Featured: Why Have We Been Ignoring The Ferrari 348 Challenge?

Why Have We Been Ignoring The Ferrari 348 Challenge?

By Ted Gushue
November 11, 2016
23 comments

Photography by Ted Gushue

When a buddy of yours picks up a new car, it’s a big deal. The second you get the call, you head over to their house to inspect the goods. Kick the tires. Flex its muscles. The other day, my pal Matt Ivanhoe picked up a really special car from our friends at RM Auctions just around the corner from our offices in Culver City. Naturally, I made him wake up at the crack of dawn the next morning, drive to Malibu to photograph it, and hear a bit about the story behind the often overlooked 348 Challenge.

Ted Gushue: How does this car fit into the Challenge series?

Matthew Ivanhoe: The Challenge was, as many great car stories are, borne out of desperation. Ferrari was trying to bolster sales during a very tumultuous time in their history, so they turned to racing to energize the fan base. Cash flow was waning at Ferrari, and they needed to move 348s quickly, whilst building enthusiasm for the brand. It wasn’t like how Ferrari is today, where there are guys waiting years and years just to get a basic car. They created a limited production vehicle that was designed for the purpose of a gentleman’s race series. That’s how the 348 Challenge came to be. It spawned the Challenge series, which is still around today, and was the first of the limited production mid-engined V8 Ferrari models, along with the 348 Serie Speciale.

TG: What is the take on normal 348s vs this car? I know that when we drove the car together, you explained that the actual driving experience of a non-Challenge 348 is pretty rubbish by comparison.

MI: Oh yeah. The driving experience, it is, indeed, completely different than a regular 348 because the car itself is dramatically different from a regular 348. You have different suspension, different power, lighter weight. Everything was a little bit better about it and a little bit more evolved. It righted a lot of wrongs with the 348.

TG: Was it borrowing heavily from what would be the 355 parts bin?

MI: It was a test bed for what ultimately became the 355. In essence, they changed many things on the regular 348  for the 348 Challenge that ultimately carried over into the 355. It was a proving ground, and it fixed a lot of the regular 348’s weird diabolical handling characteristics and just made it an absolute pleasure to drive.

TG: Where do you think the market on 348s and Challenge Cars is headed now?

MI: I think you would be hard pressed to find a modern Ferrari that was as universally overlooked for as long of a time as the 348 had been, until recently. I think the only other car which is as (or more) overlooked is the Mondial, which is kind of a shame for the 348. The 348 is an interesting car from a great period in car history. People have woken up to the fact that cars from this period represent the end of a hallowed age, being the last cars which can truly be enjoyed to the extent of their limits without needing electronic intervention or power assistance, and the demand for that has driven values up, including the 348. I think that’s been the case for the last year and a half. That said, even amongst these modern driver classics,  I still think the Challenge is an undiscovered gem. The prices and interest in the 348 Challenge cars have risen, but considering what the 348 Challenge represents in the history of modern Ferrari, I think it’s extremely undervalued. The 348 is the beginning of so many special things for Ferrari. It’s the granddaddy, it’s the start. Everything that came after, the 355 Serie Fiorano, the 360 Challenge Stradale, the 430 Scuderia, 458 Speciale, all of those are descendants of the 348 Challenge. This car represents something very significant and as a result, I think we can say it’s a bit of an unpolished gem right now. It’s one that I think people will continue to enjoy and appreciate as the years go on.

TG: How are you enjoying owning it, so far?

MI: It is an absolutely fantastic car. Frankly, I was expecting to enjoy it. I wasn’t expecting to enjoy it as much as I am.

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Jason348CH
Jason348CH
5 years ago

Alot of people seem to be saying that there is virtually nothing different with the 348 Challenges from stock. As someone who currently owns one that raced in the series in 1995, let me set those people straight who are trying to set everyone else straight. The factory “pre-prepared” 348 Challenge cars has the 1994 348 / 355 rear suspension geometry changes incorporated into the rear subframe. Most other 348 Challenge cars that were assembled by the dealers from the factory supplied 348 Challenge race kits had the rear sub-frames updated if they were cars built pre to 1994.

The kits themselves came with roll cage, OMP seats and harnesses, OMP fire system, OMP 2″ harnesses, racing electrical disconnect, light-weight drilled pedals, suede steering wheel, different undertrays with integrated NACA brake ducts and brake ducting, fog light covers, etc…

Challenge rules also allowed for different (factory supplied) springs, revised factory supplied solid control arm bushings, revised factory supplied stabilizer bar bushings, revised fuel system to aid in fuel starvation during hard cornering, and a variety of other things to make the car a better performer.

