Should You Buy A House Or A Ferrari 308?

A highly-strung V8 engine paired with a proper manual gearbox is mounted in the middle of a certain tube-frame chassis, with a gloriously-proportioned and swooping wedge-shaped body laid over it all. First penned by designer Leonardo Fioravanti at Carrozzeria Pininfarina for production in the mid-1970s, the Ferrari 308 is a byproduct of unrestrained design and, thus, a car the likes of which we’ll never see again.

Pedestrian safety, fuel economy, aerodynamics, computer-aided design, outright performance, and other modern-era constraints make sure of that. It’s a shame, too, because even parked calmly on the side of the road the 308 is a car that has presence. Nothing else quite looks like it, and I’m fairly convinced that no other car can deliver a driving experience to match, either.

The closer you look, the better it gets.


The worn leather interior, the Momo steering wheel, the period Pioneer tape deck, and that glorious gated shifter for the dogleg 5-speed. This particular example, as many others are, is one full of uncompromisingly cool analog details that add up to a whole far greater than the sum of its parts. It’s now a relic of the past, a time capsule to a simpler time, and there’s no replacing that.


From other details like the curved glass in the rear window to the overall angular aesthetic paired with the swooping contours of the primitively aerodynamic bodywork that culminates in two large side vents that slice through the doors, it’s a sight to behold at any angle.

It’s not necessarily a fast car by today’s standards, and in the ’80s some charm was lost when the coveted Weber quad-carburetor setup was ditched for a Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection system that resulted in a loss of power. Later, the quattrovalvole made up for some of that lost performance, but it came at the cost of further complexity.


Judging by the style of the leather seats in the cabin, this one of the good ones, though – a carbureted 2.9-liter Tipo F106 capable of screaming itself up to around 8,000rpm with the Webers wide open. All-in-all, a car in a class of its own, aging nicely and surely soon appreciating.

Which begs the question: If you’re in the position to buy a house, should you just buy one of these instead?

Trevor Yale Ryan
Instagram: tyrphoto



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A house, Trevor. Get a house. In my opinion there are plenty of relatively cheap cars that are every bit as nice as this. And you'd get a place to park them, eh? The only classic Ferraris worth being homeless for are the V12 ones.

And those fallen leaves look really comfy. I can almost hear the sound of driving over them.


Yeah, I see a house mostly as a place to park cars haha. Also a huge commitment, and potentially a great investment over the long haul. But we're street parking at the moment, and it really puts a damper on your car-buying options...


Unless you wanna live the in a Ferrari, I suggest a house...


Haha well the assumption is you're already renting somewhere... suppose it has a garage, then you and your car both have a place to sleep. So do you want the headache of homeownership or the joy (and headache) of a 40ish year old Ferrari?


Hahaha! Well I do know that Ferrari’s with V8’s aren’t the most reliable thing in the world but imagine that moment when a non-car guy asks, “whatcha drivin?” And there’s just some kind of satisfaction with replying with the 2 words, “A Ferrari” So if I’m already living somewhere, I’d prefer the joy (and headache) of a 40ish year old Ferrari


Forget the 308.look a little harder and get a gt4. Had new one long time ago, and if I could that is what I would be looking for.


The GT4s actually seem the go for less, although if I was ever to get anything in that ballpark it couldn't be a GT4. Except maybe that Safari-style one that was posted up at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Still need to run a spotlight on that...


I have both and have to say that they’re worth every penny.


get the house. At least if you don't already have one and/or are larger than 1,75m, because you'll have a hard time sitting in one if you're above that.
These are notoriously small and you sit quite high so you'll look at the upper window frame instead of out the front window.


A compromise.
Buy a cheaper house, and cheaper 308 there is.




Portland in the fall. Lovely to look at until all those leaves turn to mush lol ... go with the car. I'd let you guys couch surf just to have it parked in front of my place.


Haha I suppose that's a fair offer. We're currently street parking our cars now, and I'm not a huge fan. Especially not looking forward to the coming mush, as you put it.


