Ferrari Formula One driver Gilles Villeneuve holds a very special place in the hearts of the Tifosi. He raced for the Scuderia for six years from 1977 until his untimely death in 1982. During their first meeting, Enzo Ferrari reportedly stated Villeneuve reminded him of famed pre-war legend Tazio Nuvolari, to whom the Ferrari founder was very close. A vintage pairing of driver and team was born. In 1978, Ferrari presented Villeneuve with a road-going model as a company car – and fittingly, it was the very newest car built at Maranello, the 308 GTS.
A waiting list was already building but Villeneuve bypassed it to secure the second-ever 308 GTS built (the GTS was the targa-top version of the 1975 GTB). Recently, this 1977 car, wearing chassis number 21371, was presented at auction, where it sold for an astonishing €269,375 (including buyer’s fee) at RM Sotheby’s 2018 Monaco Sale. This is believed to be one of the highest-ever figures a 308 GTS has to date sold for, and reflects the car’s rich provenance and association with the French-Canadian Formula One hero.
Originally a development car, Ferrari refurbished the rare Rosso Dino model before presenting it to Villeneuve. The work was completed to such a high standard, this very car was also used in the studio for the 308 GTS’s brochure photography. It was handed over to the charismatic Formula One driver on 30 October 1978, with the registration MO 439235. Villeneuve reportedly drove the car in a spectacular fashion. He lived in Monaco and used it for the 270-mile drive to the Maranello factory.
It should normally take four and a half hours, but Villeneuve apparently once completed the journey in two hours and 25 minutes… Following Villeneuve’s death, Ferrari retained the car until 1984, where it was sold to a Modenese enthusiast and Ferrari client. The auction vendor acquired the car in 2010, displaying it in his private collection in Denmark – and he was also invited to exhibit it at the Museo Ferrari in 2012. The extensively-documented car has covered just 36,600 kilometres, has its original engine, and can be identified as a rare early-series car by its single exhaust.
The factory handbook and original tool kit are also included. The ex-Villeneuve 308 GTS is an incredible piece of history, which comes with an ASI Certificato di’Identita (certificate of authenticity) that itself is very special: it has been signed by Gilles Villeneuve’s son, 1997 Formula One World Champion Jacques Villeneuve. Quite possibly the most significant 308 GTS in existence, the spectacular price is a fitting sum for the famous personal Ferrari of spectacular pilote Gilles Villeneuve