino 308 GT4 is not a hugely expensive car (in Ferrari terms), major work will just not be financially viable.

However, the advert lists a lot of work which has already been completed – although I have a nagging suspicion that the seller may have undertaken this work himself? This might not be a problem and I could of course be wrong here – but the general description of the car is such that I would mobilise the upmost caution:

“there are flaws in the paint due to its age and although the paint has been repaired ” here and there”, “Chassis cleaned and surface protection applied”, “Suspension overhaul , new joints and bushes as required”.

You would definately not want a £51,000 Dino 308 GT4 to show any rust, and with 87,313 kilometers recorded the engine should run cleanly and have plenty of life left. But check, double check and then check again! This is a classic car which needs a pre-purchase inspection even more than most.

If found to be solid, I’d make sure about the Jacques Swaters connection: As the first owner (from 1975 until 1989), he should be in the paperwork – and there is supposed to be only one more owner, yet another Belgian. Where that leaves the apparantly British seller, is an unanswered question which we can ponder upon.

Should both condition and history check out nicely, I’d go for it! You very rarely find a Ferrari with such an noted first owner for this kind of money.

It really is a lovely thing, the Dino 308 GT4. The engine obtained much bigger fame in the later and more popular 308 GTB/GTS. But the Dino is finally coming of age now.

Add to that that of course the car it self is lovely: The Dino 308 GT4 carries none of the stigma associated with newer Ferraris, it is a very capable car in performance terms – and it has the practicality of a true 2+2 sports car. Being a Dino rather than a Ferrari, it’s also early enough to have the smaller, more discreet bumpers and the early Cromodora alloy wheels. Though for me, this cars trump card is the colour. It’s brown – both in and out! Just in case you currently think that you don’t like brown, in Italian it is actually called Metallizzato Marrone. Mmmmm… just taste it. Delicious! That should of course convince even the most stubborn of doubters. Brown is a good thing – especially in Italian.

If the car is indeed as described, I would simply continue the upkeep as an original unrestored car. Partly because major work (rust, paint, drivetrain) would not be financially viable, but also because the originality is its history. And then I’d obviously make sure it was prepared for a proper road trip to Spa this coming September for the Six Hours. Wouldn’t that just be the perfect classic for such a trip?

Photos below are from the advert which you’ll find in full here: 1975 Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 LHD

 

With our Saturday instalment of Prime Find of the Week, we’re offering our services to the classic car community, by passing on our favourite classic car for sale from the week that passed. This top-tip might help a first-time-buyer to own his first classic, or it could even be the perfect motivation for a multiple-classic-car-owner to expand his garage with something different. We’ll let us inspire by anything from a cheap project to a stunning concours exotic, and hope that you will do the same.
Just remember – Any Classic is Better than No Classic! We obviously invite our readers to help prospective buyers with your views and maybe even experiences of any given model we feature. Further to that, if you stumble across a classic which you feel we ought to feature as Prime Find of the Week, then please send us a link to primefindoftheweek@viaretro.co.uk

11 Responses

  1. Tony Wawryk

    I have to say the car looks better with age – the design has grown on me over the years and it is of course now the only “reasonably” priced route into Ferrari ownership. Unlike many of you on here, including Claus, I think brown is a bad thing on almost any car (I had my fair share in the ’80’s), including this one, so I wouldn’t go near it on those grounds alone, but a re-spray in the metallic blue in the ad…lovely! Having said all that, for this money, I have a long list of other cars I’d buy first…

    Reply
  2. Anders Bilidt

    I know I’m the odd one out here, but short of some of the best 250GT’s like the Lusso, the California and the SWB Berlinetta, the unloved 308 GT4 has always been one of my favourite Ferrari’s. The design is crisp and unadorned, while I love the slightly concave slope of the rear emphasised further by the beautiful inlet just behind the rear side window. This 308 GT4 being Metallizzato Marrone only makes the whole package even better! – as does the cars history.

    @tony-wawryk, just because you find a brown Allegro or a brown Cortina uncool, doesn’t mean you should necessarily judge all brown classics equally. ;-)

    Reply
  3. Claus Ebberfeld

    Since when has a brown Allegro been uncool, @anders-bilidt and @tony-wawryk ?!?!

    But I notice both of you focus on the car so I’ll just emphasize again that for me this is not just any nice 308 GT4 – it was Jacques Swaters’ personal car, gifted from Enzo. For me this adds immensely to the history of the car. And this also means that @tony-wawryk should never be allowed to repaint it blue!

    Reply
  4. Tony Wawryk

    @anders-bilidt Anders, any classic – even a 1972 911S – would be improved by not being brown :-)
    @claus-ebberfeld Claus, I certainly accept that the history of this Dino means it should not be re-sprayed… but it would still look better in metallic blue :-)

    Reply
  5. YrHmblHst

    Must agree with Mr Wawryk – brown is a no-no.
    These cars look best in darker shades imnsho – the only exception is silver; for some reason, the one I have seen in silver actually looked very nice and Im not a big fan of silver cars. I currently have a friend [ i know, hard to believe, but i do…] that has one in BRG and its lovely. Usta know a guy that had one in dark blue, and it was very attractive also. Alos usta know one in red…and it did not look nice atall. Love yellow myself, but this shape doesnt work in that hue. Again, just my not so humble [but eminently accurate] opinion…

    Reply
  6. Claus Ebberfeld

    It’s very reassuring to know that when that perfect brown Seventies gem comes up for sale you gentlemen will not bid against me :-).

    I still think you’re wrong but will not try to convince you.

    Reply
  7. Tony Wawryk

    @claus-ebberfeld you’ll have enough competition for that brown gem from @anders-bilidt and @Dave-Leadbetter; @yrhmblhst and I will compete for the yellow one! :)

    Reply

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