Most cars that actually raced in the 348 Challenge series had most or all of these updates. Since some cars were later converted to street use, i’m sure certain things that were installed for racing were removed to make the car more docile on the street. So odds are the spec of most 348 Challenge cars as they exist today are probably varied.

Hope this info helps clear-up any confusion about the 348 Challenge in general.

I can’t comment on this car in particular, but it sounds like a previous owner gave an update on what spec the car was in under his stewardship. Who knows if subsequent owners made further changes…

malex
malex
5 years ago
Reply to  Jason348CH

Jason348CH –

I commented previously as I owned the car from 2008 until 2014. My understanding is that your’re correct about the rear geometry. Oddly enough I learned this after I had sold car to a friend. He did some research and gave me some of the back story. So I’ll concede that this is an important differentiator between the Challenge and non-Challenge 348’s.

But I stand by everything else I said specific to the car that I previously owned, which was a “factory” Challenge car and showed zero evidence of ever having been raced. The car in question was originally purchased by an anesthesiologist from Ferrari of Houston. There was no evidence that the Challenge kit was purchased with the car (it was a delete “option” from Ferrari). By the time I bought the car, the only evidence of installed Challenge parts was the steering wheel, brake and clutch pedal, 348 Challenge script on the rear lid, and the roll cage and harness mounting points (including grommeted holes, carpet cutouts and mounting point cutout covers near the rear window). That’s it. I had no way to know whether some of the parts that were on the car when I bought it (e.g. steering wheel, clutch and brake pedal) were original to the car as sold by FofH or added later by the original or subsequent owner(s).

After I purchased the car, my original goal had been to acquire and install all the original Challenge parts for the car, though this proved near impossible for some parts (as they’re all but unobtainium) – or prohibitively expensive.

I do know nearly all of the subsequent changes after it passed out of my hands, most of which was powder coating then installation of the roll cage (that I had acquired), installation of the OEM OMP seats (that I had acquired), rear tow hook installation, and some cosmetic work (repaint of some early body work on the passenger door, change color of Speedline wheels from silver (their color when I bought them) to current gold/bronze color).

MJ348
MJ348
5 years ago

Great that the new owner is so enthusiastic about the long-overlooked 348, with glowing words. However, they might do well to review the history of the 348 series on a closer level as a new owner. The standard variety 348s and Challenge, rather than being quite different in multiple major aspects as the new owner describes, are in fact very close if not identical to the standard. The major point of separation being the inclusion (or deletion) of race safety equip in support of on-track use in the series at the time. No lightweight body components, no additional power, no revised mechanical suspension geometry against the alternate non-Challenge car. In fact, many if not most of the race series participants were standard cars outfitted with the additional equipment through the dealership network. As it were, the far greater difference in drive exists between a 348 that is well set up and dialed in for chassis geometry, alignment, and drivetrain mechanicals, and a 348 that is not. They are sharp, sensitive cars, which is why they translate well and directly to the race series use, not coincidentally as the last of the raw old-school Ferraris, spawning the subsequent lineage and evolution through 355 Challenge, 360 Challenge, 430 Scuderia… It is a significant car in nameplate only, on a last-of platform, rather than mechanical differentiation.

malex
malex
6 years ago

Let’s set some of the record straight, particularly with some of the article’s hyperbole. The car was originally sold by Ferrari of Houston to a doctor in the area. I owned the car from 2008 through 2014 after having purchased it from Steve Barney at Sport Auto in NC. I sold it 6 yrs later to a friend of mine in CO, who held the car for 2 yrs before selling it to RM.

When I bought the car, the only things identifying it as a Challenge car were the Challenge script on the engine lid, drilled brake and clutch pedals (I added the Challenge accelerator pedal after I bought the car), welded mounting points for roll cage and harness (including carpet cutouts, and cutouts and cover plates to the panel behind the seats). It also came with the suede Challenge steering wheel. That’s basically it. It didn’t come with the Challenge i.d. plate, as do the Serie Speciale cars. That said, my understanding is that this wasn’t unusual as many of these plates were held up at FofNA and didn’t make it to the dealers for installation before the cars were sold.

