Monday, September 21, 2009

Ferrari 456 GT & GTA

Any new Ferrari must improve upon the model it replaces, representing a more refined automotive product. In 1989 the final 412 left Maranello and in 1993 the last Mondial was built. In 1992 Ferrari released the 456 GT and GTA, and changed the perception of a high performance 2+2. Refined and elegant comfort and performance were the orders of the day, and the Pininfarina-designed body was as intensely beautiful as the car was luxurious and fast.

Sporting a 436bhp 65° V12 engine and either a 6-speed manual (456 GT) or 4-speed automatic (456 GTA), aerodynamics and handling characteristics unlike those of any other 2+2, the 456 was the ultimate 4-person conveyance. Some might consider it the ultimate in practical automotive design.

Ferrari 360 Spider

The 360 Spider is Ferrari's 20th road going convertible. In terms of engineering, looks, and performance it is the best production spider Maranello has ever produced. Thanks to the exclusive know-how Ferrari has accumulated as a Formula 1 constructor, it is the most technologically advanced convertible available today.

Despite the car's mid-mounted 400bhp V8 engine, Ferrari engineers found a way of creating a roof that automatically folds into its own well between the cabin and the engine bay, thus ensuring purity of line. The intrinsic quality of the design is underlined by the two fairings in the bodywork to the rear of the seats which evoke memories of classic Ferraris. These are matched by the two roll hoops that provide maximum safety for both of the car's occupants.

With the top up the car is aggressive, emphasizing the V8 visible through engine cover. Lowering the fully automatic roof transforms the 360 Spider, highlighting its connection to great sports racers. As strong and rigid as the Berlinetta, the 360 Spider offers performance almost identical to the coupe version, achieving a top speed over 180mph while weighing barely 130lbs more and offering the same amount of room for the occupants and their luggage.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Ferrari 360 Modena

Ferrari's latest interpretation of the V8 sports car, the 360 Modena is a clean-sheet design anticipating future trends in Ferrari road cars. These trends include weight reduction combined with greater chassis rigidity. The new approach employs technology based on the use of aluminum for the chassis, body shell, and suspension wishbones. The exclusive use of aluminum, a first for a Ferrari road car, has enabled Ferrari's engineers to reduce the 360 Modena's dry weight by 100 kg compared to the F355 despite rather more generous dimensions resulting in greater comfort and storage space.

Performance has also improved across the board thanks to both a power:weight ratio 0.9lbs/bhp better than the car's predecessor, and the exceptional 3586cc 90° V8 engine providing 400bhp at 8500rpm and 275lb-ft at 4750rpm. The 360 Modena is the culmination of research and experimentation with the use of aluminum on everything from Formula 1 cars, to the 408 4RM prototype and the GT competition cars which were always fabricated in aluminum. The 360 Modena combines Ferrari heritage with innovation.

Ferrari 360 Modena introduction

Aluminum responsible for improving the power to weight ratio byt 0.9lbs/bhp. As a result, the 360 Modena is 0.8 of a second faster at 22.9 seconds over a kilometre from a standing start and has also cut nearly 3 seconds off its predecessor's lap time at the Fiorano track. The transmission features a longitudinal gearbox that allows larger diffusers to be incorporated on the flat underside. The 6-speed gearbox is available as a manual or with the F1 electrohydraulic shift.

Ferrari 348

In 1989 the 348 replaced the most successful and influential two-seat road car ever produced in Italy: the Ferrari 308/328. Happily, the 348 began a new era for Ferrari road cars, bridging the gap between the original three liter V8 cars and the F355, probably the finest sports car of the 20th Century. In its time, the 348 laid claim to that title with equal authority.

The 348 was not simply a freshened 328, it was an entirely new car in every sense, except its sense of fun. The exterior styling was a radical departure, though it provided a strong visual connection to its contemporaries, the Ferrari Testarossa and F40. Perhaps most notably, the 348 was offered in a very wide variety of body styles and trims, making it the most owner-configurable Ferrari to that time. It is a highly personal sports car, capable of 5.5 second sprints to 60mph and a top speed near 170mph.

