The Ferrari 328 Buying Guide – A subtle evolution of a classic Pininfarina design

Ferrari 328

The Ferrari 328 was the last of the classically styled mid-engined V8s and it is still as gorgeous as ever.

With the beautiful but ageing Ferrari 308 nearing its 10th birthday by the mid ‘80s, a replacement model was well overdue. Instead, Ferrari decided to extend its entry-level model’s lifespan for a bit longer by giving it a thorough update and renaming it the 328.

A range of incremental improvements addressed some of the shortcomings of the 308 and the enlarged 3.2-litre flat-plane crank V8 now pushed out 270bhp, enough for a 5.5-second 0-60mph time and a top speed of 166mph. There were subtle suspension changes too and ABS was introduced for the 1988 model year.

While the exterior now incorporated integrated front bumpers and lights, the wheels were also of a subtly different design, concave on pre-ABS models and convex on the final batch of cars. Some prefer the purer lines of the early 308s but both are undeniably stunning designs. 

The interior of the 328 retained the Momo steering wheel and Veglia gauges, but the centre console now housed the handbrake lever and the toggle switches had made way for more modern switchgear. The main attraction was still that gated manual shifter, now making shifts less strenuous thanks to a hydraulically operated clutch.

Both GTB and GTS variants were offered, with the latter outselling the coupé by a factor of five to one. Aside from the removable roof section on the GTS, the European-spec GTBs were fitted with a dry sump system. A turbocharged 2.0-litre variant was also offered to the Italian market, replacing the similarly specced 308 turbo models. The 348 turbo cars got an intercooler which helped push power up by 34bhp to a total of 251bhp. A little over 1000 of these cars were produced making them a desirable and quirky alternative to the 3.2-litre models.

 

Ferrari 328 Engine

Being a development of a design that first saw light of day in 1973, the 3.2-litre V8 engines are known for their reliability. Upgrades over the first 2.9-litre units included electronic fuel injection and multivalve heads; regular oil changes are essential to keep things running smoothly. 

Cam seals and cam cover gaskets tend to leak oil and exhaust manifolds can crack. Damaged coil packs can cause rough running but are easy enough to replace. US-spec cars had catalytic converters fitted and made slightly less power.

Timing belt changes are still a labour-intensive job on these cars so check that they have been done every five years or 30,000-miles. Some specialists can do it with the engine in place which can reduce costs somewhat. Valve clearances should also be checked every 15,000 miles.

Cooling systems are generally trouble-free but check the header tank for damage. If the car shows signs of overheating have the entire system pressure tested.

Ferrari 328 Gearbox

The five-speed manual transmission was the only one offered throughout production, it offers a pleasingly mechanical shift feel when warm but second gear can be difficult to engage when cold, this can also damage the synchros over time. Clutch lifespans are driver dependant but expect between 30,000 and 40,000-miles between changes.

Ferrari 328 Suspension and Brakes

The suspension bushes should be inspected and renewed every 30,000-miles, sooner if the car has been standing for extended periods. The car should feel well planted and solid around bends, if there is excessive pitching or body roll then the shocks may need replacing.

From 1988-on all 328s came fitted with ABS, identified by the convex alloy wheel design, similar but not identical to the Mondial.

Ferrari 328 Bodywork and interior

An Italian classic without major rust issues? That would be the 328, thanks to a fully galvanised body shell rust is not as common as it is on 308s. Don’t get too complacent though, check the front wings, lower door seals and the sections where the bumpers are bolted to the bodywork, just in case. Creases in the front box section frame can indicate accident damage. Check that the pop-up headlights work in unison and are correctly aligned too.

The interior is durable although GTS models may show more wear and tear on the seats, thanks to the removable roof section. The switchgear should all work as intended, slow electric windows can be sped up by oiling the mechanisms. The removable roof section on the GTS can leak if the rubber seals have perished.

Model History Of The Ferrari 328

1985:   Comprehensively redesigned Ferrari 328 replaces 308

Changes include new exterior and interior styling and 270bhp 3.2 litre V8, chassis now fully galvanised

1988:   ABS available as option. Wheels changed to convex design to accommodate the system.

1989:   328 production comes to an end

Total produced:

GTS:  6068

GTB: 1344

GTB Turbo: 308 built – Italian market only

GTS Turbo: 828 built – Italian market only

Which Ferrari 328 To Buy

The Ferrari badge and those stunning lines can easily distract you from the task at hand, so before you hand over your cash be sure to check that the car has a solid service history and no big maintenance bills are looming. Disconnected speedos, whether on purpose or due to faulty wiring, are not uncommon so be sure to verify the claimed mileage with the paperwork provided.

Fewer than 500 RHD 328s were produced so unless you are happy to drive an LHD example don’t get too hooked on the colour combination. The classic red over tan leather is the most common but the 328 looks equally stunning in dark blue or even grey. While the 328 can no longer be considered affordable, it still offers a lot of value thanks to those timeless looks, strong reliability and reasonable running costs.

 

Ferrari 328 Specifications

3.2-litre V8

Power:             270bhp

Top speed:      166mph

0-60mph:        5.5sec

Economy:       20mpg

Text John Tallodi  Photos Ferrari, Mugello Cars

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