Owner’s Automotive Dreams Inspired by Film & Television
Owner: Renato Abella
Your location: New York
Year, Make, & Model: 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi and 1967 Shelby GT500 Eleanor
Photographer: Carter Kramer
New Yorker Renato Abella’s automotive dreams were inspired from movies and television.
He first saw an Eleanor while watching Gone in 60 Seconds. When he saw the scene with Memphis pulling out of the parking garage in Eleanor, Renato knew that he had to have one. He purchased the car in 2004 from eBay; it is was home-garage build, built on a C-code 1967 Mustang Fastback. When he bought it, it had its original 289 and 4 speed, but Renato has since upgraded it with a 347 stroker crate motor mated to a Tremec TKO 5 speed. Underneath it’s modernized, it has Total Control Products rack and pinion steering, adjustable front coil over suspension, and tower bracing. The interior has many Shelby Signature series parts.
As for Renato’s other “stallion”, he coveted his own Ferrari 308 after seeing Magnum P.I. (like many other kids growing up in the ’80s). He purchased his ’81 308 GTSi earlier this spring off of eBay as well. This super-clean Ferrari is rossa corso over black leather with 18,186 original miles on it, and its tidy drivetrain represents such. When Renato got a hold of this car, he had the major belt service done and had the suspension and steering restored/rebuilt. When Renato sits in the Ferrari, he feels like he’s stepped back in time to 1981; even the interior smells new.
These cars are very different, but both are a joy to drive and very special to Renato, but which car to take is often a difficult decision. The 308 is a real driver’s car—it handles wonderfully and it envelopes you when in the driver’s seat, because the steering wheel position, the pedals, and the gearshift are all perfectly placed. Eleanor, on the other hand, is raw, loud, and mean. It begs to be driven hard.
Renato loves that they are recognizable and iconic; even those who don’t consider themselves car people shout “Eleanor!” or “Magnum!” as Renato speeds past. This happens often, since Renato drives both of these cars as much as possible, taking them to car shows, local cruise nights, on scenic drives, or simply to run errands, but Renato’s favorite place to drive these cars is on Route 22.