To the best of my knowledge the car was not delivered with the full Challenge kit (which was an option “delete” for the Challenge cars). During my ownership, I procured the OMP “Challenge” seats, Speedline “Challenge” wheels, front light covers, and front tow hook. The tow hook is actually from a 360 Challenge where I had a new shaft machined to accommodate the different thread pattern. I had the seats recovered in leather to match the interior. The suspension was lowered 0.75″ with H&R springs and the rear shocks were rebuilt by Delta Vee. Otherwise, it’s a stock, late model 348tb suspension though I did have it aligned to Challenge specs. Shields, the rear tow hook (an OEM 348/355 Challenge part), and change of wheel color from silver to gold were done by the next owner (along with a major and some other work).

In my opinion, the power is no different than other late model 348’s, though I did notice that the ECU allowed the engine to rev higher than typical 348 redline. I had the car dyno’d by Bradan back in 2011(2012?) and while the engine made good power and in line with expectations, there was no discernible difference between it and any other well-running 348tb. I posted the results of the dyno test several years ago on FerrariChat.

I don’t believe the car was any lighter than a normal 348tb when I first bought it. The later addition of the Challenge seats and wheels helped, though offset by the partial roll cage install.

The car handles fantastically and is very dialed-in. Other than a dead battery and a distorted rear Challenge wheel, it always started immediately and operated flawlessly while I owned it. But the 348 Challenge cars seem to have become a bit of a “fish” story, growing in myth and seeming “uniqueness” with the passing from one owner to another. I’m not trying to rain on anyone’s parade. Just providing the facts during the period in which I was caretaker. Others have already commented on how the article’s assertion that the 348 Challenge was so markedly different than other late model 348tb’s simply isn’t the case. The fact that the car isn’t markedly different than a late model 348 is at least part of the rationale as to why I sold the car – though I’ve since had seller’s remorse as it’s a very nice, dialed-in car.

Odd Goderstad
Odd Goderstad
6 years ago

Yes,the 348 has been ignored, and ridiculed, mostly because of LdM’s comments. Those comments was borne out of his need to kick the Ferrari organisation in the butt, and it has hurt the 348. For me, it is the perfect ferrari, after e few mods (New Sparco Alcantara Seats, and a Sparco deep dish steeringwheel, with spacer) to get a beter driving position. The steering feel is unbelivable, redefines perfect! Mine is a ’93 model, and the handling is just perfect. I have been driving a a few hundred laps on track, and the only issue I have had is some brake overheating. I like to wrench my cars, and the 348 is not to complicated. I have had it for 4 years, and I do not have any plans to sell it.

JB21
JB21
6 years ago

I begged and begged, and finally borrowed one from a girlfriend’s father who bought it purely for investment. He already had Testarossa, and added this one in the garage. We took it out for one weekend drive, during which I realized that it was incredibly unstable on a mountain pass, but that was alright. It rode like hell, too, bouncing around and, but that was alright, too, after all, it was early 90s and we were in red Ferrari. Then it started raining. The passenger side window refused to go up, so my girlfriend was getting rained on, and the targa roof started to leak, and there was a leak from the lower edge of the windshield, then the defroster packed up, and it started to overheat in the traffic, CEL came on and there’s smoke bellowing out the back, and the gear change got sticky, and even though we were supposed to have it for the weekend, we just drove back as carefully as possible to his garage, and just left it there. I absolutely hated that thing the experience, every single bit of it. It is the car that broke my Ferrari dream. It still looks sweet though.

Tifosi458
Tifosi458
6 years ago
Reply to  JB21

Sounds like your girlfriends father is great at investing, but poor at maintaining. All of those issues are a result of failure to maintain or neglect on a quarter century old Italian
exotic.

JB21
JB21
6 years ago
Reply to  Tifosi458

You know, I wouldn’t put it like that. The car only had 1500 miles or so on it. It was an absolute pile of shit, and no matter how you put it, in the world where NSX already existed, that was pretty unacceptable.

Pete Iveson
Pete Iveson
6 years ago
Reply to  JB21

And yet I have owned a 348 for about 7 years. It’s never broken down, windows both work, gear linkage is slick, leaks no more than any other targa from the period, isn’t unstable at high speed or in the corners (decent tyres and a good geo setup, I’ve had her up to 160mph on a runway and she’s totally stable) and she’s now a 23 year old car. I do some maintenance myself as do many owners, one of the joys of owning an older Ferrari vs a newer, but how on earth can you square all that happening to you in one drive vs me not experiencing any of it with a well maintained example over 7 years and thousands of miles?

