Decoding the nameplates of the 1989 Ferrari mid-engined V8
The Ferrari 348 was the final mid-engined V8 Ferrari to be developed under the direction of Enzo Ferrari. Replacing the Ferrari 328, it was launched in 1989. The name shows how it had advanced over the 328 – instead of a 3.2-litre V8, it had a 3.4-litre V8. Hence, 348. Codenamed Type F119, launch cars produced 300 horsepower. The low-drag Pininfarina-designed body (it was overseen by Leonardo Fioravanti) helped deliver a big step in performance, and the engine could rev to almost 8,000rpm. In six years, Ferrari produced just under 9,000 348, of various iterations. Here, we decode the facts behind the names.
So now we’ve cracked 348, how about the rest of the name? Let’s start with 348 TS; here, ‘t’ means trasversale, referencing to the transverse gearbox mounted at the rear of the engine. ‘s’ is for spider – this was the open-top 348, with a targa top.
The 348 TB used the same engine, but was a closed hard-top coupé, rather than an open spider. This is signified by the ‘B’, which means berlinetta: the Italian word for sports coupe, or ‘little saloon’.
In 1993, Ferrari revealed a very special 348, the GT Competizione. This was a homologation special, limited to just 50 cars, in order to allow the car to race in the GT championships. It had lightweight body panels, special Speedline wheels and other competition-inspired features.
The revised 348 range was launched in 1993. These cars feature body-coloured engine cover and lower body skirts, revised front grille and other detailed engineering changes. Now producing 320 horsepower, the TS became GTS – Gran Turismo Spider.
The 348 TB was also renamed, becoming the 348 GTB. The new name reflected the car’s development as a high-performance GT car. All revised 348s also gained a stylish chrome Cavallino on the rear.
A full open-top Ferrari 348 Spider was also introduced with the revised model. Instead of a targa-style removable roof panel, the Spider featured a full folding soft-top roof, for the compete open-air experience. It was a popular model; more than 1,000 were built in two years.