MMR Blog

Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Muffler Systems

Posted on March 7, 2013 Comments (0)

In 1995 I bought a 1978 308 GTS Euro spec Ferrari with a rebuilt engine and 13K miles on the long non-functioning odometer. It had had a serious accident on the right front corner. This is the fourth in a series of short articles about how we repaired and updated it.

Do you hear what I hear?!

Whether it is the first notes of a Beethoven symphony or the blipping of the throttle on a V-12 Ferrari engine, sound moves us all.

The exhaust sound is arguably the most frequently personalized aspect of performance car ownership.

Aftermarket tuner systems generally differentiate themselves from original equipment by offering improved materials, finishes and designs that are “tuned? to be less restrictive, more powerful and noticeably louder.

Late model automobiles are equipped with stainless steel exhaust systems. They have replaced the steel versions which were given to rusting. However, the two metals respond differently to sound. While stainless is unquestionable longer lasting, it does so at the expense of the more mellifluous tones produced by the softer mild steel which played such a huge role in creating the Ferrari V12 mystique. In today’s high revving and high performance V8s, stainless OE and most aftermarket systems produce a hollow, raspy sound, which has become the hallmark of high performance motors.

While working on my 308 throughout the winter I noticed that the paint was flaking off the main body of its Ansa Sport muffler, pronounced Awnsa, and I wondered what the next step might be. The thought of buying a new muffler simply because the existing one, though structurally fine, was unsightly, seemed wrong.

WASRED muffler

By chance, I was recently digging into the Bobileff Motorcar Company’s site to add them to the MMR Goods & Services Directory as a restorer. That’s when I noticed that they also offer other services and one of them is the ability to rebuild Ansa Exhaust systems. I called and spoke with Gary Bobileff. He is owner of the company and a concours judge, a vehicle appraiser, and a person who is respected in the sport. I posed my problem to him.

Gary informed me that his company refurbishes the steel Ansa units which were built to fit V12 Ferraris of an earlier period. (There is a slide show on the site showing how they repair a Daytona muffler.) I asked him why? “The reason that people have the older Ansa systems rebuilt to exacting original specs is the sound. When installing a stainless system on a Ferrari 275, or Daytona, the sound nearly disappears. By staying with mild steel, the sound resonates not only from the tail pipes, but the entire system. This creates that beautiful melody throughout the rev ranges. This music can only be truly appreciated with an original mild steel system!”

But what about mine? He explained that my muffler, like all Ansas for V8 Ferraris, is stainless steel and that his company doesn’t have the capacity to work on these units. Gary suggested that a local metal refinisher would probably be able to refresh its appearance with the application of a good high heat coating. That would solve my problem reasonably and inexpensively.

The MMR Goods and Services Directory, with the Specialty Services – Metal Coating and Refinishing filter checked, will lead you to a number of good people who can recoat your older Ansa Unit.

But if you need to have your older Ansa system replaced, consider having it refurbished with Bobileff Motorcars in San Diego. Good people doing good things.

Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Exhaust Headers

Posted on February 27, 2013 Comments (0)

In 1995 I bought a 1978 308 GTS Euro spec Ferrari with a rebuilt engine and 13K miles on the long non-functioning odometer. It had had a serious accident on the right front corner. This is the third in a series of short articles about how we repaired and updated it.

The Pipes, the Pipes Are Calling: Exhaust Headers

As a kid, headers and cherry bombs or Thrush Mufflers were essential parts of every street rod. Other than Corvettes, sports cars of the sixties were mostly English and mostly small four or six cylinder engines with cast iron manifolds. These manifolds never wore out and they only broke if you dropped them. “Headers”, as we now know them, were initially home made from exhaust tubing. They were popular because they were lighter and allowed the engine exhaust to be taken away more quickly and easily, making the engine more efficient. When I first laid eyes on my Ferrari engine, like any old hot-rodder, I looked for places where I might make improvements easily and inexpensively. One look at the stock exhaust and I realized that the low hanging fruit had been picked at the factory. While you might improve on parts of the ignition system, and possibly the mufflers, there really was nothing hanging off the engine that could easily be improved. After all, it did put out 250 HP from about 180 cubic inches. That’s pretty efficient.

308 GTS exhaust manifold

About a year into ownership of WASRED, the exhaust manifold at the back of the engine cracked where the four individual pipes from the head meet. I was informed that this is not uncommon. Faithful John Tirrell, at IFS, ordered a new one ($750 in ’96) and took the front one off also. Scott and Bob at N.E. Industrial Coatings Inc., in Worcester MA, had once powder coated some wheels for me. They understand coatings and performance products and they had a process of Flow Coating both the interior and exterior of the headers. Described as a ceramic sealant, it strengthened the header and allowed exhaust to flow more freely. They also seem quieter. Whatever this cost, it seems like a very small investment for improved performance and durability. There was a choice of shades of grey from silver to dark and I chose a dark grey which might turn a lighter color when warm.

