You’ll never guess who owns this stunning Ferrari 348
Thursday 14th November, 2019 - 3:00pm
This awesome one-of-a-kind Ferrari was a star at the recent SEMA Show – and it belongs to an Aussie revhead.
US-based model Jess Hart is the proud owner of this custom creation and was on-hand to show it off in Las Vegas last week. It started life as a standard 1991 Ferrari 348 ts but after a major makeover it’s so much cooler than it was originally, we think you’ll agree.
Sydney-born Hart has modelled for some of the world’s biggest brands, including Victoria’s Secret and Louis Vuitton, but has always had a passion for cars. She is a Mercedes-Benz ambassador so is no stranger to speed, having completed the Advanced and Pro stages of the AMG Driving Academy. So naturally she has plans to take her freshly-prepared Ferrari onto the racetrack for some fun.
The project was overseen by the Los Angeles-based creative agency, Race Service. This is the same company that works with Formula One star Daniel Ricciardo for many of his social media projects and helped design his new-for-2019 helmet. It’s owned by Hart’s partner, James Kirkham, a former racing driver who now runs the both Race Service and the successful Donut Media production house.
Hart told Torquecafe.com that she was determined to find a project car when she relocated from New York to LA and spent months searching for the ideal machine.
“As I started my quest to move to California, before I even started looking at houses I started looking at cars,” Hart said. “I figured if I found an awesome car then I’d find a house to go with it soon enough.”
Eventually this 348 was found by Kirkham in Miami and shipped back to California to begin its second-life.
Race Service enlisted the help of several LA-based specialists to create this ‘90s masterpiece.
Emotion Engineering installed a new KW Suspension set-up that is track-ready but also features a hydraulic lift kit to raise it back to factory ride height to handle street use.
It rides on Rotiform wheels that are deliberately similar to the original five-pointed star rims. And they are wrapped in Michelin Pilots Sport 4S rubber for more grip than the 348 had in 1991.
Inside there are carbon fibre race seats and an OMP factory racing rollcage – one of only 13 such cages in existence.
NASCAR-style rear spoiler made from Lexan, to not spoil the original lines of the car, while adding extra downforce for the track.
There’s also a race-spec steering wheel that replaces all the factory controls on the steering column with buttons. And if you look closely there’s a Mercedes-Benz logo on the wheel, which is no accident.
“We wanted it to be like an original Ferrari track car of it’s time like the 348 Challenge,” Hart explained, of the idea behind the build. “Then we wanted to play around with a few details for fun, like the spoiler was a nod to NASCAR and it looks so dope, and the Mercedes badge on the steering wheel is a nod to Mercedes-Benz as James and I are both ambassadors.”
This isn’t just a show car, however, with Hart reportedly planning on using the 348 on a regular basis for commuting around LA.
“Ultimately I wanted to make this car user friendly daily,” she said. “The KW suspension raises two-inches at the touch of the button for speed bumps and steep driveways. The splitter at the front has a titanium plate – which is also used in NASCAR – so it should be unbreakable.”