You Can Own this George Barris Customized…Ferrari 308 GTS?!
It’s easy to assume that customized (not to be confused with coachbuilt) Ferraris are a relatively new development on the automotive landscape. However, as with so many things in our world that we think are recent arrivals, that’s simply not the case. Think we’re yanking your (gold) chain? Check out this 1978 308 GTS that was massively modified not long after it was new by its owner, the late George Barris.
Yes, we’re talking about that late George Barris, one of the founding fathers of the “kustom” scene here in Southern California in the 1950s and the guy who, along with erstwhile employee and contemporary Dean Jeffries, dominated the campy custom movie and TV car building industry throughout the 1960s and early ‘70s. Naturally, being one of Hollywood’s two go-to guys for tricked out rides made Barris a sizable pile of cash, so sizable that he decided to treat himself to a new (or new to him) Ferrari 308 GTS. And while the self-coronated “King of the Kustomizers” enjoyed driving it and taking it to local Ferrari club gatherings, he couldn’t help noticing his mid-engine Malaise Era Fezza looked a lot like those of his fellow members.
Consequently, he and the folks at his shop gave the car a pretty comprehensive makeover. They removed the bumpers, widened (though not obviously) the front and rear fenders to fit over wider wheels and tires, and fabricated new front and rear valences, then repainted the car in what we would consider a “caramel and chocolate” two-tone scheme, with the two shades separated by an Italian tricolore stripe running the length of the flanks. The red, white, and green theme was carried over into the interior, with leather piping across the saddle and brown seats, door panels and dashboard, the latter having been fitted with custom digital readouts, warning lights, a wood rim steering wheel, a Kenwood stereo, a cellular phone and a Sony mini TV.
This vintage Ferrari is far from stock and, at its current asking price, it’s not very cheap, either: The selling dealer, Hyman Ltd. in St. Louis, is seeking $200,000 for this incongruous Italian. That’s a lot of cash for a Ferrari that’s a) glacially slow by 2017 standards and b) modified in such a manner that its appeal is drastically limited. But if you want a 308 GTS with an interesting backstory and won’t leave you being constantly asked by smartass bystanders where your are, then consider this opportunity knocking.