F40nut
F40nut
6 years ago
Reply to  JB21

The NSX was not in existence when the 348 made its debut, and while being a great car, game-changing even, they are quite different in approach and especially result. A close friend has a beautiful argento ’92 NSX in his collection, the yin to my ’92 348 yang with only a literal scant few miles difference between the two odometers. There is absolutely no doubt that his NSX is the much more friendly and comfortable and well-assembled car. It is much more driveable in traffic, or in any situation where the focus and purpose is not on “I want to DRIVE.” Everything about it is much lighter in weight and feel, not much different from other 90s through modern day japanese manual cars, and very friendly to drive. As a new car in an evolving market at the time that was demanding more accessible and friendly controls, as well as sophisticated appointments, the 348 was certainly left behind in that regard. However, that was not the point of the car, as an exotic, and especially comes to light now that these cars are becoming classics, and judged by their ability to provide a sense of occasion and visceral experience, over commuting to a destination, which the 348 provides in huge abundance over the NSX or any other market competitor of that time.

One of the publications at the time concluded, with great relevance to them as metrics today as classics, that the NSX was the better ‘car’, but the 348 the better exotic. I vehemently agree based off of quite a bit of first-hand comparison behind the wheel. One is like listening to an album on your home stereo, whereas the other is like being in the front row at a rock concert. I can fix a broken switch, I cannot alter the fundamental nature of a car’s DNA.

Pete Iveson
Pete Iveson
6 years ago

They did. The major improvements were made by Ferrari and were on the production line after Nov ’91. Basically weight distribution and major suspension changes which sorted out the handling for ’92 cars and after. What Michelotto did was work on the under car aero which is what makes a 355 so good at high speed. It was a generational thing – no road car before the 355 had this and the 348 GT LM was the perfect test bed for it. The 348 was also the test bed or ‘mule’ for the Enzo as well – 3 cars were converted to carry the V12. It is a very adaptable and ‘tuneable’ platform.
Just as an aside, Car and Driver are credited with being the first publication to slate the 348’s handling when they tested one along side an NSX which they sang the praises of. What wasn’t mentioned in the peice and is not widely known is that during the test they actually crashed the NSX – lost it in a corner, spun off and hit a rock. Now you can read into that whatever you like but anyone thinking Car and Driver didn’t go into the test with an agenda or conducted a objective test is kidding themselves.
Last point, over here in the UK FOC hillclimb one of the twistiest climbs they do has the record held jointly by 2 cars – a 430 Scuderia (they haven’t raced there since the Specile was released and not sure any have competed yet) and a bog standard 348 TS. For a car with ‘dodgy’ handling beating every 355, 360, CS, 430, 550 etc which has gone up the run over the years isn’t bad. In the right hands they handle just fine. Sadly those hands aren’t mine – you need serious talent!

Pete Iveson
Pete Iveson
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete Iveson

‘Speciale’ not whatever I put!

F40nut
F40nut
6 years ago

The Ferrari 348 made its debut in September 1989 at the Frankfurt Auto Show to positive review, as Road & Track magazine described, “to many, it was Best in Show.” In a later 1991 comparison against the NSX, Road & Track inquired, “Has Honda bettered Ferrari?” The magazine concluded the Ferrari 348 was “the better exotic” and would later name it “one of the ten best cars in the world.” Auto journalists described the 348 as, “something quite special,” and the engine being the formative element in defining the car’s character, rising in an, “operatic crescendo,” having the, “power to raise goose bumps as Pavarotti climbing to that note in Nessun Dorma.”[10]

Gavin Green reviewed the 348 against contemporaries in Car Magazine, Oct 1990: “There is nothing like it. It communicates so richly, involves you so completely. And, when you have finished driving it – cocooned in that exquisite cockpit – you can get out and feast your eyes on one of the loveliest cars ever designed.”[11]

LA Times staff writer Paul Dean described the car in July 1990: “Ferrari builds motor cars in much the same way Claude Monet painted landscapes—not to please the populace, but more to satisfy self, a technique and a coterie,” with the 348 as a “better looking, stronger, faster” successor to the “enormously successful” 308/328 series, and “thoroughly irresistible.” Revising the longitudinal V8 layout in the way of the 288 GTO and F40, with a dry sump and transversely mounted “new gearbox and transmission (actually a carry-over from a Ferrari Formula 1 racing car),” the center of gravity is lower “by about 2 inches. Ergo flatter handling, and better steering response.”[12]

