The world never loved the Dino 308 GT4. Well, Park Avenue certainly didn’t.
The 308 GT4 has long been sort of the ugly duckling of the Ferrari family, designed by Bertone rather than Pininfarina, angular not curvaceous, with four seats not two.
That said, I love its spaceship kind of styling, and I adore its wailing 3.0 liter V8. I first saw one on the streets of Manhattan, eventually connecting with the owner, the eminently stylish Olivier Renaud-Clément. I spotted the car parked on the edge of Chinatown, looking every bit like a forgotten inter-dimensional craft glimpsing into our universe. The sunroof was left open. I waited with a couple bums until he came back for his car so I could finally meet the guy who owned such an unloved Ferrari.
Later, I met him at the shop where his ‘67 Ghibli was getting repaired and I spotted the GT4 gathering dust in the corner. Renaud-Clément had had his first accident, and it was in that car, dodging a pothole on Park Avenue and banging into a parked truck. I thought it was a glamorous way to wreck. He was less amused.
I think the car is gone now, in the hands of another owner, or perhaps released to another state of dimensionality by the crusher.
This story came back to me as I saw this post by my boss Patrick lusting after another unloved Italian wedge, the Fiat X1/9. A similar tale of destruction came up in the comments by reader Eggshen2012:
I once stopped at a total strangers house because he was outside washing his X1/9, a beautiful car.
I walked up and asked his advice. Should I buy one?
He brought me into his garage and showed me what was left of his transmission after hitting a pot hole in Manhattan which drove a half shaft through the tranny case.
No he said. “These cars are just not made for American roads.”
I took his advice.
Maybe Manhattan has a thing against Bertone.