Ferrari 408 RM4 Prototype (I.DE.A), 1987
В 1988 году непосредственно в Маранелло создали два полноприводных прототипа 408 с расположенным в базе 8-цилиндровым двигателем и кузовом, спроектированным институтом IDEA. У первого из двух автомобилей, выкрашенного в традиционный красный цвет, был стальной центральный монокок с алюминиевыми секциями спереди и сзади и кузовные панели из композитных материалов. Кузов второй, канареечно-желтой машины, был выполнен из алюминиевых сплавов и композитных материалов. В задней части был расположен спойлер, который мог выдвигаться вверх на больших скоростях. В остальном обе машины были идентичны. Они не выставлялись на салонах, и, насколько известно, фирма не вела дальнейших работ в области полноприводных конструкций.
Back in 1987 Ferrari decided to experiment with a more complex AWD layout for their supercars. The car they used to test their new system was this, the Ferrari 408 Integrale – although some call it the 408 RM4. Only two examples of the 408 Integrale were ever made, one was finished in bright yellow, the other in traditional Ferrari red.
The aluminium-bodied cars were constructed using the help of aluminium-specialists Alcan, who wanted to use the car to showcase their new method of using bonded and stamped aluminium panels which incorporated structural adhesives.
The Ferrari 408 Integrale’s chassis (Integrale translates from Italian as Integral) was formed from a mixture of stainless steel and aluminium. It was strong, stiff and light – which is just what you want from a chassis. It wasn’t until the Ferrari 360 appeared 12 years later that Ferrari adopted a similar aluminium chassis.
Powering the Ferrari 408 Integrale was a 4.0 litre V8 which produced 300 horsepower. The engine was mounted so that the transmission pointed forward from the engine, making it easier to transfer the power to all four wheels.
The Ferrari 408 Integrale’s styling came courtesy of the Italian design and coachbuilding firm Carrozzeria Scaglietti. And to be fair it isn’t one of the best looking Ferrari’s ever made. In fact it ranks pretty high on the ugly scale. It looks a little like a poorly executed replica kit car crossed with a budget 1980s Japanese sports car.
However Ferrari probably wasn’t all that concerned with how the 408 Integrale looked, as they were more interested in how the 4-wheel-drive layout and 4-wheel-steering system performed. There isn’t any hard data on the car’s performance, but it can’t have been too impressive because the car never spawned a 4WD production model.
Ferrari and 4 wheel drive goes way back although it never was a favorable technology for the company. The great engineer Mauro Forghieri, who supervised the racing development of scuderia for decades, investigated the 4wd concept in order to use it on Formula 1. A test car using parts from other race cars was build, the 312B3 or 'snow plough' as it was mostly known because of its appearance and the integrated front wing/spoiler with the fuselage. The 1961 Ferguson P99 Climax inspired this project. This was not only the first 4wd F1 car, but also the last front engine car that won an F1 race. The 312B3 was never raced but it lead to the successful T-series race cars, however Ferrari never raced or tested a 4wd F1 car again.
After his resignation from F1 M.Forghieri was appointed director of Ferrari's "advanced research office" where he stayed for two and a half years. Under his supervision Ferrari presented an working concept car, the 408 integrale
which was a moving laboratory for new technologies.
The 408 was so advanced that today, almost 25 years after its 1987 debut would look misplaced in the contemporary Ferrari line-up. It had a very advanced aluminum frame with sandwich panels that were bonded together by glue and laser welding. Its shape had very low drag, a Cd of only 0.274 to 0.314 depending on the position of the movable rear wing.
It had a centrally longitudinally mounted V8, which was offset to the right in order to accommodate the gearbox side by side. It was very compact and light (1260) especially considering the fact that it was build with production quality standards. It had air condition and its interior quality was better than that of F40
. Engineers from Honda most certainly took 408 into consideration while designing the NSX and this isn't a case shameless copying. The 408, like the NSX later, incorporated and defined the template used by almost every supercar today.
The most exotic feature of the 408 and the reason it is mentioned in this article was its four-wheel drive. It had a relatively simple system with two mechanical limited slip differentials (17% front, 75% rear). The central differential was geared to transmit under normal conditions 29,3% of the power at the front and 70,7% on the back. It had a hydraulic limited slip system and a manual override for complete lock.
The 408 concept was very thoroughly designed and it was relatively easy to enter production. However it was considered too advanced (12~15 patents were submitted) and exotic for the time and especially for Ferrari. Mauro Forghieri later joined the resurrected under Romano Artioli Bugatti where he evolved his ideas and developed the four-wheel drive system of the also advanced EB110
. The latter had a longitudinal offset placed V12 with the gearbox also stack on its side, like the 408.
The use of four-wheel drive in order to augment the performance of a sport car or even a supercar or racecar isn't new. It isn't new even for Ferrari, as mentioned above and even though the two 408 prototypes was the closer the company ever got to a production 4wd car, the concept was studied and explored in depth.
Source: Rosso Corsa (Владимир Князьков) - Журнал «МОТОР», Октябрь 1996 года; www.histomobile.com; Ioannis K. Erripis - robotpig.net