Last month there was fervor in the automotive world over the news of Ferrari’s leaked patent application for “Hybrid 4WD” drive-trains. In these documents deposited by Ferrari were various solutions for an all-wheel-drive system for both front-engined and rear-engined models. Essentially the drawings showed in-board or alternatively in-wheel electrical motors that would power the front wheels in aid of traction or to help the car tackle slippery surfaces. Whether this will enter production in the near future or in which models remains to be seen, but what this news did do was ignite a little spark of recollection in a forgotten part of my brain.
You see, I distinctly remember back in the late 80s, the feeling of excitement any car-loving kid would experience at the news of a new Ferrari. While the details in my memory were a bit sketchy, what I do clearly remember is that this car was a 4WD Ferrari. A dozen minutes of internet searching (I was actually surprised at how long it took) later and low and behold the 1987 Ferrari 408 Integrale. .
There wasn’t much information about this car but according to Autoblog.it only two concepts were ever produced, one in red and one in yellow. Apparently it was built in collaboration with Alcan, an aluminum specialist, in order to display their latest technologies in bonding stamped and sheet aluminum parts using structural adhesives.
The 408’s chassis was a stainless steel (for the central tub) and aluminum hybrid, making it extremely stiff and light at only 80 kg. The body was courtesy of Carrozzeria Scaglietti and continued the lightweight theme through the use of composite materials. But the feature that distinguished this Ferrari from every other model before and since then was the implementation of a 4WD and 4WS system.
As the name suggests, the engine was a 4.0l V8 developing just 300 hp, but as far as I am aware, that’s where the information ends. One can only speculate at the engine set-up, but a transversally mounted V8 (like the one found in the Mondial) with a driveshaft transferring power to the front wheels (the reverse of a FF derived 4WD car) seems the most plausible one.
There is no news on what happened to these cars, whether Ferrari still owns them or if they’ve since been sold on to private collectors. My only hope is that whoever does have them in their possession appreciates the rarity and the significance the 408 Integrale plays in the Ferrari lineage.
-Dino Dalle Carbonare