Tag Archives: Group B

1984 Ferrari 288 GTO

In the heady days of the 1980s, the FIA developed a new formula to dictate production-based race cars in both rally and sports car racing. It was the time of turbocharging in Formula 1, and that turbo technology had spilled over to the World Rally Championship in the form of the revolutionary Audi Quattro. Soon, it became evident that turbocharging would be the way forward, and it seemed that each few months a new iteration of a race car was being launched with even more power. The formula created was known as "Group B" - like its prototype "Group C" brothers, it would standardize a series across various manufacturers. What the rules produced were race cars that seemed unbounded by rules; indeed, you only needed to produce 200 examples of a loosely related road going car. As a result, we saw some unreal creations - most are associated with Rally, like the 13" shortened Audi Sport Quattro and mid-engined supercharged and turbocharged Lancia Delta S4; but few remember that the rules also dictated sports car racing. As a result, notable manufacturers Porsche and Ferrari jumped at the opportunity. From Porsche, we saw the development of the legendary 959, with its twin-turbo charged, watercooled flat six, all-wheel drive, active suspension and 6-speed transmission. It was technical, complicated and totally German. Ferrari decided to go another route; back to its routes, Ferrari produced a lightweight version of the 308 GTB with a new twin-turbocharged version of the V8. Dubbed the 288, it reintroduced the world to the legendary title "GTO" - Gran Turismo Omologato. It was little more than a race car for the road:

Year: 1984
Model: 288 GTO
Engine: 2.9 liter twin-turbocharged V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 13,000 mi
Price: $1,895,000

CLICK FOR DETAILS:1984 Ferrari 288 GTO


1984 Ferrari 288GTO, Ferrari factory Classiche certified with books, tools and service records. Car now in Yokohama, Japan, ex Switzerland and France. Swiss taxes paid. Superb example, extremely well cared for from day one. Power windows and working air conditioning. Accident-free example looks almost new with show quality repaint by Zanasi. Easily accessible to inspect. HISTORY: 2/1985, New to Crepaldi, authorized Ferrari dealer in Milano, Italy. 9/2001. To second owner in France and registered in France. 2012 Offered by Garage Zenith SA in Swiss. Classiche certified 9/2012, Sold and shipped to Japan. Prior to delivery, comprehensive maintenance performed with invoice 20,000+CF, plus new set of Michelin tires mounted. 10/2013. Registered road legal in Japan with the transportation authority. Car driven 2,000 km since major service. A superb example to show and enjoy, as it is one of the truly great driver's Ferraris.

Price: $1,895,000 obo

The E30 M3 crowd loves to pat themselves on the back with the incredible gain in value over the past year many have experienced. Frankly, they're small potatoes compared to these hot Ferraris. In the past year and a half, top value on 288 GTOs has more than doubled - from around $700,000 for a pristine example to around $1.7 million. That curve has flattened out slight in the past few months, but is still generally headed upwards. Although the GTO was ultimately eclipsed by the F40 in enthusiasts' minds, it's an important part of Ferrari history that is now recognized in value. This particular example is ahead of the curve, but not by much - and these 288s don't grow on trees. For most of us, we'll be lucky to see one in our lifetime, but the rest of the time we can dream about the awesome days of Group B and the wicked cars it spawned.


1978 Ferrari 308GTB Group B

If you were a car racing fan in the 1980s two things really peaked your interest. First was Group C and the sleek prototypes that rules the racetracks around Europe and the world. But if you were a fan of more realistic cars, you loved the sights, sounds and smells of Group B - the World Rally Championship. Of course, Group B would come to be dominated by the revolutionary Quattro from Audi and later mid-engined silhouette cars from Lancia and Peugeot, but initially there were rear drive special versions of road cars that were spawned to conquer the dirt. From Mercedes-Benz came the lightened and powerful 450SLC 5.0 and planned 190E 2.3 Cosworth; Porsche attempted to race many variants of the 911, ultimately leading to the development of the 959, and from Fiat came some unlikely candidates; the mid-engined Stratos and Ferrari 308. Today, one of these unlikely rally cars is up for sale:

Year: 1978
Model: 308GTB
Engine: 3.0 liter V8
Transmission: 5-speed manual
Mileage: 29,716 km (18,600 mi)
Price: GBP 275,000 ($416,581 today)

CLICK FOR DETAILS:1978 Ferrari 308GTB Group B

Chassis: F106AB *24783*

Engine: F106A021 *01070*

Odometer: 29,716kms (1,700kms since conversion)

In the late 1970s/ early 1980s, Antonio Zanini was the dominant force in Spanish rallying and as such he carried considerable weight within the national rally community. For the 1984 season, he considered Ferrari's 308 as an ideal weapon with which to claim the national crown once more and given that the championship was predominantly tarmac based it made logical sense as the 308 had already proved itself to be a force to be reckoned with on other tarmac events in both the WRC and ERC.

