Introduced in 1989, the 348 was a major departure for Ferrari’s successful road-going, mid-engine series of sports cars and it replaced two of the most popular Ferrari models in history, the 308 and the 328. The new car featured a pressed-steel monocoque chassis that helped to reduce mass and, in the style of the legendary 288 GTO, it combined a transversely mounted gearbox coupled to a longitudinally mounted engine allowing for a very balanced and agile sports car.
Luca di Montezemolo described the Ferrari 348 as ’clearly the worst product Ferrari had developed for some time’. When a legend says that you can see why the Ferrari 348 is one of the most controversial Ferrari road cars around. Things weren’t always that way of course. In fact, when it was first released most journalists loved it. It competed with the NSX, 911 and Lotus Esprit and most magazines and testers chose it as the best of that talented bunch.
The biggest issue with the 348 was that its precarious “on-limit tail out widow making behavior”, and that kept buyers away (both then and now). That was not a rumor by the way. The car had a habit of wanting to put you into a hedge facing the wrong around if you got things wrong mid-corner. On the limit the car was not just tricky, it was vicious and that rightly so scared people.
However much Ferrari might have objected to negative verdicts at the time in public, in private it knew the car had problems and issued updates throughout its time in production to address them. The peak of the base range was the 348 GTB and it did a lot to fix the underlying issues with the platform (although it did very little to improve the 348s already bruised reputation amongst buyers).
This was the first Ferrari road car to get rid of the ageing space frame construction (think simple tubular steel frame with bodywork tacked on), replaced instead with a modern monocoque structure. The 348 was indeed stiffer and lighter. The 3.4-liter V8 engine was positioned on a subframe mounted ﬁve inches lower in the chassis than the engines in the 308 and 328, and it was longitudinal, too, with only its gearbox retaining the old transverse location. The 300 hp, 3.4 liter V8 engine was related to the one first seen in the 308 GT4 in 1974. Its power went through Ferrari’s last ﬁve-speed manual gearbox. The engine was great and had that ﬂat-plane- crank and sound and urgency at 7,000 rpm that we have come to love about modern Ferrari power plants.
The 348’s styling was the work of Leonardo Fioravanti at Pininfarina and is pure 80s slats and strakes at the back and sides. The rounder edges of the 348 worked well and the design was genuinely liked by people at the time.
The 348 was luxuriously equipped with air-conditioning and a multitude of power features, making it a much more civilized overall package than its predecessor. It was a watershed design for Ferrari who, for the first time, incorporated innovations learned from Formula One Grand Prix development programs into the basic attributes and configuration of production road cars, a technology that continues today in supercars like the current F430. The 348 also introduced the Ferrari Challenge Series that remains popular with enthusiasts.
Specs & Performance
Series Production Car
DOHC 4 Valves / Cyl
Bosch Motronic Fuel Injection
3405 cc / 207.8 in³
85.0 mm / 3.35 in
75.0 mm / 2.95 in
223.7 kw / 300.0 bhp @ 7000 rpm
88.11 bhp per litre
215.36 bhp per tonne
310.5 nm / 229.0 ft lbs @ 4000 rpm
body / frame
Mid Engine / RWD
Vented Discs w/Vacuum Assist & ABS
Vented Discs w/Vacuum Assist & ABS
F 43.2 x 19.0 cm / 17.0 x 7.5 in
R 43.2 x 22.9 cm / 17.0 x 9.0 in
Rack & Pinion
1393 kg / 3071 lbs
2450 mm / 96.5 in
1502 mm / 59.1 in
1578 mm / 62.1 in
4230 mm / 166.5 in
1894 mm / 74.6 in
1170 mm / 46.1 in
3.21:1, 2.11:1, 1.46:1, 1.09:1, 0.86:1
~275.2 kph / 171.0 mph
0 – 60 mph
0 – 100 mph
0 – 1/4 mile
We had fun looking for Ferrari 348 videos. We found a great one by the funny Doug Demuro as well as a video from MotorWeek Retro which was super cool. Enjoy the videos and let us know what you think.
1991 Ferrari 348 TB Berlinetta – sold for $79,200. The stunning 1991 348 TB Berlinetta offered here is an extraordinary time-capsule Ferrari that has covered less than 300 miles from new. An outstanding mid-engine sports car, it is finished in the beautiful combination of black paint with an unblemished Bordeaux leather interior. The car has barely been touched since it left the showroom almost two decades ago and has been in the care of fastidious collectors who took great lengths to preserve it. It is complete with its original factory books, tools, warranty card and leather owner’s folio.
In 2006, despite its limited use and showing a mere 135 miles, this 348 was treated to a major service and the crucial timing belt was replaced. To maintain its impressive operating condition, Ferrari of San Diego recently performed a tune and safety inspection. The current owner has also had the car carefully detailed to maintain its wonderful cosmetic condition.
This 348 is exceptionally original and pristine in every respect and is significant not only for its remarkable level of preservation but also for its status as a seminal transition car in the history of mid-engine Ferraris. This special 348 has only been shown once, at the Ferrari Concours d’Elegance in Reading, Pennsylvania, where it was judged as a 99-point car and awarded the prestigious and rarely achieved Platinum Award. This is a very rare opportunity to own an original condition, Platinum Award-winning Ferrari that has yet to achieve full recognition for its significant contribution to Ferrari’s history and will certainly provide a unique and rewarding ownership experience. Auction Source: 2011 Amelia Island Auction by Gooding & Company
1991 Ferrari 348TB Berlinetta – sold for $71,500. The stunning 1991 348TB Berlinetta offered here is an extraordinary time-capsule Ferrari that has covered less than 300 miles from new. This outstanding mid-engine sports car is finished in the beautiful combination of black paint with an unmarked Bordeaux leather interior. The car has been in the care of fastidious collectors who took great lengths to preserve it and it has barely been touched since it left the showroom almost two decades ago. This Ferrari is complete with all its original factory books, tools, warranty card and leather owner’s folio. Despite its limited use, it has recently received the extensive 30,000-mile service including timing belt replacement, to maintain its impressive operating condition and Ferrari of San Diego recently performed a tune-up and safety inspection. The current owner has also had the car carefully detailed to maintain its wonderful condition. A CARFAX report shows this car to have no issues whatsoever in its history.
This 348 is exceptionally original and pristine in every respect and is significant not only for its remarkable level of preservation but also for its status as a seminal transition car in the history of mid-engine Ferraris. This special 348 has only been shown once, at the Reading, Pennsylvania Ferrari Concours d’Elegance where it was judged as a 99-point car and awarded the prestigious and rarely achieved Platinum Award. This is a very rare opportunity to own an original-condition, Platinum Award-winning Ferrari that has yet to achieve full recognition for its significant contribution to Ferrari’s history and will certainly provide a unique and rewarding ownership experience. Auction Source: 2010 Gooding & Company Pebble Beach Auction