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Ferrari 348: Buying guide and review (1989-1994)

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Following on from the Ferrari 308 and 328 was never going to be an easy task, but when the 348 was launched at the 1989 Frankfurt Auto Show it’s fair to say that Ferrari appeared to have hit the spot once more. Sure those side strakes were still loved and loathed in equal measure, just as they’d been on the Testarossa, but the 348 was sleek and distinctive, even if some felt that it already looked dated.
 
Then came the reviews and it all went downhill from there. Many journalists who drove the 348 were distinctly underwhelmed and it soon became clear that those early cars weren’t as great to drive as they should have been. But Ferrari wasn’t slow to act and it soon introduced a raft of improvements – and it would carry on developing the car throughout its life.
 
So while the 348 is one of those Ferraris that wasn’t highly regarded in period, as a semi-classic it’s now much more sought after. After all, few people buy a 348 now to push it to its limits – even when it was new, few owners would have driven their cars at more than seven-tenths. So don’t be fooled by all those reviews from the late eighties; try a 348 for yourself and make up your own mind.
 
Which one to buy?
 
When buying a 348 it’s essential that you buy one which has had all of the factory-issued updates; Ferrari was constantly bringing out tweaks and upgrades to improve things. That’s why it’s also worth going for the newest car you can find; later cars are significantly better (and better-built) than the earlier ones – especially if the latter hasn’t had a full complement of upgrades.
 
A lot of 348s were sold in the UK, but many have now been exported to Australia, so there aren’t many to choose from. The tb and Spider are the most popular, but any good ts will always find a buyer too. All you have to do is colour-code the roof and you’ve got the best of both worlds; a car that looks like a coupé, but you can remove the roof if you want.
 
While there weren’t many special editions, there was one intriguing model reserved purely for the American market – the 348 Serie Speciale. While it’s not that widely known about, this heavily revised car actually fixed many of the dynamic criticisms that were thrown at the 348, with some F40-inspired Kevlar seats to help spice things up. 
 
For something a little more unique, then there is the extremely rare (and brilliantly named) 348tb Elaborazione, built by Zagato. Extremely expensive to buy when new (around two and a half times the price of the standard car) just ten of these cars were produced, and come up for sale very occasionally today. 
 
Finally, be meticulous when checking a 348’s service history before buying – and don’t even consider a car that hasn’t got a full history proving that it’s been maintained by a well-respected marque specialist. Any car that’s not adhered to the factory service schedule and been used regularly is just asking for trouble. On that note don’t get too hung up on buying a car that’s done hardly any miles as you’re more likely to have problems with one of these than something which has been used regularly.
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 3405cc, V8
Power 300bhp @ 7200rpm
Torque 239lb ft @ 4200rpm
Top speed 171mph
0-62mph 5.4sec
Fuel consumption 18mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2450mm
Length 4230mm
Width 1892mm
Height 1168mm
Weight 1390kg
 
Common problems
 
• The 348 has an all-steel bodyshell and apart from signs of minor rust in the wheelarches and door bottoms, you shouldn’t expect any bodywork issues in terms of corrosion or poor panel fit, unless the car has been shunted. 

• The undertrays that smooth airflow underneath the car should be present and undamaged, so check that they are.

• Early 348 V8s could suffer from extensive chain tensioner wear in the lower drive system, along with failure of the inner support bearing for the cam-drive jack shaft. Both designs were updated but if buying an early car it’s worth investing in a professional inspection.

• The later 348 engine is very strong and very few cars have clocked up the kind of mileage that requires a rebuild. With most cars having done less than 50,000 miles, the chances of a rebuild being due are minimal, unless the car has been neglected.

• Early cars need a fresh cam belt every two years, but for later cars this became every three years or 24,000 miles.

• All 348s have a manual gearbox and clutches are weak; check for slipping or gear selection issues. Beware of a noisy gearbox, which suggests that the transfer gears have worn out. Repairs are very expensive.

• As is common with Ferraris of this era, don’t expect to be able to get second gear until the gearbox has fully warmed up; there’s plenty of torque available to go from first straight to third.

• Clutches tend to last just 10-15,000 miles. Some cars have a single-plate clutch, but later cars have a multi-plate item which costs twice as much to replace.

• The platforms that hold the suspension springs in place can crack, allowing the springs to slide down the dampers.

• The 348 features an electronic climate control system which plays up. The ECU at the heart of it is usually the culprit and replacements aren’t available. It’s the soldered joints that usually cause problems, so repairs are possible, but specialised.
 
