The V8s

Evo India - - FERRARI 70TH – THE EVO YEARS -

PPERFORMANCE CAR MAG­A­ZINES are a rel­a­tively new genre and the pub­li­ca­tion you hold in your hands is barely four years old, four years since we changed the tra­di­tional nar­ra­tive of In­dian au­to­mo­tive mag­a­zines by plac­ing The Thrill of Driv­ing front and cen­tre of ev­ery­thing that we do. Su­per­cars on the cover; fast cars driven very side­ways; hatch­backs rated for fun-to-drive rather than fuel ef­fi­ciency; peo­ple though we were mad but we knew there were enough of you who wanted a mag­a­zine to in­dulge your au­to­mo­tive dreams and pas­sions. It's the same for­mula that gave birth to evo two decades ago, a mag­a­zine that is now firmly es­tab­lished as the world's best au­to­mo­tive en­thu­si­ast ti­tle with 17 edi­tions across the globe. So it should come as no sur­prise that evo's jour­ney be­gan with Fer­raris, specif­i­cally the F355 Ber­linetta that was part of the in­au­gu­ral evo Car of the Year held late in 1998. How­ever, the first all-new Fer­rari un­der our watch was the 360 Mo­dena.

Look­ing back, the 360 was a rad­i­cal car for Fer­rari: the first with an alu­minium chas­sis and body, the first where aero­dy­nam­ics were a ma­jor in­flu­ence and the first to de­liver gen­uine us­abil­ity. If we’re be­ing harsh, it was also the mo­ment Fer­raris ceased to be clas­si­cally beau­ti­ful, but then the F355 was a tough act to fol­low.

The 360 was big­ger than its pre­de­ces­sor, which masked the weight ben­e­fits of alu­minium. For­tu­nately the larger mo­tor (up from 3.5 to 3.6 litres) had in­creased power, from 374 to 394bhp, and a fat­ter spread of torque. It also had a drive-by-wire throt­tle, sec­ond-gen F1 pad­dleshift as an op­tion and faster steer­ing – an in­di­ca­tion of the role tech­nol­ogy would play in Fer­rari’s quest for ul­tra-re­spon­sive dy­nam­ics.

Of course, there was a sub­se­quent Spi­der ver­sion (in which we re­traced the Mille Miglia route), but the 360 would also be the spark for a more ex­plicit and ex­cit­ing breed of track-bi­ased Fer­rari, the first of which be­ing the de­lec­ta­ble 360 Chal­lenge Stradale.

This would serve as a blueprint for faster, fiercer crea­tures to come, its sim­ple recipe of less weight (110kg lighter than the reg­u­lar Mo­dena and just 20kg more than the Chal­lenge race car), wider rub­ber, lower, firmer sus­pen­sion, a faster gearshift and a more po­tent en­gine fo­cus­ing the per­for­mance of Fer­rari’s mid-en­gined V8 model as never be­fore.

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