Supercars On A $50,000 Budget: The Ferrari That Was Almost Embarrassed By Honda

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The 348 isn't the best Ferrari, but it is cheap.

Before the 1990s it was unthinkable that a Japanese automaker could go toe to toe with Ferrari. When Honda revealed the NSX, it changed the supercar landscape forever. Whereas supercars from Italy were impractical and expensive to repair, the NSX was built to be extremely comfortable and reliable. The NSX was originally designed to be better than a Ferrari 328, but by 1990 it was competing against that car's successor, the 348. Now, a 348 can be purchased for less than $50,000.

Coincidentally, the Acura NSX is also available for less than $50,000, but which is the better purchase? The NSX has been appreciating in value, but the Ferrari badge has its own special value. We found a 1991 348 TS, which features the removable targa roof. The car is painted in the traditional Ferrari red with a tan interior. The odometer shows 43,310 miles, which is high for a Ferrari but low for a car of this age. This 348 TS looks to be in good condition, though there's a bit of wear and tear on the interior. The driver's seat has noticeable wear on the bottom bolster, which can happen when people get in and out of the seat frequently. The car is being offered by Cabriolet Motors in North Carolina for $49,994.

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The 348 was powered by a 3.4-liter V8 with 300 horsepower and 248 lb-ft of torque. The car only came with a five-speed gated manual transmission and could hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds. This means it was only marginally quicker than the NSX. This classic "Top Gear" clip shows what the 348 was like back then.

The classic Jeremy Carkson clip may be a bit dated, but it shows the thought process that people had with the 348. It was the "affordable" Ferrari in its day, and much like today with cars like the McLaren 570S, people wanted to know if the 348 could be used every day. Unfortunately, the 360 was the first Ferrari that did not require the infamous engine-out service, which can cost around $10,000. That means it isn't the best daily driver. Even though everyone remembers the NSX as the car that beat Ferrari, many magazines at the time compared the two cars and dubbed the Ferrari to be the superior supercar. Road and Track called the 348 "one of the ten best cars in the world."

Automotive journalists were quick to praise the NSX but noted that the 348 garnered more attention from onlookers and had more driving feedback than any other car that it was tested against. The 348 is not remembered as being one of the best Ferrari models of all time but it is still one of the best cars of its time. For less than $50,000 this 348 could be "reasonably" affordable as an alternative to something like a new or lightly used Alfa Romeo 4C. We would certainly love to get our hands on this affordable Italian classic.

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