I was only going to change the tires…
Today I am at a juncture. I need to decide on 26359’s future. After 11 years together I have to decide if there will be 11 more. I always knew my 308 would need a ground up restoration eventually. Yes, I completely restored the interior in 2013 and yes, I renewed the suspension… twice, once in 2015 and then again in 2017… but now I feel the time has come to go big or go home.
All I did was put the 308 on the lift to remove the wheels to put new tires on. These were the Etoile modular wheels the 308 had come with when I bought the car. I had plasti-dipped the wheels gold but now that finish was way past it’s best so the plan was to remove it before taking the wheels and new tires to the local tire shop to fit. But the plasti-dip would not come off the center sections cleanly leaving the wheels looking extremely shabby. So I guess it is time for new wheels as well.
Then I dropped the rear valance to see why my exhaust was sitting at a strange angle and I found a hole in the exhaust and some made-up Heath Robinson hangers that had been used to attach what appears to be a European spec ANSA sports exhaust to a US spec car. So I guess It’s time for a new exhaust as well.
And if I’m replacing the exhaust then I may as well convert the bumper and valance to euro spec. And if I do that… I may as well fix the rust in the rear quarters. And if I’m doing that why not pull the engine and give it a good service and clean. And if the engine is out, should I not refresh the frame?
OMG… I only wanted to change the damn tires.
In order to detail just how much mission creep I might be looking at, let’s consider what needs to be fixed on this Ferrari 308. Bearing in mind though, that this car has never really let me down and has generally always been a pleasure to drive around the twisty roads in the mountains around my home. For the purposes of insurance, I had always identified this car somewhere between 2 and 3. Hagerty customers will be familiar with the scale. So…
- I always wanted to convert to European bumpers
- It needs new 16” wheels and the 14” wheels also need restoring
- There is rust in the rear quarters, one door and one front fender.
- It is painted the wrong shade of red
- The rear exhaust does not fit well and now also needs replacing.
- The window trim needs re-anodizing in parts
- The paint has some pretty big chips in it where a strip light fell on the car a few years ago
- It needs a belt service
- I want to change the water pump and pipes.
- It has sodium filled exhaust valves 😳
- The original steering rack needs rebuilding, preferably with a quicker rack.
- It needs a replacement aluminum under tray.
- I’d like to have more modern brakes on the car.
- It could benefit from electronic ignition
- The gear linkage is a little stiff
That’s a pretty long laundry list of items and given my speed of working it will take at least three years. Not everything has to be done. The non-stock modernization items like the brakes and ignition would be lower priority. The rust, bumpers and non-Ferrari red have to be fixed though.
Any restoration would be funded through the sale of my all original, low miles BMW E46 M3. So I’d be simultaneously loosing the use of the M3 and the Ferrari 308. I had been searching for a 360 Modena to add to the stable as well and these plans would also be pushed back. I’d have no fun cars to drive. Or I could sell both cars and move straight across to a 360 – the only car I said I’d willingly sell the M3 in order to get.
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Disclaimer: 308restoration.com describes the restoration work I perform on my car and only my car. I am not a professional mechanic. The website content is presented for entertainment purposes only and should not be seen as any kind of advice, information, instruction or guidance for working on any other car. The opinions stated here are my own and no-one else’s.