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Ferrari Mondial

Ferrari Mondial Published: 18th Sep 2019 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Fast Facts

  • Best model: QV
  • Worst model: Anything iffy and LHD
  • Budget buy: Pre ’83 models
  • OK for unleaded?: Yes
  • Will it fit in the garage? (mm): L4534 x W1808
  • Spares situation: Patchy
  • DIY ease?: Doable
  • Club support: As expected from Ferrari
  • Appreciating asset?: No more bargains!
  • Good buy or good-bye?: A grossly underrated Ferrari in our reckoning
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No more the Ferrari for Ford Mondeo money but the Mondial remains one of the cheapest means of gaining ownership to the Prancing Horse stable. That aside it’s a fine supercar in its own right as well as the most practical

Our coverlines rather sums this facetious Ferrari up. On the one hand with its novel mid-engined 2+2 seating, it’s a Ferrari for families, on the other it’s always been regarded as a misfit from Maranello, being fish nor fowl due to those very same reasons! There’s no doubt that the Mondial is marmite Ferrari, and, until recently, this held prices down to TR6 values. But taste buds have changed and while Mondial will never be regarded as one of the most evocative of models Enzo ever turned out, it appeals to those with a young family who can equally enjoy the Ferrari experience.


1980 Successor to the 2+2 308 GT4 of the early 1970s (another, until recently, forgotten Ferrari), using a lot of its make up, the chief differences concerned a tubular spaceframe chassis, and not monocoque build, utilising separate subframes for the running gear (and a wheelbase extended by 100mm). The legendary Pininfarina gave the Mondial its questionable styling, with the oily bits mainly coming from the 308.

1982 To answer criticisms of a lack of go, a Quattrovalvole (four-valve) engine was fi tted. The 32 valves raised the game to a far more respectable 240bhp and 191lbft of torque (previously it was 176lbft) slicing two seconds of the hallowed 0-60 time to a that’s-more-like it six-and-a-bit seconds. 1984 A rather attractive cabriolet joined the range, the company’s first new rag top since the Daytona. 1985 Now a fully fl edged Ferrari, the ante was upped further with the 3.2 engine, as seen in the 328 GTB/ GTS, for a rousing 270bhp. A facelift incorporating body coloured bumpers and the welcome fitment of anti-lock brakes occurred for 1987.

1987 A facelift incorporating body coloured bumpers and the welcome fitment of anti-lock brakes occurred this year.

1989 Mondial T launched. Almost a new car, the 300bhp 3.4-litre V8 (taken from the 348 range with dry sump lubrication, Bosch fuel injection and twin computer management) was now mounted longitudinally, although the transmission remained transverse (a design f rst seen in the Ferrari 312T F1 car back in 1975).

Suspension was now electronically controlled and there was also the option of a semi-automatic transmission from Valeo (see buying point sectioned). The interior became plusher, with a new dash and better trim. The Mondial survived until the mid-1990s, after a production run of nearly 7000 with 350 UK cars built meaning there’s a fair enough chunk on offer to be choosy.

Driving and what the press thought

“The most useful car out of Maranello” hailed American Road & Track which can be construed as a back-handed compliment as it didn’t hit upon on what a Ferrari is all about while rival mag Motor Trend remarked on a serious lack of pace (0-60 in eight seconds and 130+mph). “The Mondial 8 will barely get out of its own way”, the magazine moaned, and certainly the 3-litre V8 (carried over from the 308), with its 214bhp, was barely adequate for such supercar status. Nevertheless, the initial plaudits were more than encouraging this side of the pond, none more so than monthy CAR praising its “Porsche-like build quality” and “Dynamic ability” before concluding that the new Mondial was “stirring but civilised”.

Admittedly, performance on the original 214bhp 8v cars was nothing special when new and, today, a good diesel rep mobile will beat a Mondial, especially if age has taken its toll on the engine – as it has on many. Perhaps the pleasure comes as much not from what the car does but the way that it does it, and the noise and the passion of this Dino-derived V8 will be enough for many of us although the later 32-valver is notably quicker and has more torque, while the 3.2 and 3.4 have the sort of performance you expect from a Ferrari.

