(First published 12/16/2015) Well Christie Brinkley never drove a 348 Spider, let alone any Ferrari that wasn’t red in either of her appearances in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, it’s still hard not to think of her whenever I see a Ferrari drop-top of this era.
Brinkley famously appeared several times pulling up next to the Griswold’s Family Truckster in a Ferrari 308 GTSi in 1983’s “National Lampoon’s Vacation”. She would reprise her role in 1997’s “Vegas Vacation” (by no means a masterpiece film, but still one of my favorites for laughs), this time driving a Mondial t. Having first seen both these movies at a very young age, it was enough to cement Christie Brinkley with Ferrari convertibles in my mind.
Like Christie Brinkley, who looks incredible for someone even half her age, the beauty of this Ferrari 348 is almost timeless. If I knew nothing about cars, I wouldn’t believe it’s a 21 year old car and a 26 year old design. With a bullet-like silhouette, wide stance, aggressive bodywork, and that unmistakable Ferrari look, this car looks fast even standing still.
The 348’s age is easier to pinpoint by taking a look at its interior, where its cockpit’s square Italianate design and egg crate style vents clearly date it as a late-1980s/early-1990s vehicle. While hardly luxury car lavish, the 348’s interior was nonetheless comfortable by Ferrari standards, with heavy padding on its leather sports seats, creature comforts such as power windows and air conditioning, and minimally exposed hardware.
Powered by a longitudinally mounted 3.4L V8 making 320 horsepower and 238 pound-feet of torque, this mid-engine rear-wheel drive beauty was capable of sprinting from zero to sixty in under 5.4 seconds. The 348 also utilized a four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel disc antilock brakes for superior handling. In true sporting fashion, a 5-speed manual was the only transmission available in the 348.
With base prices ranging from about $122,000-$131,000 depending on model, the 348 was technically Ferrari’s entry-level model in 1994. To most of us though, an entry-level Ferrari is just fine. Depending on mileage and condition, it’s possible to get a 348 Spider for under $40,000 today; A tough blow to original owners, but to those who’d never have been able to afford this car new, a welcomed discount. Take the money and run I guess, and quite appropriately, this 348 looks poised to make a quick getaway parked by the back door.