Zanini approached Barcelona Ferrari agent Fernando Serena for his support and he duly offered a 308 GTB from his dealer stock as the basis for building a Group B 308 rallycar. Zanini visited factory authorised tuner/ preparer Michelotto and a deal was agreed that meant that parts and build consultation would be provided by Michelotto and that the car would be built in the Serena workshops.

Unfortunately the car was not ready in time for the season opening round in Costa Blanca therefore a deal was struck with Italian team Pro Motor Sport to rent a Group B 308 from them instead. With further delays to the build of the Serena car and championship commanding success with Pro Motor Sport, an agreement was made to extend that partnership which led to Zanini winning the Championship before the season was over.

During this time the Sereba car was still being built and tested. However, on the 1984 running of the Rally Osona; the Serena-built 308 finally got its debut with Zanini behind the wheel and it secured a dominating victory showing the rest of the field a clean set of heels by exactly five minutes.

In the final round of the 1984 Spanish Championship at the Rally de Gerona the car was driven by Fernando Sereba Jr. (son of the Barcelona importer) but it retired after just one stage with a broken brake pipe. With Zanini contracted to Peugeot for 1985, the fresh. competitive and event-proven Serena was sadly sidelined for the 1985 season.

For the 1985 Raly Catalunya (then a round of the European Rally Championship, now part of the World Rally Championship) the car was entrusted to experienced, former Catalonian Champion Claudio Caba. After the first day, Caba was lying an impressive fifth overall, first two-wheel drive and top Spaniard in the event but on day two he got caught up in a smokescreen from the car ahead and slid off the road. Due to a combination of being somewhat secluded (no spectators to help push the car) and the low ride height of the 308 he was unable to complete the stage within the allotted time and was forced to retire despite no terminal damage being done to the car. Of note, when it competed in the Rally Catalunya it was run with Cimarron (a Spanish Jeans manufacturer) sponsorship and it was this design that was adopted by Scalextric as a livery for one of its most popular slot cars of the 1980s.

Then returned to Serena in Barcelona, it was never used in competition again thus with just 3 events under its belt it was set aside and retained by Francesco Serena. In the late 1980s it was sold to a Spanish businessman/ collector and it was purchased by the current owner directly from him.

What is particularly remarkable about this car is that every aspect relating to its history as a competition car is documented in period articles and a generous file has been amassed accordingly. Right from the early announcements and images of Zanini in Serena?s showroom through to mentions of the assistance from Michelotto (following Zanini?s visit to Italy) then on to the ?red Serena built car? not being ready in time and the need to rent a car from Pro Motor Sport. Furthermore and even more incredible is that the internal (within Serena) invoices relating to the parts costs and the labour sheets also survive and accompany the car. So rarely does such documentation survive but the detail is immense and when the car is inspected one can identify what is recorded noted.

Easily identified per the original homologation sheets, you can see a bevy of special Michelotto homologated parts such as;

Lightended wishbones

Up-rated AP Lockheed brake system

Thicker anti-roll bars with revised mounting points

Quick ratio steering rack

Uprated, specially fabricated pedal box

Hinged, reverse fold rear deck lid (folds back onto roof)

Pleated velour lightweight Kevlar seats

Studded hubs and extra-light wheel nuts

Not so easily viewed but identified in the accompanying bills are;

Competition clutch

Close ratio gearbox

Adjustable dampers

Significantly uprated engine, dry sumped, on carbs but with 10:1 compression ratio pistons, ported heads, lightened flywheel, balanced crankshaft. (Magazine article quoted) c.280bhp.

