Many of us dream of discovering and reclaiming an eerie “barn” in the woods – but Julien Vamphon came across the Ferrari 308 GTB of his dreams in the parking lot of his apartment. However, finding the owner was not an easy feat…
Julian, thank you for chatting with us today! Tell us a little about yourself…
“I am a 42-year-old French car designer. My career started as an apprentice at Pininfarina when I was a student, so I was involved in many projects at Ferrari and Maserati, which is really unbelievable. After that, I went to work for Peugeot and Citroen, and then seven years ago Or eight years, I moved to Germany to work at Kia. I owned a lot of cars: some English cars, mostly sports cars, Alfas…everything.”
What attracted you to FErrari 308? Was your car a sticker or just something you saw on the road as a kid?
“As a teenager, I only had one car model: the 308 – although it was a red Targa and not a black coupe. Since I started at Pininfarina I’ve wanted one, but in recent years prices have started to go up. If I had I started research 10 years ago, I could afford one, but that obviously wasn’t the case.”
Why do you want that exact car?
“I first saw this car in 2016, while I was living in Turin, Italy. There was an underground garage where I parked my mini, and next to it was a 308. It seemed to have been sitting there for a while; there was a hood on it, but I recognized Shape immediately. I knew I couldn’t buy a decent car, but I thought that if this car was not in showroom condition, it might be an opportunity for me to fulfill my dream.”
How long did it take to find?
“Back then, I had other cars, including an Alfa Romeo 2000 GTV, which was completely restored, and a Ferrari 360 Modena. My goal wasn’t to buy a 308 right away, because I was going to have to sell everything to buy one, and I wasn’t ready So.However.I did some research and found out that the car belongs to a guy named Gian Piero Albanese, father of Satya Albanese – the owner of the apartment where there is a parking space.So my goal in 2016 was just to connect with the son.
“I knew this car was a good starting point for my project. It was obviously a sit-down, but it was a solid foundation on which to build. Every few weeks I resume my research, which will last for three years before I finally connect with Satya. I initially found it on Facebook With a different name and I sent it in mid 2017. However, he didn’t really reply until 2019. Since I wasn’t his Facebook friend, he saw my message by pure chance.
“Satya told me that he was reluctant to sell, because it was a sentimental car owned by his father, who had sadly passed away. I understood this, because I have a special watch for my father that will stay with me forever. Satya told me about his father: He worked in Formula One for eight years and worked closely together. With Gilles Villeneuve it was actually Gilles who pushed him to buy the car in 1980, and they sometimes went to drive together.
“It turns out that Jill also recommended some modifications to improve the performance of the car, which we discovered when I took it to the workshop. One of the main things we noticed was the switch to increase brake pressure during hard driving. My mechanic couldn’t believe it, because he hadn’t seen this modification before. We decided to keep on upgrading the brakes, because they were part of the history of the car, and now I’m leaving the brakes permanently with the increased pressure setting.”
How did you convince the owner to sell?
“I didn’t want to put any pressure on him – I realized it was a sentimental topic. However, because we started talking about cars, our shared passion, he finally relented. Perhaps five months passed between us we started talking and he decided to sell it. I think he was originally wary of dealers who They are looking forward to flipping the car, but I explained why I liked it, and I think he felt like I wasn’t trying to make a profit.”
What was the condition of the car when you found it?
“It’s been sitting in this parking lot for 17 years, so a complete rebuild was needed and there were a lot of scratches, which we were able to remove without disturbing the original paint. The interior was in perfect condition; all we had to do was moisturize the leather and some The plastics.Once the job was done the guy who brought the car mechanics back told me it was absolutely perfect.It just needed a respirator,but it had a really nice look and I don’t want to remove the history of the car,or make it too perfect,in case that gets me in the way of drive it.
“The Alfa GTV 2000 was restored, but I felt it had lost its character; this was a mistake I wanted to avoid repeating with the 308. When I got the car the owner hadn’t touched the interior, so there were papers from the ’80s, it was like a time capsule. It was important Really for me to interview the original owner to find out his history. I found him, Lubin Palmer III, on LinkedIn – I had his service brochure and found his name on the property documents, so I tracked him down and after 40 years he is reunited with his car. Coincidentally, he’s a car designer too!”
After the restoration, did the 308 meet your expectations?
“When I started this project, I wasn’t really expecting to do such a high-quality restoration. My budget was around 45,000 euros, just for mechanical renovation, nothing cosmetic. In the end, it was really expensive, so I’m not far from the market price – I had to Selling two cars to fund this project.I sold my Lotus Exige S1 to buy a 308 in the first place, then sold my Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 to fund the rebuild.It was very difficult to give up the Alfa, because I signed it to Giorgetto Giugiaro.
“The man who did the restoration is Jochen Frick, who runs Die Sportwagen Spezialisten in Frankfurt. They are really famous in Germany and specialize in mechanical restoration of classic Ferraris. I was in the workshop every few days to discuss the restoration; there was a very high level of communication between me and The mechanics, which was really reassuring for me.Polishing the parts was not included in the price, but the mechanic wanted me to work on the car myself, so over Christmas he gave me the tools and polished every component of the engine.In the end, my hands were completely done – no I could write, and I couldn’t do anything!Jochen wasn’t easy on me: I would polish him up to a mirror and tell me to keep going.However, he would always stop me before I was over the top.
“Now we’re great friends, I walk around there all the time for a coffee and see what he’s working on. The workshop is in a really nice place in Frankfurt, it’s almost like a museum, so it’s petroleum heaven. The car now makes sense to me. I spent years tracking down the owner and then I took it back, and I had to sell two cars that I loved buying in the first place, so I will never sell it. I will continue to drive that car every weekend for as long as possible.”
Photos by Nook_2M and Mark Reinert