This week we take a ride from the bustling city streets of Bangkok to the winding rural roads just outside the capital in Chayanin Debhakam’s Ferrari 308 GTB.
In Thailand, just catching a glimpse of a Prancing Horse out of the stable is a rare occasion, but Chayanin’s choice to daily drive his Ferrari is what elevates his enthusiasm for the marque. Before you can see one in the wild though, the car needs to be brought in first, and sourcing a Ferrari in the BKK is an entirely different challenge for these buyers.
“The 308 GTB is the Ferrari that I grew up with and it was the first Ferrari I ever saw,” says Chayanin. When it came time to find a Ferrari of his own, he reached out to the president of the Ferrari Owners Club of Thailand, who was able to find the car that Chayanin now drives so often. “He finally found one and it was exactly what I was searching for.”
Once he had the Rosso-Corsa-on-crème GTB parked in his garage, Chayanin did some research and discovered the car was originally Fly Yellow over black leather—another victim to “resale red.” This is when his quest for perfection began, “I wanted to restore the car back to the original factory standard.”
Using some extra workspace at his office, Chayanin (with repair manual in hand) got to work. Singlehandedly tackling this project would have been tremendous, but Chayanin fortunately has a group of enthusiast friends who brought their individual talents to the table. Chayanin humbly admits, “Some of them have different skills than me. I don’t know everything [and] cannot do everything myself, so having extra help and knowledge is great.”
In recent years, tracking down correct 308 parts has become quite the task, but Chayanin was unwavering in achieving his vision, stating that his ultimate goal was to have it drive and feel as it did when it left the factory. His obsession to return the car back to factory spec went as far as buying a new old stock (NOS) exhaust system to ensure the Italian eight-cylinder audio system was accurate. Finally refinished in flashy Fly Yellow with beautifully stitched black hide inside, Chayanin’s 308 GTB is back to the way Maranello intended it to be.
For many, pouring so much time and money into such a serious project would make driving the car an overly cautious event only to be indulged on occasion and only under ideal circumstances. But, as you can see in the film, Chayanin has no problem revving-out his favorite Ferrari, getting tail happy in the empty forest-lined roads—after all, it is his everyday 308.
Also published on Medium.