Individual to this car by virtue of the fact that it was built ?remotely? of Michelotto are identifying features/ differences such as;

Zanini designed lamp pod mounted into the nose so not to obscure the driver?s vision

Fabrication of the roll cage, it is an interpretation of both homologated designs but not strictly either one

Fabricated areas at the tops of the rear upper chassis frame at the point where the roll cage joins (having come through the upper flanks of the body shell

Fabricated mounting points for the anti-roll bars

Central dashboard switch area

Felt covered interior where the original carpet/ headlining would have been

Fantastic-looking BRAID alloys (a Spanish wheel manufacturer), they are actually still in business and can produce more if required

All in all it is a simply amazing package, condition is completely original per participation in its last event. With such a straight-forward history and masses of supporting documentation it is a rare chance to acquire a 308 with period rally history and the fact that it was supported by Michelotto and undertaken by an official Ferrari main agent can only justify its significance. That it became the basis for a mass-produced Scalextric model makes it all the more familiar.

Presented in superb condition, it is also the beneficiary of a recent thorough refurb. Works include brake and suspension system rebuilds and an engine out service with new belts and a rebuilt ignition system. Available to view at The Phoenix Green Garage by appointment, it shall be offered with UK registration papers and one of the finest history files I have seen in a long time.

Often discarded after heavy use at a budget price in the early 1990s, these period rally machines have found new life in the vintage rally circuit, events like the Goodwood Festival of Speed and even club events. That's put increased demand on the pricing, especially for the best examples. Though this was a converted road car, its well documented history and current restored condition make this one of the best examples available. It's of course priced accordingly, though considerably cheaper than what a Stratos or 037 Lancia would demand. It's also lovely and unique to think of a Ferrari rally car, but for it's unusual history and development we're thankful!


1983 Lancia 037

The number 037 is infamous in both Lancia and World Rally Circles. Built solely for the FIA Group B World Rally Championship, this was the last rear wheel drive vehicle to win the championship. Group B regulations required 200 road going models to be built for sale. Some might notice a resemblance between this 037 and the Lancia Scorpion featured a few days ago, and that's no coincidence. The 037 shares its center section with the Scorpion/Montecarlo, while the front and rear ends are steel subframes with kevlar body panels. As for the engine, in true Lancia fashion, the road less traveled was taken. Lancia fitted a supercharger to the Fiat 131 rally car engine developed by Abarth, as they were seeking to improve throttle response. Most of us are used to seeing 037s in Martini or other racing livery, so this red example brought to the US in 1990 is quite a unique find.

1983 Lancia 037

1983 Lancia 037. This amazing original example was purchased new by Ana Traub of Germany in 1983. Purchased December 12, 1989 by Manfredo Lippmann of Guatemala, then imported into the USA on January 08, 1990. Mr. Lippmann brought the car to his Denver, Colorado home for his son, Guillermo. Introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1982, the Lancia Rally 037 is a light and powerful touring-car, studied in collaboration with Lancia races department, Abarth and Pininfarina study center. Planned for a high level employment in the rallies, it has been realized in a series of 200 samples, in order to obtain the homologation in the group B, the maximum rally category where cars purposely elaborated raced and, in any case, derived from production-model cars.

Powered by its original Supercharged 4 cylinder 1995 cc engine with 205 horsepower. Also comes equipped with its original ZF 5-Speed manual transmission. It is still equipped with its Speedline wheels and original Pirelli tires. The body is Kevlar-reinforced with glassfibre. 0-60 MPH in less than 6 seconds! Top speed is over 140MPH. It would be extremely difficult to find a better original example!

The asking price is not for the faint of heart but I can't remember the last time I saw an 037 for sale. These are beastly cars with a very notorious reputation in motorsport, as rally driver Attilio Bettega lost his life in an 037 in the Tour de Corse on May 2, 1985. In a very eerie twist of fate, fellow rally driver Henri Toivonen died in the exact same race on May 2, 1986 in an all wheel drive Lancia Delta S4, which replaced the 037 and was an evolution of that car. The S4 had a twin charged engine (supercharged and turbocharged). It produced roughly 480 horsepower and was reported to have acceleration from 0 to 62 in under 2.3 seconds. Toivonen had complained that the car was too powerful and twitchy at the limits for this particular race but nevertheless pressed on, when suddenly he lost control of his car and went off the side of the road where no guardrail was present and plunged down a cliff. The car exploded killing Toivonen and his co-driver, Sergio Cresto, instantly. These events sealed the fate of Group B and the series would be banned by the FIA following the 1986 season.

For a taste of what it's like to ride in an 037, here is a clip of Stig Blomqvist demonstrating one on a dirt track: