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1991 Ferrari 348 Elaborazione by Zagato

Between 1991 and '92, a handful of Ferrari 348's had their original Pininfarina-designed bodywork extensively modified by carrozzeria Zagato of Milan. However, due to legislative restrictions on crashworthiness, Zagato decided not to modify the engine, running gear, or chassis of the stock 348 instead of focusing on the aesthetics inside and out. Indeed, this program influenced its designation, Zagato's creation being known as the Elaborazione.

Visually, the front bumper was more rounded than Pininfarina's initial design like the rest of the car. It incorporated a fake central grille that was either oval or square, this being flanked by circular side and driving lights sunken into the surrounding valance. A lightweight aluminum bonnet featured two prominent NACA ducts carved into it. In contrast, the cabin unsurprisingly featured Zagato's trademark 'Double Bubble' roof treatment that provided a marginal increase in cockpit headroom. Meanwhile, the distinctive new engine cover was also fabricated from alloy. It featured a clear glass screen similar to those so often seen on Willy Koenig's Testarossa convertibles of the late 1980s and, more recently, for Pininfarina's 360 Modena. But Zagato could never have retained those heavily stylized engine vents from the stock 348 that was such an obvious Pininfarina trademark of the period, the Milanese designers blending in two substantial NACA ducts to help cool the engine.

The tail treatment saw a switch to three circular pods located on each side of the rear facia. At the same time, an electronically operated deck spoiler featured Ferrari and Zagato graphics that only became visible when raised. Other exciting features of these bespoke 348's were their custom OZ Racing split rim alloy wheels, external fuel filler caps, and three-inch rear view TV monitors plumbed into the cabin. Indeed, the interior was very thoroughly redesigned and came trimmed almost exclusively in suede. Overall, the Elaborazione was a curious mix of design cues but was, nevertheless, a machine immediately recognizable as the work of Zagato. A production run of 22 was originally planned, although 10 were ever built. Each example slightly different.

Images: Zagato;

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