They have now been on the car since April of 1996 and we have never had a spot of trouble with them.

The MMR Goods and Services Directory lists 18 companies that do some form of coating or plating. Choose the one nearest you and don’t forget our motto: No One Ever Regretted Buying Quality. And don’t forget to tell them that MMR sent you.

Next week we will deal with the second half of the system, mufflers.

Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Engine Lubrication System

Posted on February 20, 2013 Comments (0)

In 1995 I bought a 1978 308 GTS Euro spec Ferrari with a rebuilt engine and 13K miles on the long non-functioning odometer. It had had a serious accident on the right front corner. This is the second in a series of short articles about how we repaired and updated it.

Auxiliary Oil Accumulator System

Two weeks after I had taken possession of the WASRED 308, I had coffee with a veteran 308 owner. I mentioned that I thought the wiper system was rather weak. “Wasn’t really designed for use in the rain” he replied in a manner that implied my expectations were rather high. Pressing on, I mentioned that the oil light comes on when I drive around a sharp corner. Don’t worry about it, he said, they all do that.

But I do worry about flashing red lights above the word “Olio” on my dashboard. John Tirrell, of Independent Ferrari Service in Easton, MA, again came to my rescue. The problem is indeed common to all older 308s and peace of mind comes from the installation of an additional three quart oil container from a company called Accusump.

The Accusump Company of North Brantford, CT, manufactures pressurized oil accumulators for performance engines. Accusumps are oil reservoirs that connect to the engine's oiling system. They are designed to collect pressurized oil from your engine and store it so it may be discharged when oil pressure is low. Accusump Oil Accumulators deliver oil before starting, to eliminate dry start scuffing (pre-oiling), and discharge oil during low oil pressure surges.

WASRED oil lines

This is not an installation I could do myself so John had the hoses made up and fitted the Accusump to the trunk compartment of my car. A single hose goes from the accumulator to the base of the oil filter mount. It is a fairly clear path from a couple of angles. There really is no excellent location for the unit and the trunk is as good as any. I have seen pumps fitted to the wall of the trunk area above the headers and I have considered that change.

WASRED accusump

So, as you can see from the pictures it is a clean fit but it does have drawbacks. For one thing, the heat generated by carrying along an extra three quarts of hot engine oil means things get toasty in the luggage compartment. Then again, with a set of headers abutting it and an exhaust system under it, it was never intended to store milk and butter.

In Chapter #3 we will talk about exhaust headers and sound.

Upgrading a 1978 Ferrari 308 GTS: Brakes

Posted on February 7, 2013 Comments (0)

In 1995 I bought a 1978 308 GTS Euro spec Ferrari with a rebuilt engine and 13K miles on the long non-functioning odometer. It had had a serious accident on the right front corner. This is the first in a series of short articles about how we repaired it and updated it.

The goal is simple: Improved performance and reliability, at a reasonable cost.


The original Ferrari brakes are fine. For simply driving on the street, I never would touch the brakes. When I bought the car, my friends were doing FCA club track days and I joined them. I came to realize that the newer model cars were quicker on the straights but not necessarily quicker through the turns. The only way to keep from being run over under braking was to upgrade the brake system.

The easiest option was to install a new brake system of larger calipers and rotors on the front of the car. Brembo offers such a system and at the time it was priced between $2500 and $3000. But my rotors were fine and I didn’t want to spend that kind of money. John Tirrell, owner of Independent Ferrari Service (IFS) in Easton MA, was tracking a very quick 308 GT4. He discovered that the Ferrari Club members in England were using ATE front calipers, standard on Audi S4s of the eighties that bolted right up.

We bought a set of newly rebuilt calipers and performance pads. John attached really neat Porsche air ducts and tubing to the lower A arms, put in new brake lines and, for far less than $500 in parts, we eliminated brake fade and improved braking performance dramatically.

Below are images of the original pads and the replacements, and the S4’s ATE Girling calipers. You can see that the brake swept area is almost double. After 15 years, because they were the lowest part on the car, the wear and tear on the Porsche 911 air duct pickups and tubing necessitated I remove them. If I was to do track again, I would put on another set.

Brake Pads


This is not meant to imply that this system is the equivalent of the Brembo or anyone else’s product; but, at the time, it satisfied a need at a reasonable price and, although I still have the original parts in a box somewhere, I would never put them back on. NB: The 1978 Ferrari doesn’t have an anti-lock brake system. It is possible to lock up the wheels, particularly under panic braking or in the wet. But I got used to a sensitive pedal and in over ten years of use, I have never had an issue.