Either Portland or Corvallis... I'm pretty sure I saw this car when I was at OSU.


I spotted this around the Nob Hill area in Northwest. Brave man parking there all day with the Targa top removed, but we've actually been having pretty nice weather.


I'm sure it wasn't that long ago here (uk) that these were peanuts. Ferrari peanuts of course.......... about 20k. It's the maintenance that will kill you.


Yeah, I haven't been paying attention to prices on these over the years, but they can be had now for around twice that here. If you could find one for $40k and set aside $5-10k for maintenance that still seems reasonable when you look at 911s from the era, or what you could buy new for that price. It's all relative.


How much can you expect to pay for a 308 on average?


Playing along with the "feels good" notion over the "practical" one, I'll say the Ferrari...but like some also mentioned I myself would go further before massively cramping my living style: 288 GTO.
And if I decided the woods/parks seem nice, I'd instead shoot for the moon and a 288 GTO Evo.
At least when reality hit you'd be getting a truly great return on the investment, as if the term investment was ever really true with a car, and you'd be getting the most incredulous looks while enjoying one of the sexiest and awesome cars built.


Well seeing as how a 288 GTO sold earlier this year for $3,000,000 the comparison to a house is a bit more real. Found some others in the 400k range, but still that's more like an entire house vs. the 308/328 which is pretty much just the down payment...


Yes, I have seen photos of that Rally Version, it would make an interesting read. As far as I know, Ferraris have been used as rally cars up until the 328. Ferrari always encouraged owners to become involved in motor sport. It was after Magnum and Miami Vice were popular on TV, that the "Exotics" became Look at Me cars, more boulevard activity and impressing others. Lamboghinni even produced a model with F1 active suspension (No Bushes) so an drive in country areas became a very expensive outing. It is sad in a way that "Exotics" have become Super/Hyper cars, for what seems to be "I have lots of money, look at me"

Atmadeep Mukherjee

I am insulted that you even posed this question. Those leather seats look much more comfy than a king bed for a good night's sleep for the weary soul!!


"You can live in a car, you can't race a house"


LS-powered Winnebago Chieftain likes tohave a chat 'bout that one..


Mari Mari has a very good point on cheap cars, but just as good. Look at my dream car, the Nissan Pao.


Great images and story, Trevor. That owner seems to have the right attitude for enjoying their car.


Thanks Chad! Yeah, no top, no worries; just out for a Sunday drive for lunch.


if you are relatively young and has that money to buy. Go Buy a House wait for few more years with a daily and track beater then sell the house by that time you can afford that and another ^____^ on of your dream cars.

Jay Soh Tsu Chung

I consider myself lucky to be able to drive the 328 before, but interior space is a premium for my 6 ft height (and with the steering column not being height adjustable), so a house I will buy.

Bastien Bochmann

The correct answer would be to do it like the guy that was featured on Petrolicious a while back. Owns a Ferrar 348 and lives in a Mercedes camper van.

Just, more period correct. 308 + VW T3 camper van, do it!


Now that's an idea, although it turns out living in a van here is pretty much more expensive than just renting a place. Always loved those 348s as well, though, and this was a good read. Some great shots, too.


Save up as much as you can... throw it down on a house that's well below your means and you can have the cars you want on top of the house as already pointed out. It doesn't take a lot of money to really "afford" the things you want it's more about how you spend the money on the peripheral. If you are spending $$ eating out every day, getting $5 cups of coffee, fancy sneakers and other stuff you will easily piss away your budget for the house/Ferrari combo. While living on the cheap allows one to enjoy both aspects. About 20? years ago CAR magazine in the UK did an article on "what it takes to own your dream car on a budget" and it was all ordinary guys talking about the things they did to scrimp and save to be able to afford to buy, maintain and drive their dream cars (Countach, 512 TR and some others were on the list if memory serves). I have both... but I don't have kids, wear Rolex's, shop at high end stores, etc. I also DIY all the work on the house and cars which puts that much more back into the budget. Be smart and both can be had. The Ferrari could be a good investment but the house generally will always be (exceptions to every rule though!).


