After some seat time in the 348 (I have yet to actually drive it in any meaningful way), I’ve noticed some of the old-school mechanical purity that didn’t make it to the F355.

The light, indicator and wiper levers are delightfully thin and have a firm, deliberate action. I kept playing with these like a silly kid. They feel so serious compared to today’s thick, toy-like plastic multifunction stalks.

The gear lever is clunky like all gated shifters. There is an actual leather boot hiding under the open gate, saving your shifter hinge from dust and c00k!3 crumbs.


The 80s were button-heavy as the new era of electronics took hold. Everything in the 348's centre console is a separate button—even the climate “intake/circulate” modes are two separate buttons. Lock and Unlock are separate as well, same as my 355.

Having to buckle two separate seat belts was a novelty for me—I had never lived with those.

The Challenge cars were gentleman racers, and after the season ended most cars were converted to road use. Mechanical bits were upgraded, and there are cage mounting points in the cabin.
In pictures the 348 steering wheel looks plain and 80s-angular, but the real thing has subtle creases and other nice details including an embossed “348" logo. I am now a fan. Also, the thumb pads have horn buttons, making for a total of 3 horn buttons. The location of the third is an easy guess.
The engine’s tube frame is more primitive than that of its successor, the F355. Also primitive are the compact intake manifolds, which probably don’t have any form of airflow optimisation. No dual-mode shocks.
Horizontal strakes to the max. Only the last two years of 348s had the chrome horse—a welcome styling update over the invisible black one of earlier cars.

I hope to get a chance at driving it. It’s already a sensual feast sitting still.

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