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Today, the latest lightweight V8 mid-engined Ferrari is always an eagerly anticipated arrival. And in the world of collections, it makes for a great theme. However, long before the 360 Challenge Stradale and even its precursor, the 355 Challenge, an evolution of the road-going 348 GTB was needed for the new, one-make race series that was established in 1993. And it was then that the 348 GT Competizione and this exclusive series akin to the Porsche “RS” was born.
In order to comply with strict homologation requirements, a road going production run of 50 cars was completed featuring all changes made to the race cars to meet FIA regulations; 42 examples were built in left hand drive and just 8 in right hand drive. This makes a Competizione the rarest modern day production Ferrari. By following a diet that would later become the norm for lightweight limited run cars, 200Kgs was shaved off the GTB through extensive use of Carbon Fibre, Carbon Kevlar and through the extended removal of ‘luxuries’ standardly fitted to the 348 including the fitment of lightweight carpets and interior materials throughout. The brakes were derived from the F40, with larger discs and calipers. The suspension was modified, with competition-ready springs and dampers and new, stiffer rose-joints significantly improving feel and reducing play the ride. An improved steerirng rack and gear linkage was also introduced. The ride, drive and turn-in was transformed over the standard car. The unique wheels grow by an inch over the standard alloys, to the unique 18” Split-Rims, evocative of its bigger brother, the F40. At the same time the Competizione welcomed the very same seats (and gear knob) from its bigger F40 brother, the iconic red fabric Carbon Kevlar pieces. The doors, sills, front and rear bumpers were all replaced with composite Kevlar items and the rear window replaced with a Lexan piece. A lower final drive ratio was introduced along with a revised rear subframe.
The engine was left untouched bar the addition of a freer-flowing, more vocal exhaust system with a bespoke manifold. That said, the engine of the 348 was never the issue and certainly in shedding 200Kgs of weight, the 348 is transformed. The chassis improvements and the introduction of a rod-connection to the open-gated manual gearshift makes the experience all the more enjoyable. The rarest modern Ferrari, the 348 GT Competizione is the true origin of the V8 Special Series cars.
This example is #41 of 50 produced and is one of the eight right hand drive examples. Unique to the 348 GT Competizione is a piece of trim bespoke to each example; the steering wheel indicating the number out 50 examples produced. This example was supplied new to Mr Robson of Morpeth on 4th February 1995 through JCT600 Specialist cars. Mr Robson would keep the car for four years, passing to the second owner in 1999. The second owner would keep the car two years before trading it in to Graypaul Ferrari. The car would pass through Mr Ash, a number of records during his ownership are in the accompanying history file.
In 2005, the car was purchased by Nick Taylor, an experienced driver and well known in the Ferrari Owners Club of Great Britain. Taylor fielded this 348 GTC prominently and successfully between 2005 and 2011 at various Ferrari Owners Club hill climb events around the UK. From his ownership there is a wealth of documentation including his scrutineering certificates for circa 70 events entered. The car received meticulous maintenance throughout his ownership and the history file contains a wealth of records, invoices and services to this effect.
Most recently this example has been cared for by a highly regarded collector of the marque and used sparingly. It has been regularly serviced by marque specialists including the fresh major cambelt service. As such this example is ready to be used and enjoyed immediately, today showing 52,350 miles. The rarest modern Ferrari, the 348 GT Competizione benefits enormously from its 200Kg diet, a naturally aspirated V8 mated to an open-gated manual gearbox. A true homologation special, this is one of just 8 right hand drive examples produced and whilst often forgotten it should not be underestimated.