Oh, for sure. You would need a place to put the car, after all. And assuming you're paying rent anyway, if you save enough you can have the same or better quality of life/living situation and have roughly the same monthly expenses by owning a house. Not to mention, you're actually putting that money into something you own rather than throwing it into someone else's pocket. It's a no-brainer, but I know plenty of people who live only for their cars, which is okay too.


If they keep appreciating like they have over the last 5 years, the Ferrari is the clear winner for investment purposes. But I feel confident that bubble has burst and the days of ridiculous returns for cars like this year over year are behind us for a bit.

I still think these are some of the most beautiful cars to wear the prancing horse and it's funny that 5-10 years ago, most enthusiasts thumbed their noses at them. Prior to that it was the Dino's and amazingly enough, prior to that it was 250 GTO's!

From a maintenance perspective, these are not nearly as bad to work on as many other F cars. The 355 is supposedly the absolute worst.

I still plan to own a 1979 308 or 328 GTB (my birth year) to build into something very special some day in the not so distant future. At least until I am old enough to cash in my 401k for an F40...



Yeah, I think if you got in one some aircooled Porsches and exotic analog cars back in the early 2010s when the economy was struggling you could have ridden the wave back up and cashed out. Depreciation is a wonderful thing if you look at what 10 or 20k will get you today, but actually making money on an older car is going to be a gamble unless you have a lot of money or really know what you're doing. Neither of which is me...

I think 308 and 328 are fairly attainable for what they are, and also some of the better looking cars from Ferrari as well as that era in my opinion. It'll be interesting to see what direction they head over the next 5 or 10 years, especially if the economy takes a dive again...

Gwynn Ballantyne

In Canada the price of a 308 wouldn't cover the downpayment on a house in any of the major centers. The question doesn't even make sense here.


The 308 seems to go here for $40k to $80k or so, and here in Portland that would be 10% down, easy. 20% with the right car/house combo. I knew cars went for less money up there, but didn't know the housing market was as you suggest.


A detached house on a 50-60 foot lot in my neighborhood is like...1.1-1.6 million? Gotta love the GTA.


If you've saved to buy your first house, -DO buy said house. Your wife will thank you, you'll get more respect from your family and you won't have to obey anyone's silly rules regarding what you do or don't do with your land. If you've saved even 20k to get into your house, you'll have equity in it, which means that you'll be able to borrow against it to pick up that Ferrari while it's still cheap, and park it in the garage before your SO fills it up with all decorations she isn't using :P


Haha that just makes too much sense! Although borrowing against a house is risky business, just ask everyone in the US from 2009 or so how that went...


Mine is almost done. They are amazing to work on and amazing to look at. At any age they are timeless. Very beautiful. They are Italian though but worth it when you turn the key.


Nice color on that one! The red was more striking in this particular setting, but I'd much rather own one in blue if I ever had the opportunity.

Sebastian Motsch

Interesting question, Trevor. There are many takes on it and owning a nice vintage Ferrari like the one in the pictures above is tempting. But regardless of what one wants to do, keep this in mind: as long as you have to finance it and it's not paid off - it belongs to the bank, not you. This applies to houses and cars. My dad always told me that I can only buy things if I have the money for it (real estate being the only exception). In my case, renting is way cheaper than buying a place and what I save on living cost, I can spend on cars (and rent garages to store them). Be smart - don't be a slave to the banks, who will take away "your" things quickly if you can't make the payments. Only what you own is yours, isn't it? Cheers, Seb.


Hmmmm...considering I'll never be able to afford a house where I live I better start looking for a 308 lol.


I used to live a half a block from the place where these shots were taken in PDX. Not far from there on Glisan and 18th there was another Ferrari, black 308 that was often parked on the street.