Kimberly V. Althage – May 20, 2022
Ferrari had a challenge before it by the mid-80s. They needed to consolidate the market share gained throughout the 70s and the early 80s by improving an icon. Yet, any improvements or changes made risked alienating its acolytes. Enter Ferrari 328 (Type F106) Sports car, introduced at the 1985 Frankfurt Salon alongside the Mondial 3.2 series.
Its predecessor, the 308 series became quite popular surviving eight years with little change. Essentially the new 328 model was a revised and updated version of the 308 series. The new model is often considered as the 308’s final evolution, yet in truth 328 was a substantially a new car.
Those who think this, in their defense it is a bit difficult to decipher between the two body styles. An untrained eye would have a hard time noticing the restyled front valance and side mirrors. The subtle difference between the two models is best illustrated in a production goof for the 1987 ‘Beverly Hills Cop II’ film. If you look carefully, the Ferrari switches between a 308 and a 328 during Axel Foley’s opening sequence.
The similarities were in part by design, giving all eight-cylinder cars a homogeneous family image with their visually unified characteristics. Pininfarina stylists fully incorporated the 328 bumpers by blending them into the refined surrounding lower bodywork. These subtle changes were designed to influence the car’s Coefficient of Drag (CD) and aerodynamic lift characteristics. The impressive results for the 328 series hits that sweet spot of improved road holding performance, beauty, modern comforts, and relative affordability.
The grill is the most obvious of all the updates. Beyond that, the 328 models have a softer profile than its 308 predecessor. The 328’s redesigned nose was more rounded in shape and was complemented by redesigned tail valance panel. Its rear deck combined all the vents into a single, large, slightly raised wraparound unit, giving it a cleaner look. The front lid radiator exhaust air louvre was introduced on the 308 Quattrovalvole models but were made larger on the 328 models while the exhaust air louvres behind the retractable headlights disappeared entirely.
The modifications made to the body and chassis impressively reduced the car’s weight to 3,165lbs for the GTS, which was substantially lower than its predecessors. Like the earlier models, the 328 was also available in Gran Turismo Berlinetta (GTB, coupé, or fixed/solid roof) body, or the Gran Turismo Spider (GTS, Spider, open, or targa top) body.
The body’s upgrades made for a newer, more impressive model. Yet, the real improvements were made to the engine’s performance. The 328 was the final evolution of the V8 Dino engine and was designated a new model because of these changes.
Named after Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari’s son. Alfredo suggested the development of a V6 engine for F2 at the end of 1955. He was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy and hospitalized soon after. While in his hospital bed, Alfredo discussed this new engine’s technical details with a new engineer, Vittorio Jano. The Ferrari Dino engine is a line of mechanically similar V6 and V8 engines produced from the late 1950s into the early 2000s. Although he heavily influenced its development, Alfredo never lived to see it.
The “328” numbers in the model title refer to the total cubic capacity of the naturally aspirated engine; 3.2 liters, and 8 for its number of cylinders. The larger engine had more horsepower, this increase in engine displacement improved power (270hp) and torque output (231 ft. lbs.). Its maximum torque was not only increased but was available at a lower engine speed. This substantially improved the car’s flexibility. A testament to its design and ability is the rarity of hitting its redline while in fifth gear.
Unlike earlier models, most of the 328’s maintenance can be done without lowering the engine from the vehicle, making it Ferrari’s most trouble-free engine. Continued from the 308 was the Bosch K-Jetronic electronic fuel injection Transmission, which was the best available at the time. Yet for additional power output, an IHI turbocharger with a Behr intercooler was fitted producing a power output of 254bhp at 6500rpm.
A testament to Ferrari’s development prowess is that the power was produced with full emission controls in place. Despite larger wheels and tires this heightened prowess and lower vehicular weight rocketed the 328 60 mph in 5.5 seconds, and 100 mph 13.0 seconds. Its terminal speed was 150mph, yet its top speed was 166 mph. It also had a shorter first gear than the 308, giving a neck-snapping acceleration off the line.
In its four-year lifespan, there was a total of 7,412 Ferrari 328 models produced, until it was replaced by the 348 in the Autumn of 1989. The 328 was lightyears ahead of many vehicles found on the market today. Not only is it better looking than its 308 predecessor, the 328 is considered by many to be the best built, most reliable Ferrari ever. Because of its durable road record, improved ride experience, enhanced road holding technology, history of appreciating value, and classical aesthetics – the Ferrari 328 one of the most prized automobiles sought by collectors.
Gateway Classic Cars sells and consigns hundreds of vehicles each month. Do you have a classic car for sale with a story to tell? We’d love to hear about it, please email us at email@example.com to share it.