When new the Mondial was praised for its sensitivity and user friendliness – and far less twitchiness than the shorter-wheelbased GT4 – although the earlier 2+2 is regarded as a more purist cross-country car with its 80’s replacement more the refined and spacious 2+2 cruiser with its uncommonly decent ride. The Mondial T is a different kettle of camshafts and while the Mondial hardly ranks as one of the greatest as a classic there’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ Ferrari.

What, when, where, how and why did this sea change of opinion occur isn’t quite clear as its chassis arrangement went on to provide the base for the superb 360 sp it can’t be all bad! Comparing the Ferrari favourably to a 911, nine years and three generations after launch, in the wake of disappointing sales CAR simply asked “Why is this wonderful car so unfairly ignored?

Classic caring

Ferraris aren’t designed for home mechanics although you can do the basics (fluids, filters, brakes and the like) easily enough. Camshaft belt changes are essential and beyond the scope of many and it’s here where maintenance costs can soar. On earlier cars it typically costs a hefty £600+ but on the Mondial T you’re looking at a couple of grand because, as with the 348, the V8 has to come out. There’s no shortage of independent Ferrari specialists to keep down costs and parts (OE or aftermarket) seem readily available for most things; Superformance ( sells new brake pads from just £14 for example! If you hanker for originality, then the special Michelin TRX tyres need tracking down as well as healthy bank balance as they retail at over £400 a pop. In contrast, by opting for conventional but quality alternatives you can re-tyre the entire car for a similar outlay. We know what we’d do…


In common with so many supercars, it’s not so much what can you tinker with but should you, especially as originality increasingly counts as the cars become older and rarer? As always, the best starting point has to be a fun service and set up by a good specialist to get the basics right and as the historic low values of Mondials led to years of neglect, the transformation on many cars should be pretty astonishing.

Speak to specialist or owners club concerning any major engine mods as they can be pricey for the advantages provided although better exhausts filtration and perhaps a ECU remap are good and relatively inexpensive starting points. Superformance has a range of suspension and brake upgrades that are worth dialling in if the standard issue parts need replacement anyway.

General gen

While looking great value, remember they still need the maintenance and care that’s in tune with their prices when new. Mondials are hardly the most fancied Ferrari and as a result you will come across tired, rusty examples that are anything but bargains under the skin. Best to drive a few to set a datum. Before you even start hunting around, check the paperwork and see that there’s some level of service history. It’s well worthwhile having a computer data check carried out to verify its past and whether it’s been in a prang, stolen recovered or has finance still outstanding on it.

Vetting a Mondial is much harder than a Mondeo, so if you reckon that it’s beyond your ken (you won’t be alone!) then enlist an expert, preferably a well-known specialist. Failing this the owners’ club, will help you. Click on www. for assistance.

Most UK cars were rightly Rosso red, but others were silver or dark blue. Only a handful came in white. Any other colour suggests a full respray – tread carefully in this case. LHD cars are common, but not everybody likes left hookers – or can drive them – so check the offside front for damage.

The convertible hoods are usually reliable but check its operation anyway as some frames are suspect and as with all cabrios, look for damp damage to the trim and carpets. Coupe’s with sunroofs sound desirable but are known to play up – expensively!

The electrics can be troublesome. Check all the dash lights illuminate (have any craftily been disconnected?) and extinguish when they should. The powered windows are notoriously slow, but some owners reckon that wiring them directly to the battery can speed things up although we’d fit an in-line fuse for safety’s sake. Is the battery okay? It may sound a minor point but getting to the box of sparks is a real hassle, involving removing the offside front wheel and inner arch to gain access.

Bellissimo body

Mondial chassis is very sturdy and galvanised from the early 80s but must be the first port of call. Cast an eagle eye for patch repairs and have a prod around. Just as importantly, watch for kinks and patch ups signifying previous accident damage (odd tyre wear is another pointer to the latter). Check the front wings (especially by the windscreen), door bottoms (usually blocked drain holes) arches, boot bonnet and pay special attention to the sills – have the car on ramp if possible.