Ferrari 328

Ferrari's fixed roof 328 GTB (berlinetta) and removable roof 328 GTS (spider) debuted together at the 1985 Frankfurt Auto Show. While often considered the final evolution of the 308 series, the 328 was a substantially new car. Extremely high performance, incredible 308-derived Pininfarina styling, improved road holding, and greater comfort, ensured the 328's desirability.
Ferrari's challenge was to consolidate market share gained through 1970s and early 80s by improving an icon without alienating its acolytes. The 328 easily became the most successful model in Ferrari's history to that time. It remains a highly sought after sports car almost two decades after its introduction.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Ferrari 308

The 308 GTB was Ferrari's first two-seat V8 road car. Made available to the public in 1975, it was the long awaited successor to the incomparable Dino 246 GT. The 308 series was a new beginning for the company as the premier builder of exotic sports cars for road use. As such, the 308 was designed to epitomize the sports car in its era. It did so admirably, and remains perhaps the most influential enthusiast car in history. The 308 is the car against which every subsequent sports car has been measured, upon which every Ferrari V8 sports and racing car has been based, and the car that brought Ferrari from the pinnacle of elite car-culture recognition into the minds of the general public. 25 years later, the shape and sound of the 308 is still "Ferrari" in the minds of many people.

The 308 came in two body styles, over three generations. The GTB, or berlinetta body, had a solid roof and slightly greater rigidity. The 308 GTB debuted in 1975. The GTS, or spider body, had a removable roof panel and first appeared in late 1977. The light roof panel was made of covered fiberglass. With windows down and roof off, the popular GTS was open from door to door. The three generations consist of the 308, 308i and 308qv. Apart from minor styling and accent changes, their engines differentiate the generations. The original 308 was carburetted and available from 1975 to 1980. The 1981-82 308i was fuel injected. The 308qv, for quattrovalvole, was fuel injected with four valves per cylinder, and was made from 1982 to 1985.

The 308 allowed its driver to experience a racecar thrill, and it also invited the passenger to relax in comfort and enjoy the ride. The 308 was by no means the first Ferrari to offer sumptuous surroundings with full leather upholstery and stylish appointments, but it offered far more for the casual driver.

Ferrari Enzo II

Considered by many enthusiasts as the ultimate modern Ferrari, the limited-edition Enzo’s replacement will be a tough act to follow up for the Italian automaker. The second-generation Enzo, also named after the marque’s illustrious founder, promises to take performance – and, surprisingly, efficiency – to a new level.
Like the original Enzo, the car’s successor will be a range-topping supercar aimed at immortalizing the legendary founder of the brand. Available only to select current Ferrari owners, the next-generation Enzo will serve as the brand’s performance and technology showcase.
Based – at least in concept – on the Ferrari Millechili show car (though the production Enzo replacement won’t carry that name), the performance car will be loaded with the technology learned from years of Formula 1 experience.
Expected to be powered by a mid-mounted V8 engine, rather than the Maserati-based V12 that motivated the Enzo, power should easily exceed 700 horsepower. Though fuel efficiency is hardly a Ferrari selling point, the car must conform to more recent European Union standards, meaning a new emphasis has been placed on reducing consumption. It has been rumored that Ferrari will use twin-turbocharging to make the most out of a smaller-displacement (think under 6 liters) V8 engine.
Key to addressing the fuel economy issue is a significant weight and size reduction, which should bring the car well down from the just-over 3,000 lbs. of its predecessor; rumors out of Ferrari’s Maranello headquarters indicate that weight could approach 2,200 lbs. Improved aerodynamics, including adjustable front and rear spoilers, will not only help the new Enzo stick to the road at maximum speeds, but it will also ensure reduced fuel consumption.
Its platform could go one of two ways: Either a heavily-modified version of the FXX race car’s architecture – itself a variation of the road-going Enzo – or a slightly longer derivative of the F430’s aluminum space frame.
Production will probably be at least as limited as the original Enzo, meaning no more than 400 of the 1 million Euro-plus supercars will emerge from Maranello when it goes on sale in over a year’s time.