Ferrari’s V8: 348/F355
A model which got off to a somewhat rocky start, but would evolve into greatness. The 348 was also a Ferrari. That’s really about all there is to say about it. It was a car which made big improvements to how Ferrari’s sports cars were built, but still came up seriously short on power.
But the 348 would give birth to the F355, considered one of the greatest sports cars built by marque. The transition from 328 to 348 to F355 shows how hard Ferrari had to work to bring itself up after the success of the mid-eighties gave way to the slump of the early Nineties. As the car’s name implies, the 348 used a 3.4-liter V8.
Designated the Tipo F119, this engine was the latest evolution of Ferrari’s first V8. This produced 300 horsepower when the 348 debuted in 1989 and would get a bump up to 320 horsepower for a short time after some changes were made in 1993. The 348, like the Mondial t, used an F1-inspired setup for the engine and transmission.
The engine was longitudinally mounted while the transmission remained transverse mounted as it had been in earlier models. The engine had a dry-sump lubrication system, and the brakes were bigger than on the previous V8 and used ABS for the first time.
Styling was very obviously meant to mimic the bigger Testarossa, a car which had served Ferrari well for the preceding few years. The problem with this was, again, timing. The Testarossa had been a really excellent Eighties car.
It was terrific car in its own right as well, but it had been just thing for its decade, and would end up looking fairly dated by the early Nineties.
This was fine in the case of the Testarossa, it had a good long life of strong sales. But the 348 debuted in 1989, and with the Eighties drawing to a close, the styling looked dated almost immediately. The other, perhaps more subtle problem with the styling was how hard it was clearly trying.
CarBuzz | Tom Cooper | Elite.