The Ferrari F355 was a modern classic, so beautiful, so well-engineered, so well-received, that it marked the beginning of the end of the old-guard Ferraristi philosophy that the only “real” Ferraris were ones with 12-cylinder engines. The Ferrari F355 burst onto the scene in spring 1994. It shared most every dimension with its 348 predecessor. Yet it was virtually a new car, as its stunning coachwork indicated. More than 1800 hours of wind tunnel testing influenced the harmonious shape, which incorporated an F1-style flat bottom with an airflow channel that generated enough downforce to offset any lift. Engine, transmission, and suspension received major upgrades. The longitudinally mounted 3496cc V-8 had five valves per cylinder and a stunning 375-380 horsepower at a spine tingling 8250 rpm. The gearbox was now a six-speed with a new type of synchromesh that made it much easier to shift. Electronically adjustable shocks varied stiffness within milliseconds to suit the road surface. Around Ferrari’s 1.86-mile Fiorano test track, the Ferrari F355 was two seconds faster than the 12-cylinder 512 TR. That level of performance — and that sensational shape — landed the Ferrari F355 on countless magazine covers.
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