Evoluto's 'peak analogue' Ferrari 348

As our weekend feature on Lanzanteโ€™s F1-engined 911 showed, Porsches are well catered for in the restomod market. But Ferraris, perhaps because of the regard in which many hold the Prancing Horse, rarely go under the engineerโ€™s knife. Founder of Surrey-based Evoluto Automobili, Callum Davis, noticed this hole in the market a couple of years ago, when he and a couple of friends began talking about the untapped potential of the 348. But not just in the sense that one could be modernised, in the sense that it could form a base to create the ultimate atmospheric driverโ€™s car. Something heโ€™s now setting out to do for real.

โ€œThe performance benchmark for our car is aย Ferrariย 458 Speciale and, in terms of connection to the driver, the Porsche Carrera GT,โ€ said Davis, a longstanding automotive businessman with a lifelong passion for cars. โ€œWe believe these are two of the best modern driverโ€™s cars because theyโ€™re so engaging to drive. If you push them to 100 per cent, you feel everything that theyโ€™re doing 100 per cent.โ€

Davis described this as โ€œpeak analogueโ€, something he said was the primary philosophy behind the enhanced 348 that he, his two co-founders โ€“ a former racer and an ex-McLaren employee, no less โ€“ and team at eight-month-old Evoluto are currently working on. At this stage, just seven people are directly hands on in the project, although Davis said up to 20 more are indirectly involved through external suppliers and partners. Mule 1 is still about six months from completion, but the most important ingredients have long been decided on.

Letโ€™s start with the engine. Gone is the 348โ€™s 3.4-litre V8, in its place the 360's more advanced 3.6-litre, ramped up to produce a target 500hp โ€“ a gain of 100hp over standard, although somethingย Ferrariย reportedly achieved back in the โ€˜90s with the racing 355, once restrictors were removed. Along with its extra pace, the high-revving five valve per cylinder engine will breathe through a less restrictive race exhaust. Add a six-speed manual and, well, loins will be stirred.

โ€œThe 355 has played a big influence in the carโ€™s design as well, which weโ€™d describe as an homage to the bestย Ferraris,โ€ added Davis. โ€œThe 355 is a special car to me, not just because it is such a greatย Ferrariย but also because it was the first proper supercar I experienced up close. Weโ€™ve integrated some of its lines and features into the 348 and the feedback has been really good!โ€

Looks fantastic, doesnโ€™t it? Just the right amount of added thickness to appear purposeful without hurting the prettiness of a vintageย Ferrariย supercar. Of course, thereโ€™s some flamboyancy in the design too, see the clear engine deck for example, plus those taillights look like theyโ€™ve taken influence from the 488 GTB. But it combines to create something so desirable. Little wonder Evolutoโ€™s received enquiries from all over the world despite having only put out a few renders.

โ€œWeโ€™re taking the handling very seriously, as thatโ€™ll be what sells it over the looks and straight-line performance,โ€ said Davis. โ€œWeโ€™ve got a lead guy for setup whoโ€™s come from racing, whoโ€™ll be working with racing drivers to use in their experience in deciding the final setup. Itโ€™s still under discussion, but we want this to be a very rewarding car to drive at all speeds.โ€

The 348 is a good base to start from โ€“ itโ€™s known to some as the first genuinely usableย Ferrari, having set the agenda for all midship V8 Berlinettas right up to todayโ€™s new F8 Tributo, after all. But Davis believes modern hardware can unlock a far broader range of talents, from docile daily usability to effective track work. And for those only interested in the latter, a more extreme version could also be in the works.

โ€œIn 24-36 months weโ€™ll do a one-off racing specification vehicle where weโ€™ll strip the weight down even more,โ€ continues Davis. โ€œItโ€™ll be a fun project to see how far we can take this idea, but with a serious ambition to really push the power-to-weight ratio. It could provide us with the ideas for following projects, which might use more exotic materials such as carbon composites.โ€

Before then, however, itโ€™s full steam ahead on the first car. While projects as innovative as these can so often come across unforeseen hurdles, if all goes to plan, Davis hopes to build around five cars per year from the second half of 2019, with build times for each taking between nine and twelve months. He added that with further investment โ€œwe could take that to nine carsโ€.

โ€œWe want to keep this exclusive, but we donโ€™t want to be reducing a car to the level of exclusivity that people who buy it canโ€™t enjoy it,โ€ he said, referring to how ultra-low-volume machines often live lives of minimal use. โ€œWe want people to enjoy this car and we also want every single one to have a very thorough base spec, so no car is better than another.โ€

All will be Evolutoโ€™s ultimate expression of the analogue supercar. Music to our ears, right? Prices will, inevitably, be up in the realms of exotica; the extent of the work involved in developing such a car is no small thing, as we all know. But Davis says theyโ€™re aiming to undercut the usual prices of cars like this, including products from the likes of Singer, which Davis admits to really admiring.

โ€œWeโ€™re trying to be down to earth, not pomp and circumstance,โ€ he said. โ€œWe want to produce something thatโ€™s an alternative version of reality, something to celebrate the very best ofย Ferrari.โ€ And what more noble pursuit could there be than that?

P.H. O'meter

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Comments (103) Join the discussion on the forum

  • mrclav 12 Mar 2019

    Aren't Ferrari really sensitive about this sort of thing? And those wheels? Hell no.

  • tomwoodis 12 Mar 2019

    Looks fantastic!

  • Cold 12 Mar 2019

    Nice renders. Anything actually exist?

  • RumbleOfThunder 12 Mar 2019

    Fantastic idea, I just hope it comes to fruition. The 348 has all the ingredients for restomod treatment.

  • gigglebug 12 Mar 2019

    I wonder if there is a specific reason why they didn't just start with a 355 in the first place as oppose to making a 348 more like one?

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