Reader Submissions: Owner's Automotive Dreams Inspired by Film & Television

Owner’s Automotive Dreams Inspired by Film & Television

By Petrolicious Productions
November 18, 2013

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. 

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8 years ago

For me these Ferraris are synonymous with teenage desire and take me down a road of nostalgia. I fell in love with the 308 early on despite being born in 1982, and have never come across another Ferrari that sparked so much emotion every time I lay eyes on one. Perhaps being more attainable and actually seeing them in the wild now and then has kept me anxious. Oh and those taillights. Wow.

Peter Schroeter
Peter Schroeter(@e30pete)
8 years ago

The Shelby has so much classic punch vs the 308 you’d need sth a tad bit more classy than that to beat it…I suggest…

Burani rims are a must have needless to say 🙂

8 years ago

Nice piece of Ferrari trivia Matthew, as I would expect… 😉

Lovely cars, no doubt, but a shame his inspiration for a collection isn’t a little more original? Great to hear he drives them regular though – that’s essential. Drive tastefully.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
8 years ago

Two great cars. Trivia fact about the 308 in Magnum, Tom Selleck was too tall to fit in it comfortably, so they took the seat runners out and bolted the seat directly to the floor.

Victor Marinelli
Victor Marinelli(@fb_1311741221)
8 years ago

Ferrari for me please :p

Ae Neuman
Ae Neuman(@fb_1293493178)
8 years ago

as much as i love european cars, i agree with dustin.
ford beats ferrari again !

Dustin Rittle
Dustin Rittle(@mosler)
8 years ago

Great article! If i had to choose between the cars i most likely would pick the GT500..its no slight against the ferrari but there is just something about owning a shelby that just makes you smile:)