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Achieving a balanced and happy design for a four-seater mid-engined sports cars is not an easy exercise.

Like just about every other car enthusiast, one of my ultimate car dreams is owning a Ferrari. I deliberately say “a Ferrari” as a rather broad term, as the Italian marque is so iconic that the chosen model is almost insignificant. However, they’re in high demand from all of us enthusiasts and dreamers, which in turn has led to high prices. Almost without exception – but not quite. For that reason, it’s been clear to me for some time now that my Ferrari would be either a 308 GT4 or a 400-series.

For a long time, I was convinced that a 308 GT4 would – some day – become my first Ferrari.

Truth be told, that’s a very practical and financial consideration – but still, neither are bad choices. I actually really like both models – both in terms of design, history and all the rest. Granted, I’m not quite as fond of the associated cost of service and maintenance on the latter. The bigger 400-series was in period extremely expensive and the upkeep followed suit.

Though I’m quite fond of the 400-series too. One even gets a V12 with it – not bad!

But I’m not the only one who has seen the light, as many other Ferrari enthusiasts have recently thrown their love upon these two models, thereby driving the prices northbound and closer to the usually expected exuberant Ferrari levels. Options are far and few – that is, until you stumble across the Mondial.

Oh no, the Mondial! Hated and ridiculed by many for both its design and lack of performance. Towards the end of the models lifespan, Ferrari managed to rectify the performance issue, but the design remained largely unaltered. I suppose there wasn’t much they could do anyway. If a car is to have both a mid-engined layout and also four seats, then those seats will necessarily have to be positioned towards the very front of the car – leading to those fairly nose-heavy proportions which the Mondial suffers under.

Is it really that awful?

Or does it – I mean, suffer? I should confess that I’m starting to appreciate the Mondial more and more. Admitted, not to the extent where I feel it’s elegant or beautiful like its two-seater sibling, the 308 and 328. Not even close. In fact, it doesn’t even come close to matching its predecessor, the 308 GT4. It was of course designed by Bertone while the Mondial returned to Pininfarina – but the nose-heavy proportions are obvious on them both.

Nonetheless, the Mondial seems to have matured to the point where I could actually see one living in my garage. Or is it in fact me who has matured enough to lower my standards to what is physically achievable? I’m not sure to be honest. I’m also not entirely sure whether age is a factor: Is the Mondial an old-mans-Ferrari?

Or is it all wrong having four seats in a mid-engined Ferrari? The marque hasn’t produced another since the Mondial was discontinued.

Only recently, I met a man who spoke very positively and warmly about his old Mondial. In a slightly perplexed tone he even remarked that “everything works on it”. He didn’t mention beauty though. And neither did I. We also didn’t talk about prices – probably because we both knew perfectly well that the Mondial is at the very bottom of the hierarchy. Also on that account, one could be tempted to say.

But there’s no denying the facts. With a mid-eighties Mondial sporting four valves per cylinder, you get a real 240 km/h car. Mid-engined layout. Retractable headlights. Pininfarina. Leather. V8. Wedge. And not least, that family name! If you just dream of owning a Ferrari, a Mondial will tick that box too. Currently there is no doubt that it is the cheapest entry ticket to the promised land of the Prancing Horse. Both to purchase and to maintain.

The question is, though – is that enough?

My Mondial will have to be blue.

 

 

6 Responses

  1. Anders Bilidt
    I’m no doubt of a minority here, but I truly have no desire to own a Ferrari. That probably sounds absurd to most. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m by no means “a hater”. In fact, I have a lot of respect for their history and all that Enzo achieved. Especially some of the 60s Ferrari’s were fabulous! But today I find them somewhat hyped, and for the money they fetch, it’s easy for me to find other classics which I would much rather own.

    All that said, if I had to choose a Ferrari and it couldn’t be a 250 GT Lusso or a 330 GTC, Claus, I would then strongly agree with the 308 GT4. I’ve always really appreciated the crisp styling – also back when everyone else cursed the model. In fact, I find it more interesting than its popular sibling, the 308 GTB.
    The Mondial isn’t near as nice, but at least it has that oddball-outsider-underdog appeal. If I really had to drive one, mine would have to be brown. Just to offend the self-confessed purists… ;-)

    Reply
  2. Claus Ebberfeld
    Brown is good, . I’m with you all the way on brown.

    But maybe I should be more specific as to which Ferrari I dream about: I see I wrote “A Ferrari”, but what I meant was “a classic Ferrari”. The definition is not quite clear, of course, but I’d say anything up to the 328 qualifies in my world.

    In fact I am also with you regarding the Sixties’ Ferraris, but sadly not a single Ferrari from that decade falls within my definition of affordable.

    Reply
  3. YrHmblHst
    Hmmm….been having the same thoughts myself. Just dont know if I can get past the Mondials looks… [mine would hafta be a coupe and preferably blue also] As even the 308GT4 has progressed past most folks financial means, it looks to be our ‘last chance’ for most of us.
    I have ALWAYS loved the looks of the 400 – still do. maintenance tho is indeed a concern…
    naturally, if money isnt an issue, a 250GT L[usso] is the top of ones Ferrari list. Or any other list for that matter. But go easy on these mondial articles wouldya? The same type stuff started appearing regularly a few years ago about 308GT4s, and we see what happened there. Wait til I make my final decision about whether to buy one or not, wouldya? :)
    Reply
  4. Tony Wawryk
    I have to admit that in profile, in blue (per the pic above), the Mondial looks OK, but from just about every other angle, it just looks clumsy. Like Anders, the Ferrari’s that interest me are from the 60s and 70s – I’m impressed by many of the modern (by which I mean 348 onwards) ones, but I don’t want them the way I want a Dino in Gallo Fly or a blue 330 GTC, but there’re a bunch of Porsches I want first…
    Reply
  5. Claus Ebberfeld
    Please, guys – stop driving up the prices of blue Mondials, would you, and @tony-wawryk ??!

    As such I absolutely agree with you, Tony – but there seems to be NOTHING affordable Ferrari from the Sixties left at all.

    Reply
  6. Tony Wawryk
    @ce – Claus, the field is yours :) – there’re a number for sale on carandclassic.co.uk for around the £30k mark, although none are blue, unfortunately.
    Reply

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