See that the headlamps pop up properly; wonky ones suggest a frontal clout at some point in the past. Inspect the floor and bulkheads for damp and resultant corrosion – especially on cabriolets – and check the inner wings for creasing (accident damage) and rot. Generally, though, the Mondial is on par with any other 30+ year old exotic classic.

Values and specialist view

Nick Cartwright ( hasn’t had a Mondial for sale or in the workshops for quite a few years – apart from the one he owns that is! It was bought from a customer and the engine has been in bits for some time. That sounds like apathy but Nick thinks quite highly of the model describing it as a “ good little car if a bit unexciting”.

Current valuations have Mondials with the most sitting at comfortably over £50,000 with average ones half this. Common view has the 3.2 versions the favoured picks care of the better performance over the 8v and simplicity compared to the later T although the overall condition and provenance of any version may count for more in the real world.

What To Look For

Good gear?

All gearboxes suffer from the usual Ferrari trait of being cantankerous when cold, but selecting second shouldn’t pose a problem once the oil has warmed up. Clutch wear is no worse than on any other supercar; it is not a DIY job, although is less time consuming on the T. The Valeo semi-automatic is best avoided say experts, not because it’s inherently unreliable, but it’s not nice to use.

Thoroughbred horses

These V8s are quite robust if cared for properly, sadly many Mondials won’t have had that luxury. The most important thing is to see that the timing belts have been replaced on time. Every 30,000 miles and no later is recommended; skip this job at your peril because a snapped belt will terminate the engine.

With the engine hot and running, look for smoke. A mere mist is normal but blue signifies bore wear, while a whitish fog suggests a head gasket is on the way out. Either of these faults will prove expensive to fix, but overall the V8 is a toughie.

Unlike 308s, Mondials always ran on fuel injection, mechanical Bosch K-Jetronic initially, switching over to the German’s Motronic DME on the 3.4s. Ignition is mainly Marelli. In general, all are reliable enough and any problems may be due to lack of maintenance rather than inherent maladies.

In control?

Suspensions pose few inherent problems; just look for the usual deterioration of the springs, shockers and bushes, particularly the front wishbone ones. A full set of new bushes costs around £610 from Superformance and as with all sophisticated supercars, the suspension’s geometry is not something the typical fast-fit can handle, so seek out a specialist. From new, the Mondial used Koni dampers – has a lesser make been fitted over the years to save money? The electronic damping on the later Mondial T can be troublesome, especially the variable rate dampers so check all modes. They can be rebuilt but full scale repairs still run into thousands (see our Trade Talk feature for an inexpensive alternative-ed) .

Brakes really only suffer from seizure due to lack of use although handbrakes were never that effective and need careful setting up to pass the MoT.

Three Of A Kind

Porsche 928
Porsche 928
Designed to replace the 911, the V8 928 was too fat and lazy to take its place but as a 2+2 GT it’s one of the very best you’ll find. Beautifully built and everlasting, there are plenty of good ones around at attractive prices while scrappy ones sell for pounds. Just don’t get caught in between or it will cost you. Best model is the rare-spotted GTS with manual ’box. Most 928s are autos and no cabrios were officially made.
Aston Martin Virage
Aston Martin Virage
Like Mondial, this Aston is hardly the stuff dreams are made of, and image as well as its values has suffered as a result. The Virage was developed in just two years and it showed, both in quality and dynamics. Yet a good one makes a cracking mile-eater and that trusty V8 has go to spare. Best models are the later Vantages.
Jaguar XK8
Jaguar XK8
Although age-wise the XJ-S is the chief Jaguar rival we’re opting for the XK8 due to engine compatibility. Like the Mondial, it’s a civilised V8 supercar, rarely disappointing, and is currently really well priced. The lack of a manual transmission may irk some, but the J-gate auto is a good substitute and, like all Jags, the XK8 is well appointed. XKRs are heroically fast and smooth. Lots around so be picky.
Classic Motoring

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