5-liter 288 Power..


             Ferrari had fitted the factory 288-GTO with sinuous aerodynamic body panels such that there is virtually no body surface that doesn’t consist of compound curves, and built roughly 220 288-GTOs.  This makes the 288 far rarer than, say, an F40, which many would consider the “ultimate” Ferrari turbo V8.  288’s are expensive and rare, and always have been.  However, once upon a time, Norwood Autocraft and a few other enterprising supercar builders discovered that you could convert a 308 to function as a 288.  This made a lot of sense, particularly if you had a 308 that had suffered a rear-end hit of some kind which would, in any case, require frame work and new body pieces.  Norwood built a special replacement rear section for the 308 space frame that incorporated the factory 288 stretch, and then fabricated jigs in order to simplify recreating the special add-on extended rear frame for future conversions.  In the meantime, Norwood “splashed” a set of Ferrari 288 body panels and pulled molds, and pretty soon you could buy special composite 288 body panels to convert your stretched 308 into what has to be one of the prettiest cars ever built.  In any event,  Norwood equipped John Sullivan’s 308 with genuine Ferrari 288-GTO body panels. 

            At this point, the problem for Sullivan and Norwood was what to do for a powerplant for the 288-conversion.

Anyone who goes to the trouble of making a 308 look and drive like a Ferrari GTO is not going to be satisfied with the relatively anemic power of a stock 308 powerplant when you consider that real 288s run special twin-turbo super-duty Ferrari 3.0 V8s with intercooled turbocharging that raised power output to an advertised 400 hp.  John Sullivan’s Norwood Autocraft “388” was fitted with a ZF transaxle as found in the Ford 351 V8-powered mid-engine De Tomaso Pantera.  You can pump up the volume severely on a Ferrari V8 and bolt on turbos and other good stuff to create real 288 or better horsepower.  In fact, 500 or more horsepower is readily obtainable from a Ferrari V8; Bob Norwood has engine dyno charts documenting super-high-output Ferrari V8 powerplants he’s constructed within striking range of 1000 horsepower.

In 1988, however, Norwood already owned the F-class record at Bonneville for F/GT and F/MS cars.  Norwood and Sullivan decided what there was to do was Go Big.  Norwood Autocraft installed a relatively exotic Can Am 302 CID small block approaching twice the displacement of a stock factory 2.9L V8—a nicely over-square engine with forced pistons and big-valve heads and a great cam which was the descendent of a high-output engine GM originally designed for Trans-America racing in the late 60’s and installed in a few hundred street Camaros in order to make the engine legal for TA racing.

Norwood removed the 302 from his series-winning 1984 Can Am racer, complete with Lucas timed fuel injection.  Subsequently, the Can Am engine was flogged to within an inch of its life on the dyno, driven on the streets of Dallas, Texas, and occasionally campaigned in car magazine top-speed shootouts.  In 1986 the car was trailered to Bonneville with the D-Class 302 and 25-percent larger 371 CID small-block that could be swapped on site to run in the C class.  In the end, the “388” was able to achieve a maximum199 mph speed with either the 302 or 371 engine.  Both engines ran well and the car managed to set a Land Speed Record.