Q: You wrote about the affliction Porsche of all time, acquaint us what’s the affliction Ferrari? And amuse don’t say the Ferrari F50, because that would be absolutely dumb.—P. Smartly, Thousand Oaks, CA
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A: You’re right, it’s appetizing to cast the F50 for the turd that it is and banknote the check. It’s ugly, the carbon cilia anatomy is comatose and the 4.7-liter V12 was alone so-so. But any car with 513-horsepower aboard has that as a compensating virtue. That this comatose car was congenital as the almsman to the still-astonishing F40 is appalling. That it was advised to bless Ferrari’s 50th ceremony in 1995 is about criminal. But it’s around forgotten. Alone 349 were congenital and it didn’t stain Ferrari’s acceptability too badly.
The 1980 Mondial 8 and 1973 308 GT4 2 2 are additionally accessible choices. It’s never a acceptable abstraction to try and boost a four-seat cockpit into a abbreviate mid-engine car. It makes for awkward accommodation and compromised handling. But Mondials and GT4s are today amid the few actual affordable Ferraris—you can still aces up a acceptable one for beneath $40K if you attending hard. And I’m affably in favor of bargain Ferraris.
Any Ferrari with a Zagato anatomy is apprenticed to be atrocious. But none was worse than the 1967 330 GTC Zagato, which looked like it was advised by a dark man hacking at architecture cardboard with addled scissors. But there was alone one of those—built for Luigi Chinetti—so it’s alone a comment in Ferrari history. In fact, Zagato itself is appealing abundant a footnote.
There accept been a lot of ample Ferraris that were beneath than engaging. Cars like the 1992 456, which looked like an billowing Hyundai Tiburon, and the accepted Ferrari FF, which has achromatic abroad from the aggregate consciousness. I’ll let them accelerate artlessly because they were powered by V-12 engines and, really, no one cares about them.
Nope: The affliction Ferrari of all time is the anchored roof 348tb and its targa-topped adulterated brother, the 348ts.
Introduced during 1989, the 348 succeeded the ridiculously acknowledged 308/328 alternation that accustomed the mid-engine V8 Ferrari at the affection of Ferrari enthusiasm. It wasn’t decidedly bad looking, but it was boring. It dispensed with archetypal architecture elements like annular taillights in favor of slats—slats on the ancillary and slats on the back, until the accomplished car looked like it could be acclimated to atom some Monterey Jack.
The 17-inch auto were abominable attractive too. Flat five-spoke cafeteria slicer discs. Yawn. The interior? It was an ergonomic adversity that looked like the architecture had been larboard up to the administration apprentices at Samsonite.
It wasn’t that the 348 alone lacked the affecting ability every Ferrari should have, it was an angry administration allegation too. Let’s biking aback to the September 1990 affair of Car and Driver magazine and its five-way allegory of near-exotics . . . area the 348ts accomplished fourth out of five.
“Finally, there is the blamable handling,” wrote the abundant Patrick Bedard. “This car feels as if it had four-wheel steering—with the rears council in the amiss direction. Above 79 mph on twisting, bouncing blacktops, the rear gets antsy. Above 100 on such a road—particularly in a cross-wind—the car is difficult to authority in one lane.”
The 348 would accept fared alike worse if the ancient Lotus Esprit Turbo hadn’t been in the test. As it is, this was a Ferrari that absent to the Corvette ZR-1, Porsche’s 911 Carrera 4 Cabriolet and, of course, that angel of the 1990s, the Acura NSX.
If there’s a argent lining to the 348’s absolute hideousness, it’s that it had its ass kicked by the NSX. That aluminum Honda accepted to Ferrari that it wouldn’t be able to get abroad with applesauce like the 348 for abundant longer. So it askance bottomward and assiduously re-worked the 348 to actualize the ablaze (though agonizingly fragile) F355 for the 1995 archetypal year.
Since then, every afterwards mid-engine, V8-powered Ferrari has been bigger than the last. And anniversary of those cars was, for it’s time, the world’s best sports car. We affectionate of, array of, about owe all that to the shitty 348.
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