If you buy a ’90s Ferrari, your friends will think you’re an idiot, and generally shame you for spending too much money on the most greedy car of an already greedy decade. Nothing says poor judgement and ill-gotten gains like a 1990s Ferrari.
Old Ferraris like this live almost exclusively in air conditioned garages, getting a few free weekends a year to stretch their legs, chauffeuring their midlife crisis owners to a car show.
The 348 in particular is a terrible car to buy because the contemporary NSX, what with its more advanced design and more polished road manners, is less jarring on long drives, less difficult to drive fast, and less expensive to own. Compared to cars today, the 348 is slower than a new Porsche Boxster. Not even the Boxster S. The 348 is also about as heavy as a contemporary Volvo 240 station wagon.
Still, I can’t help but lust for the Ferrari.
It’s an old-school design, skittish, nervous, fatiguing to drive. Reviewers praised its completely manual steering as not only in comparison to its contemporary rivals, but to all of Ferrari’s V8 midengined cars. They said that it is uncomfortable to sit in and to drive for longer than a couple of hours.
It’s also gorgeous. The front overhang is too big and it has a fat waist with those ugly strakes, but it’s not even 14 feet long, it doesn’t have cliche’d round taillights and it has the beautiful curves of a neat, old Pininfarina design.
The 348 is a very poorly remembered Ferrari, for being replaced by the much-loved Ferrari 355 and for being beaten by the NSX, a car that is currently enjoying the warm glow of today’s Ayrton Senna-worship. I want to hear the Ferrari’s V8 wailing away, though, on some dark forested road, ideally one far, far away from any McMansions or car shows.
At least buying an maintaining an old Ferrari of any kind is so ruinously expensive that I’ll never really have to live with the pains of making this fantasy real.
Photo Credits: Jason V put up these pictures on his Flickr page, showing the 348 Challenge races at Mosport in 1994 and 1995.
If you share some curiosity for the Ferrari 348 and you want to read some reviews, here is a classic review from CAR Magazine in 1990 of the 348tb vs. a Porsche 911, an Esprit Turbo and an NSX.
Autocar tested the 348tb back in 1990, here.
CAR Magazine tested the updated 348 in 1993 against an updated Lotus Esprit, here.
And EVO Magazine tested the new 458 Italia against the 308, the 355, the 360, the 430, and the 348, here.
Jeremy Clarkson also tested the 348 back on Old Top Gear, here.