Ferrari's removable roof 328 GTS (along with the fixed roof 328 GTB) debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt Auto Show. While often considered the final evolution of the 308 series, the 328 was a substantially new car. Extremely high performance, incredible 308-derived Pininfarina styling, improved road holding, and greater comfort, ensured the 328's desirability. Ferrari's challenge was to consolidate market share gained through 1970s and early 80s by improving an icon without alienating its acolytes. The 328 easily became the most successful model in Ferrari's history to that time. It remains a highly sought after sports car almost two decades after its introduction.
Design Without hampering the magnificent balance of the 308 design, Pininfarina made significant though subtle changes to modernize the looks of the 328 and improve its aerodynamics. The designers smoothed out the 308's sharpness and produced in the 328 a lighter crispness of flatter planes and more integrated shapes. Though it appears slightly flatter and longer, giving the car an even lower appearance, the roof line of the 328 is basically the same as that of its ancestor and the 328 is almost half an inch taller than the 308qv. Contributing to the illusion is an optional body-color rear spoiler to guide air over the rear of the cabin.
The windshield, curved rear glass and rear quarter windows (featuring full louvered covers on the GTS versions) were unchanged from the 308. The GTS version also kept its vinyl-covered fiberglass roof section. The buttressed C-pillars connected the roof to the rear deck in a unifying sweep. The rear deck itself was given a cleaner look by combining all the vents into a single, large, slightly raised wraparound unit.
Behind the engine bay, the luggage compartment provided adequate space for light touring or shopping. Protected by a thick canvas and vinyl zippered cover, the luggage was accessed through the single rear deck lid.
Structure The 328 body was formed mostly from steel. The front hood was aluminum, the floorpan was fiberglass-sandwiched steel. Fiberglass was employed for the inner wheel arches, while strong ABS plastic was used for some louvers and valance panels. The adoption of galvanized steel to drastically retard corrosion was a key improvement.
Under its skin, the 328 chassis was an oval-section tube frame construction, offering race-car construction and rigidity, without a weight penalty. The exterior and structural design actually reduced the car's weight to an impressive 3165lbs for the GTS, substantially lower than their predecessors.
Drivetrain The 328 was designated a new model primarily because of changes to its engine. This second major development of the venerable 90° Ferrari V8, was the first to increase displacement, accomplished through increased bore and stroke.
Other changes included the replacement of shrunk-in cast iron and nikasil cylinder liners with shrunk-in aluminum/nikasil cylinder liners. A larger, redesigned oil cooler system was added to the larger, hotter engine and new spark plugs were also assigned. The Marelli Microplex single module ignition system was adopted. Intake camshafts were revised to complement throttle body and intake manifold changes. The piston casting was also new, helping to produce a compression ratio of 9.2:1. Efficiency and reliability were increased along with power and torque.
Much was retained from the three liter V8. Along with the block casting, the 308qv's four-valve per cylinder dual overhead camshafts and five main bearing crankshaft were kept. All engine components were balanced and matched. The free-flowing exhaust system of large diameter tubing was altered only by further changes to emission control requirements. The Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection and metering system, the best then available, continued from the 308. This helped ensure that the 328 had Ferrari's most trouble-free engine to that point.
Power was produced with full emission controls in place, a testament to Ferrari's development prowess. Even with its larger wheels and tires, the greater power and lower weight of the 328 rocketed it to 60 mph in well under six seconds, with a terminal speed of 150mph. The 328 was something of a rarity in being able to hit its redline in fifth gear, a further testament to its design and ability. The 328's driver knows the car's full potential is always available.
The close ratio, 5 speed transmission of the 328 was similar to that of the last 308, except for a shorter first gear. This helped to provide neck-snapping acceleration off the line, and more than made up for the torque lost to increased wheel diameter. The gears were connected to the shifter by rods, providing precise gear changes with the tactile 'click' Ferrari owners have long enjoyed. The unit was all synchromesh and received power from the engine via an unassisted single plate clutch. From the transmission, power was fed to the rear wheels through a limited slip differential and solid driveshafts with constant velocity joints.
Suspension The 328 suspension was the time-tested unequal-length dual wishbone design with coil springs over Koni shock absorbers. It featured standard front and rear anti-roll bars. In calibrating the suspension and making use of improved technology, Ferrari improved both ride and road holding. In high speed and track conditions especially, the 328 adhered to the asphalt noticeably better than its predecessor, particularly at the rear. A revision that evened front to rear weight balance helped with the road holding.
The brakes were large vented discs with twin piston calipers, actuated as in the 308 by a hydraulic system offered security through redundancy. Anti-Lock Braking, an option before 1988, became standard on the 328 and the suspension geometry was revised to further reduce squat and dive. Steering was by unassisted rack and pinion giving purity of feeling.
Changes to the wheels and tires contributed to the improved performance and subtle change in exterior appearance. The 308qv's wheels were of proprietary metric size. The 328 gained standard sized wheels with slightly greater dimensions of 16X7' in front and 16X8' at the rear. The stock tires were Goodyear NCT's, 205/55VR 16 in front and 225/50VR 16 at the rear. The size revision, combined with softer rubber compounds, helped achieve the overall improvements which benefit the car. The wheels were traditional Ferrari five-spoked stars shaped from cast alloy, tinted a dull brass color and, in cars with ABS, given convex centers.
