A 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS that's been professionally converted to electric power is heading to auction this month.
The car had suffered extensive fire damage from a fuel leak, destroying the carbureted 2.9-liter V8 it originally came with. A California company that converts classic cars to electric power then purchased it, repaired the damage, upgraded many parts, and turned it into an EV. The company, Electric GT in San Diego, had never before worked on a Ferrari, but the result is impressive—even if it'll give some purists fits.
The re-imagined GTS is now called GTE for its electric power. It has a Porsche-sourced five-speed in place of its original gated shifter and is powered by three electric motors.
The GTE is nearly silent, with none of the soulful sounds of the stock car's gas engine. Otherwise, though, this is a great-looking and extremely enticing restomod. Electric GT lists horsepower as 330, up 93 on U.S.-spec 308s from the era. With the instantaneous torque of electric power, the company says the car can now reach 60 miles per hour in five seconds and top out above 180—both figures significantly better than stock. Range is estimated at over 130 miles with a full charge.
This car has been featured in a range of tech and auto sites, but is most famous for an appearance on television. Last year, on Top Gear America, mute racing drone The Stig compared the GTE against a stock(ish) 1978 Ferrari 308 with shocking results. The EV circled the 1.5-mile Speed Vegas track in Nevada in only 1:16.43 minutes, nearly 10 seconds faster than the gas version.
Eric Hutchison, Electric GT's founder, notes that the electric car corners and brakes better than stock thanks to an upgraded front sway bar, adjustable QA-1 coil-overs all around, a custom Girodisk-engineered brake system with slotted vented rotors, and a host of other updates.
Ferraris are not known for their ease of maintenance, but Hutchison says the GTE will not be especially difficult to service. All standard mechanical systems including the driveline, transmission, brakes, and suspension "can be worked on by any decent gearhead," he explains. "The battery and motor package are designed to be trouble-free," he says. "It is not overly complicated, and the design is fairly modular. Batteries should last a long time. What's neat is that future battery improvements can be incorporated." He adds that major servicing or upgrades to the battery technology would be best handled in his shop in San Diego. "We would clearly support and transition the car properly."
Barrett-Jackson is selling the GTE at its next auction, which is set for Scottsdale, Ariz. from Jan. 13 to Jan. 21. The 308 is offered without reserve, and has a salvage title due to the fire.
Regular examples of a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS in good condition have been commanding prices between $50,000 and $60,000, according to recent marketplace activity on Hemmings and Bring a Trailer. How bidding on this particular car will go is anyone's guess.
The GTE might not attract Ferrari purists, but it seems perfect for a techie or anyone who values usability over originality. This is a vintage Italian restomod that can be driven hard. That should appeal to someone.