Rare Rides: The Very Rare Ferrari 348 Zagato Elaborazione, a Mouthful From 1990

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides the very rare ferrari 348 zagato elaborazione a mouthful from 1990

By our count, Rare Rides has discussed Italian coach builder Zagato’s works on exactly two occasions. Both those times, boxy red coupes filled the screens of our millions of dear readers.

Today, Zagato surfaces once more, this time on a car which is certainly not boxy or red. It’s a very yellow Ferrari 348, with additional Zagato passion and flair.

Shortly before his death, company founder Enzo Ferrari managed the development of one more mid-engine V8 car. The sports car in question was the Nineties successor of the angular Eighties 328, called the 348.

The company commissioned Pininfarina for the design, which was full of smooth surfaces and side intake strakes like on the Testarossa. The 3.4-liter V8 engine was larger than the 3.2L found in the old 328, producing 300 horsepower and 238 lb-ft of torque. Power shifted through the only transmission available: a five-speed manual.

By the time the 348 debuted at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1989, Enzo Ferrari was deceased. However, journalists around the globe were impressed with Enzo’s last offering. The 348 was pitted against (and defeated) the other new mid-engine sports car of the period, the Acura NSX. The car’s sound, character, and overall dynamic excellence were praised to the hilt.

A volume model, the 348 was replicated 8,844 times before its replacement by the F355 for 1996. Ferrari made several special variants, as it was wont to do, but Zagato also decided to give it a go.

From the start, it was intended as a limited offering, with a planned build of 22 cars. The Elaborazione package consisted of cosmetic modifications on top of a 348 TB. But “cosmetic” might be a bit of an understatement here. Zagato lowered the roof of the 348 and added a double bubble to the sheet metal. The midship engine cover was replaced by a piece of glass to be a bit more showy. Other notable changes included a new bumper at the front which was sans grille, bigger intakes (with no strakes) at the sides, and triple lights at the rear. The factory wheels were replaced by O.Z. Racing five-spokes. To top it all off, Zagato re-trimmed the interior in luxurious suede.

Though 22 examples were planned, only 10 made it out of House Zagato. Today’s Rare Ride had a single owner who apparently didn’t want to drive it, putting only 12,000 miles on the clock. This one also owns the distinction of being Zagato’s show car at the 1991 Geneva Motor Show. It comes up for sale at Sotheby’s Villa Erba auction on May 25th, and expects to bring around $200,000.

[Images: RM Sotheby’s]

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  • Lorenzo Lorenzo on May 11, 2019

    At least this isn't tumblr and we got to see the picture. A guy who posts pictures of rare cars, and only cars, had several photos flagged. One photo, of a 1952 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 with bodywork by Carrozzeria Boneschi, was flagged and the poster couldn't appeal it.

  • Scott25 Scott25 on May 13, 2019

    Hey Corey, we all know how much you love kitschy special editions, where’s your article/thoughts on the Kona Iron Man edition?

    • Corey Lewis Corey Lewis on May 13, 2019

      Well, maybe I can wrap that one up with the awful Rogue One and Tucson Walking Dead.

  • Jeff S I ignore the commercials. Never owned a Mazda but I would definitely look at one and seriously consider it. I would take a Honda, Toyota, or Mazda over any German vehicle at least they are long lasting, reliable, and don't cost an arm and a leg to maintain.
  • GregLocock The predictable hysteria and repetition of talking points in the meeja is quite funny. it does not divide Oxford into six zones. it restricts access at 6 locations , one on each road, to reduce congestion in the town centre. Florence, which faces the same issue, traffic and narrow historic streets, lined with historic buildings, simply closed the entire town centre off. Don't see anybody whining about that.
  • Jeff S I have rented from Hertz before and never encountered this but if I had I would sue them. Would not want a gun pointed at me and thrown in jail for renting a car.
  • Arthur Dailey I did use a service pre COVID to get the pricing that the dealers were alleged to have paid the manufacturer. It also provided 'quotes' from multiple dealers .
  • Arthur Dailey Has anyone else concluded that we may have a new 'troll' on this site?