1989 Ferrari 328 GTS Koenig Special ***Rare & Unique in Australia***
Oldtimer Australia is delighted to offer for sale a 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS Koenig special.
Willy König was an established German race car driver who made his fortune in publishing. In 1974 he acquired his first Ferrari, a 365 GT4 BB. Whilst he liked the car, he wasn’t happy with its performance. Harnessing his vast motorsport experience, he decided to do something about that. He turbocharged the flat 12 engine, upgraded the suspension, fitted wider wheels & tyres and changed the body. Initially, people disliked König’s hot rodded Ferrari and the word is Enzo was horrified (and later took legal action against König) . However, the car was a beast and suddenly owners of Ferraris were contacting König and asking him to modify their car. A hobby became a business and in 1977 Koenig Specials GmbH was established. To save confusion with other König named automotive outlets in Germany, he threw an ‘E’ into the naming mix and did the eighties thing of making the company logo all caps. KOENIG-SPECIALS was soon open for business and the mission was simple: make usable road-going cars with race car performance.
Koenig Specials became one of the first tuning houses to specialise in expensive exotic cars. They, along with others such as such as Brabus and Gemballa represented an era of independent German tuning houses of the 1980’s that began to replace traditional coachbuilders of the previous generations. Some of Koenig’s most notable work was the creation of a twin turbo Testarossa which produced up to 1000 hp.
This 1989 Ferrari 328 GTS was delivered new to Alex Chan Hong Sing in Hong Kong through Italian Motors Ltd. It is understood to have been originally blue. It is documented in Matthias Urban’s book – Ferrari Serial Numbers as GTS 89 Blue RHD UK . . . 288 GTO conversion red/tan. Koenig Specials has confirmed this is a genuine Koenig conversion.
Unfortunately, this car’s early history is not known. Its Australian history starts in 2002. There is an Import Approval on file dated 26 August 2002. Interestingly, the car came to Australia as a personal import. There is a Personally Imported Vehicle plate fixed in the engine compartment that is dated 12/02.
The car was advertised for sale in February 2016 and at that time it was registered in NSW as CDA04K. The advert stated that car had recently been repainted by a professional restoration shop and the seats had been retrimmed.
The car then found its way to Adelaide in South Australia joining the collection of a well-known family. There are invoices on file dating back to October 2016 at which time the mileage was noted as 43,866 km.
Shortly after that the car was offered for sale in Adelaide and at that time the mileage was noted as 44,021 km.
The current owner acquired the car in c2018. In his ownership the car has been regularly serviced by GTB Classics in Mitchell, ACT. The most recent service invoice is dated 10th April 2023 and at that time the mileage was noted as 48,642 km.
Today the odometer reads 48,660 km.
This car certainly has a presence about it. When you walk up to the car it is immediately obvious that this is not your everyday Ferrari 328 GTS. With the extended wheel arches, integrated front spoiler and side skirts, the Koenig body certainly has an aggressive look.
Today the paint still presents exceptionally well. Upon closer inspection you will notice some minor stone chips, most noticeable on the front spoiler and the bottom of the side skirts, as well as the odd minor blemish here and there. We also have to mention there is a small crack in the paint on the front spoiler. The windscreen has some minor scratches and chips. The rest of the Saint Gobain glass looks to be original and in excellent condition. The external trim including the lights, lenses, badges and the targa top are all in very good condition.
The car is fitted with 17 inch Compomotive wheels which really suit the car. They are in excellent condition with no kerb rash and are shod with Bridgestone Potenza 215/15/R17 tyres at the front (date stamped 0719 – week 7, 2019) and Nankang Ultra Sport NS 2 275/40/R17 tyres at the rear (date stamped 3118 (week 31, 2018). The tyres show minimal wear and they are in good condition.
With the targa top off the car the cabin is easily visible. It is inviting and first impressions are really positive as everything presents exceptionally well. The tan seats are in excellent condition with no rips or tears in the leather. They are firm and provide ample support. The dashboard presents well with no cracks or sunburn. The instruments are clear and in good condition. The centre console, all controls, switches and knobs sit flush to the leather surface, with no puckering, wear or dirt marks of significance. The fit and stitching is excellent for all leather panels and the carpets also present well. The car is fitted with an aftermarket Alpine audio system and the original gear knob has been replaced at some stage.
Under the front clip everything is neat, clean and tidy. There is an aftermarket jack, but no spare wheel. The engine bay is clean and well presented. All cast finishes retain very nice surface lustre, while all the rubber and plastic components appear correct and undamaged. The rear luggage compartment is in excellent condition. The carpet is clean and the tightly fitting zipper cover works well.
With great anticipation we get behind the wheel to take the car out for a test drive. How will it compare to a standard 328 GTS?
