A dream worth living: Ferrari 308 GTB 1978

Written by: Niklas Walentin, Chief Editor and Co-founder of Copenhagen Classic Car

It is one of those days. Everything seems perfect, almost too perfect. In a country guarantied a raincloud hanging over its head, waking up on an early Saturday morning with a powerful sun, encouraging one to ‘get out there’, feels somewhat of a blessing.

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Niklas Walentin, I am a classic violinist and, most likely not to anyones surprise visiting our site, a massively overfueled petrol head. All my life I have had two goals that was made in to one promise - the day I would play at Carnegie Hall I would buy myself a Ferrari. Faith would it, and a million hours of practice that I would give my first solo recital in 2015, and with just the money to get myself the best example I could find, I purchased myself a 1978 Ferrari GTB.

After a quick, yet important decision of choosing what to wear, it doesn’t take more than a moment to pull the first shot of espresso. While the smooth smell of dark roasted coffee from Milanese Café Vergnano fills the air, driving gloves are taken out of the closet and keys for the best bit of the day found. Downing the espresso, feeling a certain excitement for what is about to come slowly starting to take over my senses, I quickly lock up the apartment, and just find time to tie the Ascot on the way down the stairs. There is almost no time for the old automatic light to finally come to life as I hastly walk through the long corridor of the basement into the parking lot. Finally, after an always certain struggle trying to find the right key for the door, I stand in front of what it all is about ...

Chassis #F106AB26165 in profil.
Chassis #F106AB26165 in profil.

There she is, standing in all glory. My very own 1978 Ferrari 308 GTB Dry Sump. For some reason it always feel like she is driving on the redline, fast as she can, even though she is standing completely still. All though now not for long. The classic Rosso Corsa to some seem almost too ordinary for this car, yet it just works so well. Wherever you look at it, from a distance it seems like it has been drawn with a ruler, but the moment your eyes fixes on a line, one immediately realises that it is just another dropdead sexy curve.

Enough looking, action most be taken. It is Saturday in Copenhagen, and there is the popular Cars & Coffee at the local petrolstation, situated just north of the center. Right on the water, and designed by the danish architect Arne Jacobsen, whom also gave the world the ‘Egg Chair’ and the ever-popular ‘Seven’, it seems the perfect host for a gathering of classic beauties. The cafe, ‘Olivers Garage’, also makes a damn good coffee.

It is an event every time. Inserting the tiny key, more suitable for a letterbox, into the door and pulling the fragile handle, working vertically so it dose not ruin any of the beautiful estetics of the car. Sliding in, way down low into what to me remains the perfect driving position. The classic anecdote of one needing to be closely related to an orangutang is always amusing, yet I have never had the issue of missing extremely long arms and midget-styled legs. Perhaps, I might just be a bit of an ape anyhow. Now comes my favourite bit. Before the exorbitant level of noice blows the last sleepiness far away, the key goes to position ‘II’, and one is immediately presented with a high, whiny noice and the sweet ‘gluck’-sound of the four Weber carburettors slowly bing filled up. Last turn of the key, the engine is being turned around, and I just feel the car wants to get a live - and it does. Two tiny tweaks with the toes on the gas-pedal and it roars to life, literally. It is the original Ansa exhaust, and 40 years of high level vibrations has surely given it a very special tone.

First owner of the car used it for all sorts of events - I am owner number 2.

Slowly rolling down ’Noerre Soegade’, one of the most busy streets of Copenhagen, with waves of cyclist constantly on your right side, it is a question of getting the three litre all-aluminium engine to gain temperatur as quickly as possible, without straining it too much. After 10 minutes of battling a surprising morning traffic with nothing more than maximum three thousand RPM, the temperature gauge slowly stabilises itself just below 90 degrees, and even the oil temp. gauge seems willing to participate in todays fun. Leaving the center of the city, I get to adore the soundvawes bouncing of the old buildings, driving the narrow streets through ‘Hellerup’, one of the most posh areas where an elderly lady looks most displeased at me after my morning stroll almost have given her poodle a heart attack. Just before I turn onto ’Strandvejen’, literally ‘beach road’, I pass the old Copenhagen Fort used to proudly protect this little nation through the past many years. We have had quite an eye for getting into disputes especially with the Swedes, but mostly these days we take care of our differences on the football lanes.

Finally before the petrol station, a ‘golden mile’ and completely straight is simply to tempting, and my right food seems more heavy than ever. The car instantly feels joyful, even thankful for getting to shake itself loos after the city driving and it is my pleasure entirely to let it run to 6500 RPM. I see people and well-known faces shouting and cheering at the show being put on by my down-shifting, before turning into the overcrowded parking lot. The Cars & Coffee meetings has grown extremely popular ever since five years ago when it started, and it is slowly pulling a crowd all the way from Sweden. Having parked and greeted most of my usual mates, I take the last enjoyment leaning up a ‘Do-not-park’-sign, with a good filter coffee listening to the hot engine slowly ticking away. It is like a pizzicato coda to the most beautiful morning symphony. Certainly a piece of music I can’t wait to repeat on the way home.

Written by: Niklas Walentin, Chief Editor and Co-founder of Copenhagen Classic Car