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Ferrari Mondial

Ferrari Mondial Published: 8th May 2018 - 0 Comments - Be the first, contribute now!

Ferrari Mondial
Ferrari Mondial
Ferrari Mondial
Ferrari Mondial
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A Mondial for Mondeo money? Not anymore but this facetious four-seater is still the cheapest route into Ferrari ownership

Why you may fancy one

There’s no such thing as a ‘bad’ Ferrari although it’s true that the Mondial hardly ranks as one of the greatest as a classic. What, when, where, how and why did this sea change of opinion occur isn’t quite clear because the Mondial was much lauded when new. And why not? Here was 2+2 Ferrari for all the family and what’s more, it’s mid-engined like the best of supercars and this chassis arrangement went on to provide the base for the 360.

This lack of popularity has ensured that prices have remained decidedly un-Ferrarilike although Mondials are not the bargains they once were a decade ago. Still you can’t consider £25,000 overly expensive as TR6s can go for that and at least you can say that you owned a Ferrari once in your life…

History

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.

1982 To answer criticisms of a lack of go, a Quattrovalvole (four-valve) engine was fitted. 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 An attractive cabriolet joined the range and was the company’s first new rag top since the Daytona.

1985/87 Now a fully fledged 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.

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 first 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. 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 chunk on offer.

Driving

Maranello mis-fit or a much misjudged masterpiece, because if you read the road tests of that time, then it was one of the best Ferraris yet! Having said all that, as ever, the truth lies somewhere in between. True, performance on the 8v cars was nothing special when new and, today, a good diesel will beat a Mondial, especially if age has taken its toll on the engine – as it has on many. But 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 V8 will be enough for many. The 32-valver is notably quicker and has more torque, but the 3.2 and 3.4 can wear the famous badge equally with distinction.

If the Mondial’s pace is slightly dubious, then the handling is more universally acclaimed, praised for its sensitivity and user friendliness – displaying far less twitchiness than the shorter-wheelbased GT4.

As a Ferrari for families, Mondial’s rear seats are quite bearable for most-sized offsprings, if not fully-grown folk. However, it’s appreciably roomier than the GT4, although storage space is minimal and the boot little more than adequate for four. But it easily suffices, just like the rest of the car.

Best models

If money were no object, then it’s the Mondial T because it benefits from all the development that went into the model and it is the much sportier drive. Coupé or Cabriolet? Well that’s up to on how you like your head gear but the open-topped model not only provides pose value but Pininfarina managed to give the canvas top the same line as the coupé, and this clever folding mechanism allowed the hood to fold away neatly behind the seats.

Also, despite the absence of a roll-bar, the lack of a roof was compensated by the strong tubular chassis to which the aluminium body panels were welded to reduce scuttle shake and the open topped model doesn’t feel appreciably floppier than the coupé, and that’s no mean feat.

Of the earlier versions, you do get the short straw with the 8v as its performance is little better than many mundane moderns but is the traffic light Grand Prix important to you? It sounds like Ferrari and has the revvy engine you’d expect even if the 214 horses are a little lame. The flip side is lower prices as the majority will steer towards the Quattrovalvole or the 3.2 and with good reason as the car’s character is transformed although you’d only know by comparing them back-to-back. What you will find however is that 8vs are usually in the poorest state.

That’s the perennial problem with buying any old supercar; while their prices may be cheap, their running costs won’t be and bargain Ferraris are no exception – some jobs, such as cambelt and clutch changes, require engine removal – bank on £1500 for belt changes alone… But try to run one on a shoestring and that’s when the big bills start to roll in warn Ferrari specialists.

Prices

A decade ago you could find Mondials mixing it with Mondeos on mainstream forecourts at well under £15,000, such was their lack of popularity. But as Ferrari values soared, the Mondial was dragged along and some valuators price them as much as fifty grand and a bit more for cabrios; a 20,000 mile 3.4T is currently being advertised for a tenner under 70K yet an even lower mileage 3.2 is ticketed for half this so, prices vary but there’s a clutch of examples in the £20K-£30K bracket and you’ll find left-hand drive examples, either abroad or UK-registered, even cheaper.

Verdict

We reckon Mondials are much maligned and have a lot to offer anybody after a ‘affordable’ Ferrari. It may not be the most evocative of models Enzo ever turned out, but it’s not as bad as it’s made out to be either plus being a 2+2, with a good dose of practicality, it will appeal to those with a young family who can equally enjoy the Ferrari experience – so you can hardly be accused of being self-centred and selfish!

Five top faults

1. VALUE While they look great value, remember they still need the maintenance and care that’s in tune with their prices when new. Mondials are hardly the most loved Ferrari and you will come across a fair few tired examples that are anything but bargains under the skin. And drive a few to set a datum.

2. EXPERT HELP Vetting a Mondial is harder than a Mondeo, so if you reckon that it’s beyond your ken then enlist an expert, preferably a well-known specialist. Failing this the owners’ club, will help you. Click on http://www.ferrariownersclub.co.uk for assistance.

3. RUST As the earliest is almost 40 years old, rusty Mondials are not unknown. Look for corrosion on the – admittedly sturdy – chassis that was galvanised from the early 80s. Check the floor and bulkheads for damp and resultant corrosion – especially on the cabriolets of course – and inspect the inner wings for creasing (indicating previous, poorly repaired accident damage) and rot.

4. COLOUR 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 and perhaps new suspension and brake parts.

5. ENGINE The most important thing is to see that the timing belts have been replaced every 30,000 miles and no later. But, skip this outlay at your peril because a snapped belt will wreck the engine.

Ditto valve clearance settings. With the engine hot, look for smoking. A light mist is normal but any thing blue hazed signifies bore wear, while a whitish fog suggests a failing head gasket.



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