Magnum P.I. drove one, and so did Christie Brinkley, and now you, too, can get behind the wheel of a Ferrari 308 if you're the winning bidder on Minnesota's surplus auction website.
The exotic coupe is easily the priciest car for sale on Minnbid.org, which typically features high-mileage Ford Tauruses and rusty white vans left over from state government service.
So how did a cherry-red Italian performance machine end up on the auction block? A drunken-driving arrest in 2018 led to forfeiture. It was likely one of the most expensive drunken-driving arrests in state history if the value of the car is to be believed: Its owner, a 73-year-old Minnetonka man, testified in court that the car is worth $75,000, though it needs some repairs.
A spokesman for the Minnesota State Patrol confirmed that it arrested a driver in Burnsville near Hwy. 13 and Portland Avenue on Aug. 4, 2018. The stalled car was blocking an intersection, and when troopers arrived they found the driver smelled like alcohol and was slurring his speech. A breath test registered a 0.20% blood alcohol level. Due to a past drunken driving arrest, the driver had restrictions on his license.
The Ferrari was impounded and the owner was notified that the state intended to sell it. State law allows law enforcement to seize cars and other vehicles in certain cases, especially if the driver has a history of drunken driving convictions or has a blood alcohol level of 0.20% or higher at the time of the arrest, among other factors.
Attorney Jim Ventura represented the Ferrari owner in court as he attempted to get the car back.
"I just think the punishment is grossly disproportionate to the crime," Ventura said. The driver paid a fine of a few thousand dollars, but the car is likely worth 10 or 20 times that amount.
Ventura's arguments didn't persuade the state Court of Appeals, which ruled last year that seizing the Ferrari was within the state's authority.
"While [the owner's] interest in his Ferrari is admittedly great, so too is the government's interest in protecting the public," the judges concluded.
In 2018, law enforcement agencies across the state seized 3,640 vehicles in drunken driving arrests. Some were returned to owners; some were nearly worthless and junked. According to State Auditor's Office reports, agencies sold 1,511 vehicles seized from drunken drivers in 2018, grossing nearly $2.7 million.
None of the other vehicles currently up for auction comes close to matching the Ferrari's flamboyant swagger.
That's not surprising, said Ferrari owner Tom Boehland of Edina, who described the 308 as "just a 'Wow!' car."
The 308's affiliation with popular culture cemented the Ferrari brand in the American imagination, he said. "We had disco, bell bottoms and crappy cars in the '70s, but the Ferrari was the crème de la crème, you know?"
The forfeited 308's auction ends Tuesday at 10 a.m. Its highest bid as of Friday evening was $46,100.
Matt McKinney • 612-673-7329
Matt McKinney is a reporter on the Star Tribune’s state team. In 15 years at the Star Tribune, he has covered business, agriculture and crime.
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