The Ferrari 355 Challenge Sports Car

The Ferrari 355 Challenge – A close look at this classic sports car’s performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices.

From Classic to Modern:

THE CAR

The Ferrari 348 Challenge sports car was a race Series for amateur drivers, first established in 1993.

Ferrari offered an optional Challenge kit priced at $14,000 and, by using it, the original 348 could be transformed into the race version in the order of 60 man hours.

The 3.4 litre, V8 engine used in the Challenge Series, when converted, would develop an output of 320 bhp.

The 348 Challenge car’s last season was in 1995, which coincided with the launch of the 355 Challenge variant.

The Ferrari 355 Challenge car consisted of a basic 355 Berlinetta 3.5 litre coupe that had been modified using a Challenge kit costing $30,000, and supplied by Ferrari.

These kits first became available in 1996, and the conversion required 110 man hours to fully install. The early cars came with the roll cage mounting points already fitted by the factory.

Some of the components included in the Challenge kit included:

  • Racing – clutch, springs, slick tyres, steering wheel, and seats
  • Roll cage
  • Safety harness
  • Carbon fibre rear wing
  • Uprated 14 inch lightweight Brembo composite disc brakes with cooling ducts
  • 18 inch Speedline wheels
  • Safety engine cut-off switch
  • Lightweight exhaust system and front bumper
  • Modified steering rack

Between 1996 and 1997, the 355 Challenge cars came factory fitted with a steady increase in race parts until, in 1998, the final evolution variant was available as an almost complete factory assembled race car. However, some parts still needed to be added, such as the wings.

A total of 108 of the 355 Challenge cars were built, and fitted with six speed gearboxes, together with a plaque at the rear denoting “355 Challenge”.

A small number of right hand drive variants were exported to the UK where they were further modified into race trim.

It has been suggested that a handful of these cars have subsequently been converted into road-going variants.

COMPETITION

Typical competition for the Ferrari 355 Challenge were the following: Porsche 996 GT3, Nissan R390 GTI, and TVR Cerbera. Ferrari performance:

SPORTS CARS FOR SALE

Since a Ferrari 355 Challenge car is not easy to find, this will be reflected in the price. An excellent example would sell at auction within the range $70,000 to $90,000.

This is another of the classic cars from Ferrari.

This marks the end of my Review of the Ferrari 355 Challenge sports car.

The Ferrari 348 Challenge/Serie Speciale Sports Cars

The Ferrari 348 Challenge – A close look at this classic sports car’s performance, technical data, features, comparing rivals, history, used prices

from Classic to Modern

The Ferrari 348 Challenge

THE CAR

The 348 Challenge sports car from Ferrari was a single marque race Series, first set up in 1993, and aimed at amateur drivers. It was initially established in Europe and, within a year, had spread to the US.

Originally, the Series centred on converted 348 Serie Speciale cars, but this was later extended to any 348 from 1989 onwards that reached 348 SS specification.

In 1994, Ferrari introduced a limited edition of just 45 cars, consisting of 32×348 TB’s and 13×348 TS’s, targeted at the US market, that were designated the 348 Factory Challenge.

The Serie Speciale sports cars included sills that were painted the same colour as the rest of the car, and this feature was carried over to the Challenge Series.

These Challenge cars had road-going trim, and each received an individually numbered plate that was positioned on the right hand door frame.

They were fitted with upgraded engine control units, a large heat shield, and a less restrictive exhaust system, although there was a race version that utiised straight through pipes. also included were:

  • Points to clip on the harness
  • Mounting points for the anti-roll cage
  • aluminium pedals
  • Brake ducts beneath the car
  • Tow hooks at both ends of the car
  • Stiffer springs
  • Front and rear bumpers made of fibre glass
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel containing the “348” insignia

The cost of the optional Challenge kit from Ferrari was $14,000, and they indicated that, using this kit, it would take around 60 man hours to convert the original car to race trim.

