Replacing one of the most popular models ever, the Ferrari 348 took over the 308 / 328 lineage that stretches back to 1975. With its high standard of build quality, along with exceptional performance, the Ferrari 348 was a popular choice. Built in Berlinetta, Targa and Spider body styles, the 348 was produced for more than five years between 1989 and 1995. A mid-engined, rear wheel drive v8 powered, the Ferrari 348 was a 2-seat sports car. Several limited edition versions were also made. A factory homologation special was produced, the GT Competizione and in the US-market only Serie Speciale.
The Ferrari 348's achieved some notable success in the competition against the Porsche's impressive 911 RSR's. More than 9000 348's were produced by the time production ended in 1995, in an array of various guises which made the 348 one of the most commercially successful models in all of Ferrari's history.
A huge monumental departure from its V8-engined predecessors, the chassis on the Ferrari 348 featured a pressed steel chassis with tubular engine sub frame rather than the earlier 308 and 328 models that utilized a tubular steel chassis. The steel chassis was the first Ferrari to universally comply with global crash testing regulations.
Following a tradition that had begun in 1967 with the Dino 20 GT, the engine was mid-mounted for all smaller capacity production Ferrari's to feature this competition inspired layout. Though unlike the Dino's, 328's and 308's, the Ferrari 348 ad its engine dry sumped Tipo F119D 3.4-liter V8 engine placed longitudinally, like the Ferrari's 288 GTO and the F40.
Due to the 90 degree V8, the displacement was increased to 3405cc because of a bore and stroke of 85 x 75mm respectively. Not on tap at 7200rpm, the output was increased with 300bhp with compression being set at 10.4:1 and Bosch Motronic M2.5 fuel injection controlling both cylinder banks. Mounted on the rear of the engine, a transverse gearbox eliminated any rear end luggage room. This lack of space was compensated with extra space beneath the front lid.
Zero to sixty was achieved in only 5.5 seconds, with the top sped of 165 mph. Created by the famous Turinese styling house, the 348's body and interior were created through the partnership between Pininfarina and Ferrari. The five year old Testarossa was the influence behind the 348's body, along with the full width rear grills that covered the tail lights and the straked engine cooling ducts.
The body of the Ferrari 348 was extremely attractive with its all-steel body. Unfortunately the aluminum trunk and hood were the only downfalls. The Ferrari 348 was available in closed Berlinetta form like the 246, 308 and the 328, along with the Targa topped spider specs. Resembling the previous family of Ferrari's at that period, the interior of the 348 was similar though with a brand new and understated design.
All Ferrari 348 models were produced with dual-computer, double-redundant Anti-Lock Braking systems. All 348's were shipped with on-board self-diagnosing Air Conditioning and heating systems. Aftermarket options included Traction Control and Launch control that were available through Gemballa, among others. The list of options included a set of leather fitted luggage that was designed by the well-known Italian firm Schedoni, and metallic paint. Following its introduction at the Frankfurt Salon in September of 1989, the Ferrari 348 was ordered in great abundance throughout the globe.
While European variants of the Ferrari 348 needed to have lightbulbs placed into the dash to activate it, U.S. 348s had functioning on-board OBDI engine management systems.
During its production several updates were made, and these included different shock absorbers and mounting points, revised fuel injector systems and relocated batteries. Over 8,000 Ferrari 348's were produced during its production. After late 1993 both the TB and TS models were replaced.
The 348 was revised in this same year with additional power that now reached 312 bhp on the U.S. models and 320 bhp on European models while keeping the same 3.4 liter engine. Body-colored rather than black, the revised vehicles, the 348 GTB and GTS had a rear track that was now one inch wider due to addition of spacers and suspension geometry that was updated to greatly enhance its super-car-level handling, body control and ride. Phasing out the Mondial Cabriolet, the 348 Spider convertible model was also introduced this year.By Jessica Donaldson