Autocar Magazine featured a comparison of the 348tb, Honda NSX, Porsche 911 Turbo, and Lotus Esprit in the July 1993 article, “Lord of the Fliers,” by Stephen Sutcliffe. Through the road test that extended from Paris to Le Mans, the 348 was lauded for its styling and presence, “Crawling out of Paris in the thick of the densest French traffic jam any of us can ever recall, three things about our convoy were already becoming apparent. The First – how much more attention and affection the French public had in reserve for the Ferrari – was perhaps predictable, especially since the 348 had already blown the others into the water at Dover when it came to impressing the locals. Even so, the crowds that gathered like bees to honey wherever and whenever we parked it, and the comparative lack of enthusiasm for the other three, still came as something of a shock.”[13] On the Le Mans race circuit, the 348s control and steering garnered praise over the NSX, “It’s the Honda’s body control and its meaty yet beautifully positive steering that allows it to feel so natural through the Esses of Le Mans; both seem peerless. Until you try the Ferrari. In the 348 you’ve got the same degree of body control, the same iron tautness through the corners, but the steering – lighter than the Honda’s but with much more feedback – lifts it clear of even the mighty NSX at La Sarthe.”[13] Critique found the 348 difficult in traffic due to heavy steering and controls, though transformative on open road, “the further we traveled and the harder we drove in France, the more special, the more unique the Ferrari felt. We argued long and hard over which of the two made the best noise under full throttle, although no one disputed the fact that the NSX was more refined overall and had vastly superior gearchange. But ultimately this is as much the Honda’s problem as it is its strength. Because it is so well honed as an all-rounder, so easy to live with, it misses out on that last 10 per cent of pure, raw thoroughbred sports car appeal that makes the Ferrari such a deliciously rich experience. Partly it is the steering; the NSX’s is very good, the 348’s exquisite. And partly it is the extra sharpness of the Ferrari’s chassis, which is that crucial fraction more responsive to your inputs than not only the NSX but also any other supercar this side of £100,000 we can think of.”[13]

In a 2015 retrospective, EVO Magazine compared the 458 Italia against its 308, 348, F355, 360 and F430 ancestors, where Henry Catchpole noted the primary highlight of the day being the 348’s steering, describing it as, “instantly obvious this car has some of the best steering, possibly the best, that I have ever sat behind.” He expounded on the car’s analog character, describing the steering as, “coming alive in my hands. It literally starts wriggling around, talking excitedly about all the bumps in the road and sometimes making a bigger gesture as a camber attracts its attention. Despite the lack of assistance and the wheel’s relatively small diameter, it’s not heavy in any way, there’s just perfect weight and no slack to add to the constant communication.”[14]

Pete Iveson
Pete Iveson
6 years ago
Reply to  F40nut

Sadly can only give this one thumbs up. Have read all those articles, in fact included many in an article I wrote myself about the 348.

Christer Lundem
Christer Lundem
6 years ago

I always think the slaying of the 348 is funny. Mostly done by internet drivers that has never ever been close to the steering wheel of a Ferrari. The 348 is great in it´s own right. Much better drive than the praised 328 that came before it. This is an internet legend that must be put to sleep. I have a 348 TB with Challenge brakes, dampers, gearbox (lower top speed but who cares) and the tank moved to the front. This car is superb to drive, I would even put it in front of the F355. The F355 is faster but the mechanics are so much more fragile. Engine is bulletproof and the steering (no servo) is simply superb. The 348
time is now, what a bargain! Luca di Montezemolo, then chairman of Ferrari, needed that time to prove a point and it came at the 348s cost. Stop listening to rumors, drive it!

Pete Iveson
Pete Iveson
6 years ago

You are more than a tad misinformed – it was not ‘universally panned’ at launch, in fact it was best in show and most early reviews sang the car’s praises. What did happen was LdM publically panned the car for his own reasons in ’91, none of which were to do with the 348, and the motoring press latched onto it. If you don’t know the history of this go read up on it. After that point many motor journalists panned the car but very few did before.
The handling issues had nothing to do with chassis design (the 355 is built on the same chassis), it was to do with weight distribution and suspension setup. Both issues were sorted on the standard cars as well as the Challenges and many owners of the early cars have made the same improvements. The Challenge cars handled pretty much the same as the only difference in weight distribution was a slightly lighter exhaust – the seats weighing less didn’t effect it as they are over the CofG.
I love Petrolicious but the irony of this article is that far from saying how much better a Challenge is to a standard car, that car is to all intents and purposes more or less a standard 348. The new owner is simply experiencing a later model 348, quite possibly for the first time at a guess. In fact that particular car was a standard TB prior to having the Challenge kit installed. The kit does not increase the power, significantly change weight distribution, significantly lighten the car (once roll cage is installed).
A great car though.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago

Nope ! A misbehaving young pup only becomes an obstinate old dog as it ages .