Model history
 
1989: The 348 is launched at the Frankfurt motor show, in coupé (tb) and Targa (ts) forms. Compared with the outgoing 328 there’s an extra 210cc and 30bhp (now 300bhp) from the all-alloy V8.
1993: There’s now a Spider (full convertible), aimed largely at the US market. The sills are painted black; later in the year the tb and ts get the same treatment when they’re renamed GTB and GTS. There’s also a new front spoiler, a revised interior and the V8 is boosted to 320bhp.
1994: Production of the GTB and GTS ends, but the Spider continues for a few months longer. Also, the run-out GTC (Competizione) is launched, with just 50 made. Each features revised wheels, suspension and some lightweight composite panels.
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.my348.com 
• www.ferrariownersclub.co.uk
• www.fcars.co.uk
• www.ferrariownersclub.org
• www.clubscuderia.co.uk
 
Summary and prices
 
In marque lore, the 348 languishes in a netherworld between used car status and classicdom. Purists moan that it lacks the aesthetic purity of the 328 it replaced, while others carp about its lack of dynamic ability compared with the 355 it spawned. Even company supremo Luca di Montezemolo went on record at the 360 launch, saying ‘Ferrari won’t be making any more mistakes like the 348’. It’s been on a losing streak since it broke cover in ’89.
 
With Ferrari 355 prices so strong, the slightly older 348 remains extremely good value to this day. The very cheapest examples start at £20,000, however these will be in need of significant restoration work, and realistically, £30,000 is your start point for good cars. Spend closer to £40,000, and you’ll end up with something significantly healthier, but the very best examples command in excess of £55,000.
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Last updated: 17th Jun 2016
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Ferrari 348 cars for sale

12 Search results
Ferrari 348
47990 102500 GBP
  • Lot 48

    1990 Ferrari 348 TS

    £55,000 - £60,000 est. £55,000 - £60,000 est.
    Leominster, Herefordshire, HR6 0DE
    Auction Date: 08 Dec 2016
    RESERVE PRICE
    • Engine size: 3.4
    Auction Date: 08 Dec 2016
    Brightwells
    01568 611122 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Ferrari 348 TS

    £49,995 £49,995

    Make: Ferrari Model: 348 TS First Registered: 01/03/1991 Mileage: 38,372 miles Previous Owners: 4 Engine: 3.4 ltr V8 Transmission: Manual Doors: 2 Seats: 2 Trim Colour: Crema Leather Carpet Colour: Red Paint Colour: Rosso Corsa MOT: TBA TAX: TBA HPI: Clear Warranty: 3 Months 5* Cover Included

    • Year: 1991
    • Mileage: 38372 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari 348 Spider Red '93

    €102,500(£91,389) €102,500(£91,389)

    Lowered price €110.000 -> €102.500 First time registered in 1997 The 348, badged 348 tb for the coupé ( Trasversale Berlinetta ) and 348 ts (Spider) for the targa versions, features a normally aspirated 3.4-litre version of the quad-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine. As with its predecessors, the model number was derived from this configuration, with the first two digits being the displacement and the third being the number of cylinders. The engine, which produced 300 hp (224 kW), was mounted longitudinally and coupled to a transverse manual gearbox, like the Mondial T with which the 348 shared many components. This was a significant change for Ferrari, with most previous small Ferraris using a transverse engine with longitudinal transmission. The "T" in the model name 348 tb and ts refers to the transverse position of the gearbox. Overall, 2,895 examples of the 348 tb and 4,230 of the 348 ts were produced. In late 1993 the 348 was revised, featuring subtle styling changes (front grille, rear chrome Cavallino and removable seat cushions) and more power, this time producing 312 bhp (U.S) and 320 hp (Euro) from the same 3.4-litre engine, with an improved engine management system

    • Year: 1997
    For sale
  • Ferrari 348 TB Challenge (1992).

    POA POA

    In 1993 Ferrari launched the 348 Challenge racing series in Europe, a single series gentlemans cup. These cars were standard specification 348's, converted to Challenge spec by an official Ferrari dealer. The factory supplied a Challenge kit, which took 110 working hours to install. This kit included a full OMP rollcage, racing seats and harnesses. Also a fire extinguisher, additional cooling ducts for front and rear brakes, and 18" Speedline magnesium wheels were fitted. The ECU was upgraded to allow 7800 rpm and to deliver 320 bhp, and a lower gearing for 1st and 2nd gear was installed. It was a proper race car, with improved brakes and stiffened and lowered suspension. The example we have now on offer is quite a well known one. Delivered new by Garage Auvergne Moteurs, official Ferrari dealer in Beaumont (France), and immediately converted to Challenge specification for the first owner Mr. Christian Heinkele. He raced the car in the West Series of the 348 Challenge championship during three years, and with good results. In the first year (1993), Mr. Heinkele finished 11th, in 1994 he finished 5th and finally in 1995 he won the championship with his 348. After him, two successive

    • Year: 1992
    • Mileage: 45793 mi
    For sale
  • 1992 Ferrari 348 ts

    $59,500(£48,629.35) $59,500(£48,629.35)