The 3.4 litre, double overhead cam, V8 engine used in the Challenge Series would develop an increased 320 bhp.

The resulting racer would use slick tyres, and have an improved braking system, and upgraded aerodynamics.

The 1995 season was the last in which the 348 Challenge car would be entered in race meetings since, by that time, it had been superseded by the Ferrari 355 Challenge model.

The Ferrari 348 Serie Speciale

THE CAR

The Serie Speciale sports car from Ferrari referred to a limited edition of 100 modified versions of the 348 TB and TS that was built between 1992 and 1993, and targeted at the US market only.

Since the rear wheels used wider rims, then the rear track was increased by two inches. It was also fitted with:

  • Free flow exhaust system
  • Higher final drive
  • Front splitter
  • New front and rear grille
  • Alternative rear light assembly
  • Bumpers and rocker covers marching the colour of the car
  • Sports seats and door panels both covered in leather

Each sports car was individually numbered with a special plate positioned on the passenger’s door post.

Finally, in 1994, a further 15 units were built as a result of favourable demand.

THE ENGINE

The 348 Serie Speciale was powered by the same 3.4 litre, double overhead cam, V8 engine that was fitted to the original variants.

However, this unit was slightly modified, and developed 312 bhp at 7200 rpm, whilst still producing the same top speed, but with a marginal reduction in the 0-60 mph time of 5.3 secs.

COMPETITION

A cross section of competition for the 348 Challenge and Serie Speciale cars included: Corvette ZR1, Honda NSX, and Marcos LM500. Ferrari performance:

This marks the end of my Review of the Ferrari 348 Challenge and Serie Special sports cars

Converting Your Classic Mustang to Disc Brakes

As much as we all love our classic Mustangs I have to admit that I’ve become spoiled by modern power disc brakes. The old manual drum brakes of 40 years ago just don’t seem to cut it anymore. So, what choices do you have. There are certainly plenty of choices out there, everything from the big brake kits with huge rotors and multiple piston calipers to very straight forward “I just want my car to stop really well” brake conversions. But be sure of one thing! Not all kits are created equal!

Here are four hard and fast rules that you need to keep in mind when you are shopping for a brake conversion:

1. If you have to change your spindles, look elsewhere.

2. If you have to change your tie rod ends, keep looking.

3. If you have to change or modify your brake pedal, that’s not the right kit for you.

4. Can you buy replacement wear parts from local sources? If not you should move on.

There are kits out there that are made to fit your car, if you are doing any of the above you are adapting a generic kit to your car.

You can tell a well designed kit by how it installs. I good kit will bolt right on to your current spindles without replacing or modifying them. Using all new bearings and seals installations like this are a snap. The master booster combination is key! Why would you want to go through the expense and frustration of modifying your brake pedal? Quality kits are available for use with manual or automatic transmission cars. Those kits bolt directly on to your firewall and your brake pedal.

Cross drilled and slotted rotors, the truth is I have them on my car. Do I really need them? Nope. I just think they look cool. I don’t do any high performance driving and I’m pretty good about not riding my brake pedal. So, if you’re not over heating your brakes they really may not be needed. But, like me you may just like the way the look. In that case what the heck. In most cases the same goes for multiple piston calipers. If think about it how many modern cars have multiple piston calipers? A very small percentage. Admittedly on my 98 Mustang I do have the Cobra multiple piston calipers, again mostly for looks but on my 66 I opted for the single piston “I just want to stop really well” version.

Next I guess we should talk about powder coating the calipers. For me this is much less optional. I want my calipers to look good and be protected. I’ve tried painting them but I really haven’t had much luck at that. After a short time they are chipped up, paint peeling, etc.. I don’t want to take the time to do that job over and over again. Now that powder coating is available for most calipers and it is relatively inexpensive it is a good choice for me personally.

If you have any questions about disc brake conversions I am glad to help [email protected].