Pete Iveson
Pete Iveson
6 years ago

Great that the new owner of this fantastic car is enjoying it so much, it’s a truly great car to drive. But please just check up on a few points before saying it’s substantially different to a stock 348 because it simply isn’t – all later cars ate this good. It doesn’t have more power (all later cars were 320bhp) the suspension changes were to all models. The car itself isn’t lighter, only the seats are. In fact the only differences are the Challenge exhaust, the brakes, a small change to the fuel system to stop fuel starvation when cornering and safety equipment.
My point? Yes this is a great car to drive. But it’s not a great car to drive because it’s different to a later model 348, it’s not. All later model 348s are this good.
And the test bed for the 355 wasn’t the 348 Challenge. It was the Michelotto 348 CSAI-GT and GTC LM where the under car aero was developed. Everything else on the 348 Challenge is on a standard later model 348.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete Iveson

Thanks for saving me the time and effort to post the same !

John Montesi
John Montesi
6 years ago

Flying. Buttresses. Also, it always strikes me how many fewer miles Ferraris have than their contemporary German competitors.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger
6 years ago
Reply to  John Montesi

Fewer miles is an understatement . Shorter ownership terms as well for the most part [ average Ferrari ownership is less than 16 months from point of purchase .. which when put in to perspective when considering loyal long term owner such as Mr Lange here and his dad .. really puts a point on it ] Why … is simple . 95% of all Ferrari buyers do so for window dressing and automotive jewelry …. whereas Porsche buyers for the most part … buy them … to DRIVE !

Pete Iveson
Pete Iveson
6 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

I’ll take it that your 16 months average ownership is accurate although that seems massively low. My guess though is that has to be the average length of ownership of a new Ferrari, not a classic. Why? Simple – if every Ferrari was sold on average every 16 months and was on the market for even a few months, given how many Ferraris there are, there would be 10s of thousands on the market at any one time. And there aren’t so this number can’t be anywhere close when talking of every Ferrari including classics. In fact owners of classic Ferraris tend to keep them for many years. When looking at this number (which I’m still assuming is legit) you have to also take into consideration that many owners of the new cars are flipping them for a new model each time, they’re not getting out of a Ferrari. There are plenty who owned a 458, went straight to a 458 Spider, then a Speciale, flipped that for a 488 and now have a 488 Spider on order. This isn’t uncommon, I know a few owners who have done exactly this. The loss of money through depreciation must be eye-watering ?.
As for driving the cars or not, some Ferraris are indeed kept as ‘garage queens’, it’s the nature of any exotic, but many are driven. 348s fall into both categories but when someone on a UK forum said that NSXs did double the miles of 348s I looked at the actual average mileage of every NSX on the UK market vs every 348. The difference was actually that your average NSX has done 3,000 miles more than your average 348. Bearing in mind we’re talking cars dating back to 1989 that’s not a whole lot of a difference.
Just be careful with sweeping statements such as the one you made above because when you dig down a bit you tend to find it’s not really true and certainly not when talking of the older cars such as the 348. It’s a little like the comment about the 348 being “universally panned” on launch – it simply wasn’t.

Christopher Gay
Christopher Gay
6 years ago
Reply to  Pete Iveson

A little off topic, but I’ll chime in nonetheless. A friend of mine had one of the first NSXs, worked it as a daily driver, and was recorded as having put more miles on his NSX than any other (recorded) in the world. I guess it ran flawlessly, despite chewing through tires like nobody’s business. As the story goes, years later a Porsche pulled alongside on a long stretch of highway and was gesturing at my friend. Assuming he wanted to race, the hammer came down and off they went. It turns out, the Porsche driver was trying to signal that my friend’s car was on fire. When he ultimately noticed the billowing smoke, he pulled off under an overpass and sadly watched the car melt in on itself into a heap of molten Acura. I guess it’s better to burn out than to fade away… (My my, hey hey.)