The Ferrari F355 was build by Ferrari from 1994 to 1999 when it was replaced by Ferrari 360. The Ferrari F355, the fruit of half of century experience in V8 mid-engined coupes, is considered to be the greatest production sports-car of the 20th Century. It was the best selling Ferrari in history until that time, the car that saved the brand from imminent bankruptcy and the first model to be produced under the new leadership of Luca di Montezemolo. With performance figures that are enviable even a decade after the cars launch and an immortal design, the F355 is considered by many to be the most beautiful modern Ferrari.
The 1995 Ferrari F355 had as a basis the previous V8 engine Ferrari, the 348. The famous Italian design studio and Ferrari traditional partner, Pininfarina, did the styling of the new model. The F355 was produced between 1995 and 1999 in nearly 12,000 units and become one of the most popular Ferrari’s of all time. At launch it was available in fixed-head Berlinetta (or GTB) and Targa (GTS) followed later by a roadster (Spider) variant. The Spider was Ferrari’s first vehicle with an electronically actuated soft top.
The engine enhancements over the previous 348 model included an increased displacement from 207 cui to 213 cui and five valves per cylinder that allowed an 80 bhp plus. With 380 bhp the nearly 3000 pound F355 was able to reach 60 mph just 4.9 seconds and peak at a maximum of 183 mph. Additional improvements over the 348 l were the adjustable suspension that could accommodate various types of driving conditions, enhanced Brembo disc brakes and a steel and aluminum body that offered extra rigidity while remaining light-weight. In 1988, the Ferrari F355 was the first production vehicle to be equipped with a sequential gear-box operated by paddle shifters located on the steering wheel.
From 360 Modena to 360 Stradale and then to 360 Challenge Stradale
In 1999 Ferrari launched the first model from a 3-models series: the 360 Modena. The car is powered by a 3.586cc V8 engine with an output of 400 hp at 8500 rpm. The car has a curb weight of 3064 lbs and with the 400 hp it was easy to reach the 60 mph just in 4.3 seconds. The 360 Modena has a top speed of 185 mph.
The 360 Modena was designed as an interpretation of the Ferrari berlinetta with a V8 engine for the 21st century, radically innovative features such as significant weight reduction, a larger body and a higher level of equipment. One extremely important element, which is new on a Ferrari road car, is the use of aluminium to build the entire frame, combined with the bodyshell and chassis components which are also fabricated in aluminium.
In 2000 Ferrari introduced the 360 Challenge Series which gave privateers an opportunity to race modified Ferrari’s in a regulated environment. The Challenge version was created to compete in the Ferrari Challenge Championship.
The car was powered by the same 3586 cc V8 engine with an output of 400 hp. The car has a curb weight of 2550 lbs and makes the 0 to 60 mph sprint in 4 seconds and has a top speed of 183 mph.
The Challenge Stradale version was launched in 2003. It is powered by a more powerful V8 engine and has a bigger top speed. The car accelerates from 0 to 60 in 4.1 seconds and a top speed of 186 mph.
The Challenge Stradale is equipped with the previous 360 Modena 90° V8 engine mounted centrally behind the cabin in a longitudinal configuration as a single block together with the gearbox and differential. Peak power output of the V8 engine has been raised to 425 bhp at 8,500 rpm to give an exceptional power rating that exceeds 118.5 bhp/litre.
From F430 to F430 Challenge and then to F430 Challenge Stradale
In 2004 a more powerful Ferrari was launched: the Ferrari F430. It is powered by a 4,300 cc 90° V8 engine, which punches out 490 hp to achieve a specific output of 114 hp/litre. The car makes the 0 to 60 mph acceleration in 4 seconds flat and has a top speed of 196 mph.
The aerodynamic design embodies the very latest competition technologies, specifically the flat underbody and large rear diffuser to increase downforce.
The car offers a series of extremely significant innovations directly derived from the Ferrari Formula 1 single-seaters. Two of these innovations are world firsts for production cars: the electronic differential (E-Diff) and the steering wheel-mounted switch (better known to the Formula 1 Scuderia’s drivers as “manettino”), which manages the integrated systems governing vehicle dynamics.
The next step was the F430 Challenge launched in 2005. The car is specifically designed to meet the expectations of its sportier clients. The F430 Challenge retains the same general look and 490 hp engine as the F430 and it also incorporates a large number of significant track-oriented modifications and a host of new features not seen in the car currently used in the series, the 360 Challenge.
The F430 Challenge boasts a kerb weight of just 2700 lbs (1,225 kg), excluding petrol. Weight has been reduced in every area of the car, from the engineering to the bodywork. Of particular note are the Lexan windscreen, the all-carbon fibre intake plenum cover, and the specific exhaust system. It has a top speed of 198 mph.
The next step will be the F430 Challenge Stradale. he F430 CS will have a more powerful V8 engine than the F430 Challenge. For example, for the 360, both Modena and 360 Challenge were powered by a V8 engine with an output of 400 hp and the 360 CS got a more powerful engine: a 325 hp V8.
The F430 and F430 Challenge are powered by a 490 hp V8 engine and we expect the new F430 CS to get by the same V8 engine, but with bigger output: 520 hp. The standard F430 has a curb weight of 3196 lbs and it is expected that the new F430 CS to be 220 lbs lighter. What will be the difference between 430 Challenge and 430 CS? The biggest changes are the exhaust pipes that got moved up a bit and are producing a lot of great music to all Ferrari fans out there. The F430 uses aluminum extensively, so carbon-fiber components will be used in the quest for reduced mass: the inside of the doors for example will be made of carbon fiber.