About this time I heard about a 355 Challenge race car that had been crashed and was being parted out, so I bought all the suspension pieces and the gearbox from the car. I brought them back thinking it would be easy to fit them to the car. The suspension took a bit of doing and I made bushings from Teflon. I then set about making the gearbox fit. I was told that it fit right in. It didn’t. That was by far the most difficult part of building this car. I had to make new crossmembers and machine arms for the gearbox mount. Then I had to cut a hole in the frame and put in a tube for the shift rod to go through. Next, I had to get an engine pan from a 355 and fit it to the engine by moving a couple of studs. I then had to machine brackets for the Toyota Tacoma alternator. Then I bought a smaller A/C compressor and made everything necessary to make it work. I used a 355 shifter and machined a new center console that moved the climate control to make room for boost and EGT gauges, and added a switch for the computer to operate the traction control, launch control, wet traction control, and added a switch to raise boost, turn on a fan for the intercooler, and make the exhaust louder.
Wiring and injection came next. I wanted reliability, so I used Toyota coil-on-plug coils. I made the entire wiring harness and machined brackets and plastic covers to keep water out of the coils. I used a computer from DTA Fast in England. I chose this computer for its features. It has traction control, launch control, wet traction control, boost control, idle motor control, enough drivers for sequential injection, and drivers for each individual coil. For the most part it worked well with all the existing Bosch sensors.
As we said, there’s been a lot of time, money, and R&D put into this Ferrari. Maxwell designed and fabricated more than 200 parts in order to get the entire package functioning, from the turbo plumbing to the custom engine mounts. These were designed to limit movement, and had to be as a result of the mishap during the first test drive.
As the speedometer climbed past 160 mph, Slead announced with increasing fervor that the car wasn’t slowing down. Maxwell sat beside him with a laptop hooked up. His pants may have been soiled a little as well as the speedo went past 170 mph. Only as they hit 180 mph Maxwell hit the emergency stop button to cut engine power.
A lot of Toyota parts have been used in this build as they are reliable, readily available and of high quality. But after the throttle incident, a few guys started saying that maybe a Toyota ghost had gotten into the Ferrari. Maxwell laughed along with them when they teased Slead that his car was going to Go Toyota on him and take off on its own, until he took a closer look at the engine.
We put it back on the dyno and when it went up on power I saw the whole engine lift up about 3 inches, said Maxwell. I realized then the engine was making so much power it had broken the front mounts. When it lifted it rotated back and the throttle jammed under the intercooler.
There’s a moral to this story somewhere.
1994 Ferrari 348 Challenge TB Twin Turbo
Longitudinal mid engine, rear-wheel drive
’89 Ferrari 3.4-liter V8, Ferrari 75mm crankshaft, Carrillo rods, 8.75:1 JE pistons, Mahle bearings, Ferrea valves, twin Turbonetics T3/T4 K26 turbos, CNC-machined intake manifold by Steve Maxwell, mandrel-bent equal-length headers and custom stainless steel exhaust, DTA PS pro fuel injection
Ferrari 355 five-speed manual
355 Challenge springs, 355 Challenge with CuC links and rocker arms, revalved Bilstein shocks (f); 355 Challenge rear end, springs and antiroll bars, revalved Bilstein shocks (r)
AP Racing six-piston calipers, 362mm rotors
Wheels And Tires
Speedline Ferrari Challenge alloys, 8x18 (f), 12x18 (r)
Pirelli P Zero, 245/35 (f), 315/30 (r)
Front bumper inlet for intercooler, BASF Fly Yellow paint
Refurbished OEM interior with seat pads and seatbelts from Group 5 Motorsport
Peak Power: 609 hp @ 7700 rpm
Peak Torque: 486 lb-ft @ 5700 rpm