Interior The interior of the 328 owed as much to Ferrari's 1984 GTO supercar as it did to the 308. The GTO was a homologated racing car derived from the 308 series. The GTO's interior was significantly different from the 308's, maintaining a hint of luxury mixed with the purposeful simplicity of a racing cockpit. The 328 benefited significantly from the development of the GTO's interior, gaining a simple modernity without sacrificing style.
The back-lit orange on black gauges of the GTO were installed into the 328 almost unchanged. The main instrument binnacle, seen through the anatomical Momo steering wheel, presented the driver with information from the large tachometer and speedometer with odometer and trip counter. Between these large round gauges were two smaller ones for coolant temperature and oil pressure. The binnacle facia was flat black. In the center of the broad dashboard, angled towards the driver, a rectangular pod held auxiliary gauges, above the center console dominated by the hallmark Ferrari steel shifter and polished gate. The 328 seats and doors were upholstered in leather. The inner doorskins were substantially redesigned to integrate a generous map pocket and arm rests.Source - Ferrari Considered the most reliable Ferrari by some enthusiasts, the Ferrari 328 GTB and 328 GTS were a subtle update to the previous 308 GTB QV and GTS QV. Incredibly popular, the Ferrari 328 was well received by the public and considered 'as close to a work of art as any modern car can be' according to England's Motor during a 1986 test. The GTB stood for Gran Turismo Berlinetta (coupe) body, and the GTS stood for Gran Turismo Spider (targa top). The final developments of the normally aspirated transverse V8 engine 2-seat series, the 328 stood for the total cubic capacity of the engine, 3.2 liters and 8 for the amount of cylinders. The 328 debuted at the 1985 Frankfurt Salon beside the Mondial 3.2 series. The previous 308 GTS had run for over eight years without any radical changes to the overall shape.
The 328 was a much softer version of its predecessor, especially in the profile. Now rounder, the 328 had a redesigned nose that was complemented by redesigned tail valance panel. Both the nose and the tail sections now had body color bumpers that were connected with the valance panels. The most obvious updates from the 308 was a new grill was added in the front and the rear. Creating a homogeneous family image, now all of the eight-cylinder cars in the range shared moderately unified front and rear aspects.
The front lid radiator exhaust air louvre was made larger while the exhaust air louvres behind the retractable headlight pods from the 308 series disappeared. Newly standard were new five spoke wheels with a concave shape. On the inside the trim had gone through a total overhaul that included new designs being added to the seat panel upholstery and stitching, updated door panels and pull and more modern switchgear. Optional on the 328 was air conditioning, a rear aerofoil, Pirelli P7 tires, metallic paint and leather headlining to the removable roof panel plus rear window surround.
The engine was mounted in unit with the all-synchromesh five-speed manual transmission assembly, like the 308 model, and to the rear of the engine's sump. The engine kept the Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection system, which achieved claimed power output of 270 bhp at 7000 rpm. The V8 engine increased in cc from 200cc to 3185cc. Horsepower jumped substantially to 260 hp in U.S. cars and 270 hp for European versions and performance was reflected in this update. The 328 GTS could achieve 0-60mph in just 5.6 seconds according to Car and Driver. A record 1.8 seconds faster than its GTS QV. Top speed was 153 mph.
Halfway through 1988 ABS was available as an option. To provide negative offset this necessitated a redesign, which meant that the road wheel design was updated to accommodate this change. A convex design replaced the original flat spoke 'stat' wheel in a style like 3.2 Mondial models.
European market 328 GTS models featured a tubular framework with a factory type reference F 106 MS 100. With front and rear anti roll bars, disc brakes were provided all round with independent suspension through wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers. Right and left hand drive was available in the numerous world market models produced.
A total of 7,400 Ferrari 328's were produced during its four-year lifespan before being replaced by the Ferrari 348 ts in 1989. The GTS production far outnumbered the GTB version nearly five to one. Unlike some models, most engine maintenance on the 328 can be performed without lowering the engine from the car. The 328 retailed from $58,400 to $62,500 in the U.S. and this price included a gas-guzzler tax.
Ferrari produced a unique home market 328 model from 1986 until 1989. Dubbed GTB Turbo and GTS Turbo the model could negate the tax concessions levied on cars with a displacement of more than 2-liters. The biggest changes were centered on a new engine. With displacement at 1991 cc with a bore and stroke of 66.8 mm x 71 mm, output peaked at 254 bhp at 6500 rpm. These new models used a IHI unit running at 15.2 psi of boost. The 328 Turbo's were capable of a top speed of 157 mph, and could achieve 0-60mph in less than 6 seconds. The NACA ducts found just in front of each rear wheelarch, redesigned engine covers and a ventilated rear bumper were the only obvious changes setting these turbo models from regular 328's.
Sources: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrari_328 http://www.supercarworld.com/cgi-bin/showgeneral.cgi?128 http://auto.howstuffworks.com/ferrari-308.htm http://www.dkeng.co.uk/ferrari-sales/323/Prestige_Cars/Ferrari_328_GTS.html By Jessica Donaldson
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