The 1980 Sbarro Super Eight, Not Your Standard Hatchback


The Eighties were the decade that saw the dawn of the hot hatchback. Today’s little red hatchback is really very hot, because it’s entirely a Ferrari 308 underneath.

Called the Super Eight, the ride you see here was a custom creation of Francisco Sbarro, whose work we featured for the first time the other day in the Berlingo Calao. While that van-cum-beach vehicle was meant for windsurfing and general leisure, the Super Eight was built to perform while looking fairly common.

Sbarro created the Super Eight for the 1984 edition of the Geneva Motor Show. He took a contemporary 1980 Ferrari 308 GTB (1975-1985) and replaced its angular Pininfarina-penned coupe body with a two-seat hatchback one of his own design. The Super Eight looked striking with gold lace alloys right at the corners of the body, which were fitting alongside all the spoilers, intakes, louvers, and a custom heckblende.

The donor 308 GTB was one of the naturally aspirated 308 versions and used Ferrari’s 2.9-liter V8 engine. The Super Eight kept the 308s transverse engine layout, and the five-speed Ferrari manual as well. The engine produced 252 horses in its Euro specification; smog-choked Americans at the time made do with 237.

Sbarro fitted an interior of his own design, complete with a center stack not found in the 308. Brown was the color scheme of choice, whether that be leather, wood, or tweedy cloth seat inserts. Two passengers could put their luggage at the rear above the engine where it would probably get hot, or in the carpeted front trunk where it would remain a bit cooler. Dials and switches were sensibly ported over from Ferrari, even if the overall interior design was not. The rear lamps look very familiar but your author can’t place them.

© Philippe Calvet, site “Franco Sbarro, l’autre façon de concevoir l’automobile”

A one-off, the Super Eight was destined mostly for show and museum duty. Since 1984, it’s traveled about 16,700 miles. It’s presently for sale in Holland, it asks a stiff $179,000.

[Images: Sbarro, YouTube]

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