James May Thinks You Shouldn't Buy His 1977 Ferrari

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Screenshot: DriveTribe

The following video has been out in the world for a couple of weeks but it escaped my attention until recently. Which was a shame, because it’s the most delightful argument against buying old sports cars that I’ve heard in a while.

James May needs no introduction in these parts, but I’ll give him one anyway. Still best known for his work on “Top Gear” and “The Grand Tour,” May has also hosted roughly 10 million other things as well, including cooking shows, science shows and a show about literal toys. He is, in short, a master of the form at this point, and many people, myself included, would happily listen to him talk about anything.

Which means that when this video came into my feed recently as I was searching for something else, I was happy to drop everything and watch. May, who’s owned a 1977 Ferrari 308 GTB for a few years now, is over it, the biggest reason being because it’s “old tech.” He’s put it up for sale at a dealer in Kent for the price of £69,995, or about $90,000 U.S.

The 308's V8 made a little over 250 horsepower when it was new, and I’m sure an impeccably-maintained 308 like the one May is selling does close to that, but the point is that May’s Toyota Mirai, his Tesla Model S and his BMW i3 are all likely to be objectively better, in the same way that a Playstation 4 is objectively better than an NES.


Which doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t buy an old sports car, though it doesn’t mean you should consider your reasons for doing so. For most, it’ll be like what it was for James May, an exorcism of a demon that’s been around since one’s teen years, an itch that needed scratching, even if, as they say, it’s usually a bad idea to drive your heroes anyway.

May’s verdict: You’ll probably conclude that buying a new Alpine is a better idea. And it’s hard to argue with that.