After having adjusted the seat to make ourselves comfortable we turn the key to start the car. Almost immediately the engine fires up and fairly quickly it settles into a smooth idle. The 3.2 litre V8 emits a raspy exhaust note. Unlike some of Koenig’s creations which featured extreme engine modifications, we understand this car has only had some mild tuning in the form of upgraded cam shafts. Once the engine has warmed up, we take the car out for an eagerly awaited test drive. Like all 328’s this car is very easy to drive. One does immediately notice the firmer ride and that the car sits more squatly on the road. To test the handling one would have to venture out to Queensland Raceway, but we have no doubt it would perform exceptionally well! Like all Italian sports cars from this period, the gearbox does need a little bit of time to warm up. Once it has reached the correct operating temperature the gear changes are easy and smooth. The engine feels strong and has plenty of power on tap. Once out on the open road we were able to stretch its legs. The engine revs willing through the rev range and the car is an absolute delight to drive. We did notice the pick up on the clutch is a little bit low. This is also mentioned on the most recent service invoice, however, the clutch still operates as it should. Importantly the car also stops quickly and in a straight line when required. We do like the driving position in a Ferrari 328 and following our test drive we can confirm that the instruments and controls are in working order.
All too soon our test drive come to an end and we return the car to our showroom. Needless to say this car attracted plenty of attention on our short drive and we are sure there will be a few more photos of the car on social media.
Accompanying the car is an owner’s manual in a Ferrari leather pouch and a partial history file.
We love the rare, the unique and the unusual at Oldtimer Australia. There is no doubt that a Ferrari 328 GTS Koenig Special fits that bill! We are aware of only one other Ferrari 328 Koenig Special in Australia and that is a 328 GTB. Therefore, you will be very unlikely to ever park this car next to another one at any Cars & Coffee or Ferrari event for that matter!
This car is rare, it is unique, it is unusual and we think it is very cool!
This car has just been serviced and it is ready for its next owner to use and enjoy.
- Rare Ferrari 328 GTS Koenig Special.
- Beautifully presented in the ‘right’ colour scheme.
- Well sorted example
- Ready to use and enjoy.
Apple, Coca-Cola, McDonalds and Nike are brands recognisable the world over. So is Ferrari and interestingly the iconic Italian luxury sports car manufacturer was named ‘The World’s Strongest Brand’ in the 2019 Brand Finance Global 500 Report.
Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 out of Alfa Romeo’s race division as Auto Avio Costruzioni the company built its first car in 1940. The Second World War halted Ferrari’s dream, which was finally realised in 1947, when the first car bearing his name, the Ferrari 125 S, was built. From that day on Ferrari race cars dominated the world over, winning race after race and many world championships in Formula One, sports car racing and endurance racing. Ferrari built exclusive sports cars for the road too, but in the early days, this was primarily to fund his motor racing!
The Cavallino Rampate or ‘prancing horse’ was the symbol chosen by Ferrari and like the ‘golden arches’ it is recognised by just about every man, woman and child on the planet!
The Ferrari road cars from the 1940’s and early to mid-1950’s were built in very small numbers and it was not until the introduction of the 250 series cars that production numbers increased. Almost 1,000 Ferrari 250 GTE’s were built from 1959 – 1963. The 250 series also produced some of the most special Ferraris ever built, including the Ferrari 250 LM, 250 SWB, 250 California Spider and of course the 250 GTO. The 250 series cars were superseded by the 275 series cars, the 330 series cars and later the 365 series cars. The nomenclature designated the cubic capacity of each cylinder. So a Ferrari 330 was powered by a 12 cylinder engine of 3967cc capacity.
Ferrari’s iconic Dino was first shown to the world as a prototype at the 1965 Paris Motor Show. The car morphed into the 206 GT of which only 150 cars were built from 1967 to 1969. In 1969 the 246 GT was released, which whilst a similar looking car in many ways was actually quite different. The car sat 3” taller than its predecessor and the body was now built from steel. Mechanically the ‘new car’ was powered by a 2418cc V6 engine. Enzo was keen to tackle Porsche head on and to do this he needed to increase production. The Dino was a hit and circa 4,000 of these cars (both the 246 GT and 246 GTS) were built from 1969 to 1974.
The Ferrari 308 GTB was introduced at the 1975 Paris Motor Show, essentially to replace the 246 Dino GT. The car was designed to fit between the top of the range 365 GT/4 Berlinetta Boxer and 2+2 308 GT/4. The car was released to critical acclaim and its sweeping Pininfarina design was admired by everyone who laid eyes on it. Originally the car was manufactured with a glass reinforced plastic (fibreglass) body to keep the weight down and it was powered by a three litre V8 engine with a dry sump. Only circa 800 fibreglass cars were built before Ferrari reverted to a more conventional steel body construction in 1977. Most markets also reverted to having a wet sump engine. In 1977 Ferrari introduced the 308 GTS, which was essentially the same car with a targa roof. The car was made famous through its appearance on the TV show Magnum PI. The model evolved into the 308 GTBi / 308 GTSi in 1980 when Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical fuel injection replaced the traditional Weber carburettors. Two years later the four valves per cylinder “Quattrovalvole” or “QV” was introduced. The 308 was an incredible success and circa 12,000 cars were built from 1975 to 1985 before the 328 was introduced.
The 328 GTB / GTS was essentially an updated version of the 308 with the same engine as its predecessor, but with an increased capacity of 3185 cc. The styling remained similar though its overall profile was somewhat ‘softer’ and the car featured colour coded front and rear bumpers. By mid-1988 ABS brakes were available and these cars were fitted with convex shaped wheels. Interestingly 328 GTS production out numbered 328 GTB production by a factor of five to one.
- Ferrari 328 GTS
- 48,625 miles