If you grew up in the 1980s, you might have fond memories of the Ferrari 308 that Tom Selleck drove in the Magnum P.I. series. And if you also grew up with that generation, you’ve probably also lusted after one.
Would you scream sacrilege if one were converted to electricity? We didn’t and we loved the long ride we had in the ElectricGT 308.
A Ferrari 308 Converted to Electricity = The ElectricGT 308
We first saw the ElectricGT 308, a converted Ferrari 308, at the second Long Beach, California Formula E championship. The car was briefly brought on the track and delighted an excited public with screeching tires and donuts. It made almost no noise, save for two belts whining as the electric motors pumped out a healthier 330 HP with 330 lb. ft. of torque. Healthier? That’s considering the original 308 had a modest 220 HP and 179 ft. lb of torque — and you can understand how the driving dynamics have been completely changed with the ElectricGT 308.
For those of you who have driven or ridden in an original Ferrari 308, you’ll know its look was more aggressive than its raw performance. The modest V8 did a good job for the ’80s and the transversal position made for a fun and spirited ride. Sadly, Ferrari deliberately held it back from its bigger V12 siblings at the time. Only the rare and elusive 288 GTO slapped on two IHI turbos and showed how much potential the car had to offer. A few privateers and bigger groups raced the 308 but it never achieved the success its looks suggested.
Needless to say, we would love to have one of these vehicles in our garage and the ElectricGT 308 certainly would be the one.
Eric took us on an hour-long ride, where he proved the conversion reveals how much more performance a Ferrari 308 can offer. To put it mildly, the car is glued to the road with frank and pronounced accelerations. This is something you wouldn’t feel as much with the gasoline version. Now, of course, Eric upgraded the suspension with QA-1 adjustable coil-overs and a race front sway bar, which add to the stiffness and handling. All of this makes the ElectricGT 308 an even better handling car than in its original state. And oh yes, we can only wonder what Ferrari thinks!
ElectricGT 308, Re-Engineering the Ferrari 308 With Electricity
What Eric Hutchinson decided to do was to drop not one but three electric motors in a longitudinal way. Strangely enough, that layout was considered on the original 308 but Ferrari decided against to avoid running into gearbox positioning problems. The electric conversion results are very impressive. The car only adds an extra 300 or so pounds compared to the original one, which is more than negated by the extra torque and horsepower from those three electric motors.
We asked Eric why a Ferrari 308 conversion in the first place? This picture below will explain a little more.
Eric bought this Ferrari 308 after it had burned from a fuel leak. The idea of rebuilding it to its original performance didn’t stack up to a three-electric-motor conversion. He said it was a question of what was available at the time and what fit his budget. And if you know anything about conversion projects, you know your original budget can easily balloon 5 times over if you don’t put your foot down at some point. Thus the ElectricGT 308 was born.
Re-engineering the Ferrari 308 to drop its gasoline engine and embrace a three-electric-motor setup was no small feat. The EV West crew had to do some serious re-engineering with the back engine subframe.
Engineering three electric motors to come together onto a Porsche gearbox is an impressive feat as well. Two electric motors lie on top and the bottom one is directly connected to the gearbox. The two top ones use belts to connect to the final shaft. The whine of those belts when under torque is spectacular.
The batteries are laid out in the front and on each side of the electric motors. The ElectricGT 308 has an even better center of gravity and an improved handling.
Learning How To Convert A Ferrari 308 to Electricity
We saw what it takes to find the right drivetrain, shafts, and gearboxes on the workbenches of EV West. Torn differentials, ripped gears, and bent and twisted drive shafts adorn a few shelves. In the end, the ElectricGT 308 uses a Porsche G50 gearbox and uses mostly the 2nd and 4th gear, although all gears are available. You just don’t need it. The electric motors rev up to synchronize with the rpm of the gearbox and, voila, no need for super-reinforced clutches — although, the stronger, the better.
The other project Eric has been working on is a little bit more approachable and affordable than the ElectricGT 308. How about a Fiat 124 Spider electric conversion? As you can see from his site, Eric has an electric Fiat 124 Spider in the works. And after that, he also has a 1957 Jeep and a 1970 Toyota Fj40 awaiting their conversions.
EV West is a great place where you will find a fine bunch of electric aficionado. Almost everything learned from the school of hard rocks is available there. We met a team that redefines modern hot rodding in Southern California. Instead of gasoline fumes and oil spills, there are batteries and buzzing.
Stay tuned for the Zelectric soon.
And as to the question you’re probably all waiting to have answered, how much would this converted car cost? You’ll have to wait a few months, as the ElectricGT 308 may go on the auction block at Barrett Jackson in January. Any takers?