Welcome to the first in an occasional series of classic car reviews. We’ll highlight some of London’s most desirable used cars, classics that are great to drive and likely to offer a healthy return on investment. And where better to start than with one of motoring’s blue-chip brands?
Ferraris make up seven out of the 10 most expensive cars ever sold at auction, so the Italian marque has quite a pedigree. The 328 was the entry-point to its mid-1980s range and is one of the more affordable ways into classic Ferrari ownership today. Prices start from around £70,000.
The 328 GTS seen here has just 13,000 miles on the clock and is for sale at GVE London, priced at £124,900. Nestled among bigger, brasher supercars in GVE’s Uxbridge showroom, it looks dainty, delicate – and drop-dead fabulous. Like many children of the 80s, I had one on my bedroom wall. Partner-permitting, I probably still would.
The Ferrari’s mid-mounted 3.2-litre engine settles to a chattering idle and I edge nervously onto busy north London streets. I’m immediately struck by how physical it feels. That iconic open-gate gearbox looks achingly cool, but needs a determined shove until the oil warms up. A dog-leg first gear (down and left, like a retro racing car) is hardly ideal in traffic either, while the unassisted steering needs a firm grasp at low speeds.
Rows of houses turn to hedgerows and it’s time to stretch this prancing horse’s legs. With a modest 274hp (a new 488 GTB has 670hp), the 328 is brisk rather than blistering – a well-driven Golf GTI would show it a clean pair of tailpipes on a twisty road. But like most classic cars, the Ferrari is more about sensation than speed.
I stow the targa-top behind the seats and savour the V8 rasp as the crisp winter sun ripples across those curvaceous front wings. The Momo steering wheel dances in my hands as the car darts deftly between bends. With no electronic driving aids, every input matters – this is driving in its unadulterated, analogue state. Yes, this is why I became a car journalist.
Back in the showroom, head buzzing and exhausts ticking, I chat to GVE managing director David Rai about the 328’s investment potential.
“This is one of the most usable classic Ferraris, and it has appreciated significantly,” he explains. “You could pick one up for as little as £20,000 in the 1990s, rising to £40,000 around the millennium. The real increase came in 2014-15, when the market finally woke and the 328 nearly doubled in value to around £100,000.”
Rai recommends opting for traditional ‘Rosso Corsa’ red (as here) or ‘Nero’ black for maximum buyer appeal. And he says high mileage isn’t a problem: “These cars can easily do 100,000 miles before needing a major rebuild. Look for timing belt changes and regular service history. Belts should be changed every two years, and check for rust – especially in the front wings and lower door seals.”
The 328 GTS was built in large numbers for a Ferrari. In total, 7,400 left Maranello, with most buyers choosing the open-roof GTS over the GTB coupe. Prices vary widely depending on mileage and condition, but buy the best you can and values will only appreciate in the longer-term.
How many other investments leave you tingling like a triple-espresso? Hours after handing back the keys, I’m still glowing from a childhood dream made real. And unlike my wide-eyed younger self, the 328 has only grown lovelier with age.
This may be the ‘junior’ Ferrari, but it’s unquestionably still the real deal.