    This 1992 Ferrari 348 ts is in the classic Rosso Corsa with Tan and has less than 28k miles. The 348, badged 348 ts (Targa) features a normally aspirated 3.4-litre version of the quad-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder V8 engine. As with its predecessors, the model number was derived from this configuration, with the first two digits being the displacement and the third being the number of cylinders. The engine, which produced 300 hp (224 kW), was mounted longitudinally and coupled to a transverse manual gearbox. This was a significant change for Ferrari, with most previous small Ferraris using a transverse engine with longitudinal transmission. The "T" in the model name 348 tb and ts refers to the transverse position of the gearbox. Overall 4,230 of the 348 ts were produced over a period of approx. four years. Power was bumped to 375HP at an impressive 8,250 rpm thanks to sophisticated mechanicals such as titanium rods, an 11:1 compression ratio, a Bosch Motornic M5.2 engine management system and a dry-sump oiling system. This car has been with the current owner since 2008. Sold new in California (believed to be Ferrari of Los Gatos) and has been a California car since new. The motor is

    • Year: 1992
    • Mileage: 27674 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari 348 3,4 Spider

    €64,200(£57,240.72) €64,200(£57,240.72)

    Ferrari 348 3,4 Spider Equipment: Ekstrem fin stand Bilen er hysterisk velholdt Servicebøger Værktøj etc ring for info prisen er ekskl reg afgift

    • Year: 1996
    For sale
  • Ferrari 348

    £47,990 £47,990

    Electric Windows Ferrari 348 TB 3.4 Quad-cam Four Valve-per-cylinder V8 5 Speed Manual First Registered in the UK May 2015 and Originally in Italy in June 1990, Finished in Rosso Corsa with Nero Leather Upholstery, Traversale Berlinetta, 17 Inch Silver Five Spoke Alloys, Electric Mirrors and Windows, Air Conditioning, Pop-Up Headlamps, Original Owner Pack Including User Manual and Service Book, Tool Kit, Dual-computer Engine Management using Twin Bosch Motronic ECUs, Double-Redundant Anti-lock Brakes, Self diagnosing Air Conditioning and Heating Systems, Extensive Service and Bodywork Refurbishment Carried out in June 2015 Including New Timing Belt and Tensioners, New Spark Plugs, Clutch and Brake Fluid, Air Filter and Coolant at Christian Lewis on 68,500KM, Fresh MOT. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome. Follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    • Mileage: 42600 mi
    • Engine size: 3405
    For sale
  • Ferrari 348

    £49,950 £49,950

    Electric Windows Ferrari 348 TB 3.4 V8 5 Speed Manual First Registered in the UK May 2015 and Originally in Italy in June 1990, Finished in Rosso Corsa with Nero Leather Upholstery, 17 Inch Silver Five Spoke Alloys, Electric Mirrors and Windows, Air Conditioning, Pop-Up Headlamps, Original Owner Pack Including User Manual and Service Book, Tool Kit. Extensive Service and Bodywork Refurbishment Carried out in June 2015 Including New Timing Belt and Tensioners, New Spark Plugs, Clutch and Brake Fluid, Air Filter and Coolant. 68,500KM, Fresh MOT. Finance available on request - subject to status and terms. Ask about our Company Directors packages. Fully Valeted; UK Wide Delivery Available; Part Exchange Welcome. Follow us on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

    • Mileage: 42600 mi
    • Engine size: 3405
    For sale
  • Ferrari 348 GTS RHD – 1 of 15 made

    POA POA

    Ferrari 348 GTS RHD, unique opportunity to buy this 2 owner Maranello supplied Ferrari in black with black hide. 1993, 38,000 miles, full service history, original unmolested GTS. Last owner bought this car from Maranello’s and owned it for 22 years. £78,995.

    • Year: 1993
    • Mileage: 38000 mi
    For sale
  • 1993 (K) FERRARI 348 TARGA ts 2dr

    £64,995 £64,995

    Prior to offering for sale, all cars are subject to the AMARI Inspection, a stringent 170 point investigation of the car cosmetically, electrically and mechanically. Our resident master technicians attend to all issues prior to offering the car for sale, using the very latest and best diagnostic equipment, state of the art tools and methods. Our highly qualified master technicians can carry out servicing on all road cars, from the standard family hatch back to the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin... We are the only independent dealer with full Ferrari SDX Diagnostics and the Lamborghini LARAS Diagnostics systems. Our fully equipped workshop enables us to attend to any electrical, and mechanical issues, from intricate electrical repairs and renewals, to brake disc Skimming and air conditioning recharging. Before collection all cars go through our exhaustive detailing process (can take up to three days) using only the worlds finest Swissvax products, carried out by our professional certified Swissvax trained technicians, covering every aspect of the car inside and out. Collection and delivery throughout the UK can be offered through the most reputable manufacturer championed company who use only the very latest covered car transporters with extensive experience of transporting cars across the world. Vehicles are supplied with a three month warranty *Exclusions Apply. We offer part exchange and finance facility on most cars. AMARI Lifestyle Limited T/As AMARI SuperCars is authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (663066)

    • Mileage: 39205 mi
    • Engine size: 3.4
    For sale
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