First seen in prototype form in 1987, the Ferrari 348 entered production in 1989, replacing the immensely successful 328GTB/GTS. Mid-engined like its predecessor, the 348 differed by mounting its four-valves-per-cylinder, quad-cam V8 engine – now enlarged to 3.4 litres – longitudinally, enabling it to be positioned lower in the chassis. Another new departure was the transversely mounted five-speed gearbox – a spin-off from Ferrari’s contemporary Formula 1 technology – which enabled weight to be concentrated within the wheelbase, thereby further improving the already brilliant roadholding.
Initially typed ‘ts’ and ‘tb’ – trasversale berlinetta and trasversale spyder – the 348 reverted to Ferrari’s traditional GTB/GTS nomenclature part way through production. With its aerodynamic skirts, spoilers, minimal overhangs and distinctive gill slats feeding air to side-mounted radiators, the stocky 348 looked very much like a scaled-down Testarossa and, with around 300bhp on tap and a top speed of 170mph, gave little away in terms of outright performance to its larger, 12-cylinder sibling. Production ceased in 1994 after 8,745 348s of all types had been built.
This fabulous 348 was delivered new in the summer of 1993 to Garage Francorchamps in Belgium, and has since covered a mere 23,000 kilometres from new. The 348 is highly original, still wearing its first paint from new, and is offered with all tools, books, and three sets of keys. The 348 will be supplied with a Certificate of authenticity and Belgian title papers, and in March 2017 the car enjoyed a service including timing belts.
The 348 is the first of the modern era of mid-engined V8 Ferraris, and this beautiful example, finished in the classic combination of Rosso Corsa with a Crema leather interior, really is the best of the breed.