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Is the 355 by Evoluto the restomod Ferrari F355 we’ve been waiting for?

Words: Matthew Hayward

Evoluto Automobili is the latest company to enter the well-populated restomod arena, with a modern interpretation of the Ferrari F355 – called the 355 by Evoluto. It was just a matter of time before somebody did it! Lighter, more powerful and thoroughly re-engineered from the ground-up to modern standards. It’s even been visually re-worked by the team at CALLUM Designs

Starting with a Ferrari F355 donor vehicle, after stripping it down to a bare shell Evoluto put it through a ‘carbon fusing programme’, stiffening critical hard points of the chassis with carbon bracing to reduce flex – claimed to increase the shell’s torsional rigidity by 23%. Carbon fibre body panels are also said to significantly reduce the overall weight, which is aimed to come in at under 1250kg. 

Nobody ever had any complaints about the F355’s masterpiece of a 3.5-litre 40-valve flat plane crank V8, which is why Evoluto has retained the engine, albeit with a massive overhaul. The five-valve cylinder heads have been CNC ported, with larger inlet valves which is said to improve airflow and combustion efficiency. Coupled with Evoluto-developed solid cam lifters and revised inlet camshaft, the engine’s RPM limit could be raised to 8500rpm.

Creating a special and updated version of such an iconic car such as the 355 is challenging. It requires total understanding of the boundaries of change.

Creating a special and updated version of such an iconic car such as the 355 is challenging. It requires total understanding of the boundaries of change.

To make the most of the mechanical changes, the car’s entire electrical system has been replaced, getting rid of the (increasingly unreliable) original ECUs. An all new engine management system, along with coil-on-plug ignition has allowed for an output of 420bhp, up from the F355’s original 375bhp figure, as well as much-improved throttle response. To make the most of one of the best-sounding engines of all time, there’s also an all new lightweight titanium sports exhaust system, complete with equal length headers. We can’t wait to hear it.

Evolution says that it set out to create a ‘Peak Analogue’ driving experience, which means that extra attention has been paid to the six-speed transmission. They say that transmission refinement, weight, and feel were all core when re-working the original gearbox and shift mechanism, with a particular focus on tactility. 

This is a theme that carries over to the car’s chassis tweaks too. Rather than seeking to match the outright pace of more modern supercars, the Evoluto is said to maintain a more ‘playful nature’. The car has a slightly wider track front and rear, with a set of Michelin Pilot Sport 4S-shod forged 19-inch alloy wheels. 

There are some interesting names behind the project. First and foremost is Ian Callum, who’s design and engineering house CALLUM Designs has completely reworked the original Pininfarina beauty. On the transformation, Callum commented: ‘Creating a special and updated version of such an iconic car such as the 355 is challenging. It requires total understanding of the boundaries of change. However, the team at CALLUM enjoyed bringing together new forms and details to produce a beautiful design, while fully respecting the original.’

The changes are clear to see, with an overall ‘more muscular physique’, covered with updated details. The front end gets a deeper front bumper with enlarged cooling intakes and re-shaped splitter. New LED pop-up headlights and rear twin lamps add a modern touch, as do the aerodynamic door mirrors and a flush-fitting door releases. 

The engineering side has been overseen by Amjad Ali, former Technical Director at GuntherWerks. Now Technical Director of Evoluto Automobili, he comments: ‘The 355 was iconic in 1995, now 30 years later, we’ve re-engineered it to OEM standards, utilising contemporary technology and materials to create a car that comes alive when driven hard. In a world dominated by turbochargers, hybrids, electronic gears, and multi-stage dampers, Evoluto’s Peak Analogue philosophy breathes new life into this classic 355, delivering an engaging driving experience that’s unparalleled today.’

Evoluto Automobili says it will create a maximum of 55 355 Evolutos, and that prices ‘vary based on these individual requests’. Which is a nice way of saying that it will be very expensive. Naturally there will be endless customisation options. The car will be on show at the Goodwood Festival of Speed this week, and also during the Monterey Car Week in August. 

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