Undercover

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AFTER HEARING PEAK RIP up and down the road for photographer Linke, I can’t wait to get behind the wheel. The cockpit is immediately familiar from the countless 308s and 328s I’ve driven over the years, as is the view of the road ahead. When we buckle in, Peak reminds me, “Just remember, this car has way more engine than tires or brakes.” Got it.

The custom starter whirs, then the engine lights with a chesty bark. It’s immediately obvious there are many more cc’s, and a lot less exhaust restriction, than stock. A few prods of the loud pedal reveal the reduced reciprocating mass and resulting free-revving nature compared to the original engine.

An aftermarket “slick shift” gate smartly guides the shift lever, which makes the usual metallic clack-clack sounds. The clutch engages smoothly and, with a little throttle, the car pulls away cleanly. There’s serious low-end torque on hand, yet the longer stroke does nothing to inhibit the engine’s eagerness to leap through the rev range. Second gear arrives almost immediately, and third comes in a big hurry. This car is no longer 308 quick; it’s genuinely fast.

Just as important, the thoroughly upgraded old-school Ferrari feels alive with mechanical feedback. The solidly mounted engine buzzes my backside through the chassis and seat. The unassisted steering is organic and feelsome, and talks to me the whole time.

Peak’s warnings notwithstanding, the comparatively modest rolling stock and brakes are enough as long as I don’t get too playful with the throttle. I don’t have the venue to really flog it, but on deserted public roads I learn the Ferrari’s horsepower rating is real, and how good and balanced this 308 chassis truly is. And then there’s that exhaust note: a wonderfully mechanical growl overlaid with an almost ethereal scream, loud and strong yet never over the top.

It’s an amazing, one-of-a-kind machine, and Peak fully credits NFF for the results. “I was blown away with the attention to detail and quality of work,” he says, and I don’t disagree. “In all honesty, I’ve never met people with higher ethical and workmanship standards than NFF.”

Peak regularly gets asked why he spent so much money on a 308 instead of, say, just buying a 458? He cites two primary reasons, the first being that he wanted a much more analog, organic car than the current, highly computerized models. As for the second, it’s obvious; as Peak puts it, “Magnum didn’t drive a 458!”

Also from Issue 159

  • 360 Spider with stick-shift
  • One-off 330 GTC
  • Daytona restoration
  • 333 SP
  • F1: Ferrari wins!
  • FORZA Tifosi Challenge: F430 to 458
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