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

Ferrari 348: Buying guide and review (1989-1994) Classic and Performance Car
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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
45995 75995 GBP
  • Ferrari 348 TS

    POA POA

    1991 Ferrari 348 TS. Presented in Rosso Corsa with Crema leather and Bordeaux carpets. This car comes complete with the original service wallet, book back and tool kit. Also fitted with a sports exhaust, colour coded sills and roof panel. Maintained through The Ferrari Centre workshops for the last 18 years and supplied through ourselves to the current keeper. A fantastic example of an appreciating classic.

    • Year: 1991
    • Mileage: 53026 mi
    For sale
    POA POA
    The Ferrari Centre
    01622 759599 View contact number
  • Ferrari 348 TB

    POA POA

    1991 348 tb LHD Finished in Rossa Corsa with Crema hide 14,650 kilometres from new Introduced in 1991 the Ferrari 348 was the final mid-engined V8 model developed by Enzo Ferrari before his death. Featuring a new 3.4 litre version of the normally aspirated quad-cam, four-valve-per-cylinder V8 producing 300BHP. Imported into the UK last year from Italy, prior to which in January 2016 it was fully serviced by Ferrari main agent Cronos SCAR of Ragusa. This included a cam-belt change, attention to the clutch, an overhaul of the air conditioning system and a FOC safety recall on fuel pipes. An unmolested, ultra-low mileage example offered here in the rarer and more desirable berlinetta coupe form. These 348’s are really coming into their own and just look better with every passing year.

    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1995 Ferrari 348 Spider

    POA POA

    When the name Ferrari is mentioned, there are a few key cars that automatically come to mind. The 250 GTO, the Daytona, the Testarossa, the F40, the Enzo, all iconic Ferraris that have solidified their place in the history of the brand. On the other hand, going through the lineage of Ferrari there are a few cars that are overlooked and not given the credit they deserve. For example, the Dino was undervalued for quite some time but just within the last several years, they have caught the enthusiast’s eye, now doing significant figures on the auction block. Now let’s take into consideration the 348. No, they will not be worth $400k plus anytime in the near future but it does encompass elements that often go unrecognized. A large part of this is linked to when the 348 was first introduced in 1989 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The 348 was engineered with an entirely new platform than the 308 or 328. The steel tube chassis was replaced by a more rigid monocoque structure and steel tubular rear sub-frame. The wheel base was longer, the track was widened, it had larger brakes, and now had a 3.4L V8 power plant producing 300bhp which was mounted to a transposed 5-speed gearbox. The early ca

    • Year: 1995
    For sale
    POA POA
  • 1993 Ferrari 348TS Serie Speciale

    POA POA

    The Ferrari 348 ‘Serie Speciale’ was introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 1992, and was noticeably different from the other 348 Model Ferrari’s, drawing the attention of true enthusiasts. Production was very limited with only 100 cars leaving the factory delivered solely to the American market. As Ferrari looked for new ways to attract American buyers, the ‘Speciale’ provided for a revised version of a current platform, improving on issues highlighted by automotive magazine reviews and customers. The 348 ‘Speciale’ was quite possibly the beginning of Ferrari’s offerings of special edition variants and set the stage for such cars as the 355 Fiorano, 360 Challenge Stradale, 430 Scuderia, and 458 Speciale. The ‘Speciale’ had various improvements over the standard 348 model. Technically speaking, these upgrades include a more free-flowing exhaust, a shorter final drive ratio, a slightly wider (50mm) rear stance, and higher speed-rated Pirelli P Zero (z-rated) tires. Moving to the exterior, the improvements include a new front spoiler to improve aerodynamics, the removal of the grill around the taillights (making them more flush to the body), the addition of the prancing horse to

    • Year: 1993
    For sale
    POA POA
  • Ferrari 348 TS

    £47,995 £47,995

    1990 Ferrari 348 TS. Presented in Rosso Corsa with Crema leather and Bordeaux carpets. One of 261 UK RHD cars produced, still retaining the original non colour coded roof panel, tool kit and leather wallet. Complimented by colour coded sills and engine panel. A great example of a 2 seater, entry level Ferrari, in the ultimate colour combination.

    • Year: 1990
    • Mileage: 57882 mi
    For sale
    £47,995 £47,995
  • Ferrari 348 TS

    £59,995 £59,995

    Make: Ferrari Model: 348 TS First Registered: 14/04/1992 (J) Mileage: 32,781 Miles Previous Owners: 7 Engine: 3.4 Ltr Transmission: Manual Paint Colour: Rosso Corsa Trim Colour: Crema Leather Carpet Colour: Rosso Doors: 2 Seats: 2 MOT: 12 Months TAX: TBA HPI: Clear Warranty: 3 Month Cover Included - Upgrades Available

    • Year: 1992
    • Mileage: 32781 mi
    For sale
    £59,995 £59,995
  • Ferrari 348

    £54,990 £54,990

    Crema Hide, 17'' Alloy Wheels, Bordeaux Red Carpets, CD Player, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Alarm, Immobiliser We Offer For Sale This Stunning 348 TS Finished Rosso Corsa With Crema Hide. Original Hand book, Wallet And Tool Kit Are Present. Fantastic Specification Includes, Crema Hide, Bordeaux Carpets, Colour Coded Targa Roof, Air Conditioning, Climate Control, Alarm, Immobiliser, 17'' Alloy Wheels, Perelli P Zero Tyres, Right Hand Drive, Great Investment Opportunity. 2 seats, Rosso Corsa, Supplied By Graypaul Loughborough And Has Since Past Through The Hands Of Some Renowned Ferrari Specialists. Extensive Service History Including Clutch And Belt Replacements. The Belts Were Last Replaced By Rardley Motors In 2015 And Under 1500 Miles Ago. We Are A Family Run Business Specialising In Sports, Prestige And Performance Cars. Ideally Located On The Border Of Hampshire, Surrey And West Sussex. Our Showroom Is Situated A Stones Throw From The A3 And The London Waterloo To Portsmouth Train Line. All Vehicles Are HPI Checked And Come With A Comprehensive 6 Month Warranty Which Can Be Extended. We Offer Hire Purchase And PCP Finance Packages At Very Competitive Rates. Pleased To Be Approved Under The Hampshire Trading Standards 'Buy With Confidence' Scheme, Open Monday 09.00-19.00, Tuesday To Saturday 09.00-17.30 & Sundays 10.00-16.00.

    • Mileage: 46000 mi
    • Engine size: 3405
    For sale
    £54,990 £54,990
  • Ferrari 348 Spider US Cabriolet Red '94

    €65,950(£0) €65,950(£0)

    Lowered price from €72.500 -> €65.950 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 - Bosch Motronic 2.7, new

    • Year: 1994
    • Mileage: 28440 mi
    For sale
    €65,950(£0) €65,950(£0)
  • Ferrari 348 TB

    POA POA

    Ferrari 348 TB. 1991 2 private owners in total. 56.000 kms. Left hand drive Partial documented service history, but regularly serviced. Full engine rebuilt in 2011/12 – 6000kms ago with full photo-book to document the work. Plus new clutch, balanced flywheel, new cambelt and cambelt bearings (ILS). Good paint all around, with some light age related marks here and there. We have been told the paint it’s the original. 5000kms old tyres. 2 keys Service tool-kit Car and seats original covers. This car spent its entire life in the sunny Italy. A genuine and unmolested example. More than 30 hi-res pictures available for this car. € 52000

    • Year: 1991
    • Mileage: 56000 mi
    For sale
    POA POA