Market Finds: Is This Mondial Your Affordable Entry Into Ferrari Ownership?

Is This Mondial Your Affordable Entry Into Ferrari Ownership?

By Andrew Golseth
June 1, 2016

Photography Courtesy of Auctions America

Ferrari. It’s hard to think of a more arousing, adored, and applauded automobile marque so widely idolized—both by gearheads and the rest of mankind who normally treat vehicles simply as tools of convenience. The Italian icon has produced some of the world’s most beautiful and historically significant cars of all time.

With such an impressive catalog of illustrious racecars and equally lustworthy production cars, we tend to forget not all Ferraris are cherished equally. Some, in fact, seemed to have a universal loathing. No other Ferrari carries such detest like the Mondial—though, it sold quite well when new.

More commonly viewed as a stumbling donkey rather than a prancing horse, the Mondial received mixed reviews upon its release in 1980. Despite being designed by Pininfarina, its conservative styling and underwhelming performance were harshly scrutinized against the model’s high price tag. Succeeding the 208/308 GT4, the Mondial was designed to be Ferrari’s most “practical” road car, a target that’s likely the reasoning for critique.

Instead of a monocoque chassis, the Mondial’s Carrozzeria Scaglietti constructed steel body was mated to a box-section space frame. The suspension, engine, and transmission are mounted on detachable subframes, which allow for easier and cheaper maintenance. This ’85 year model is a Quattrovalvole, featuring a redesigned four-valve head with Formula 1-inspired combustion chambers. These modifications increased power output by 35 ponies over the early two-valve cars for a total of 240 horsepower.

Ferrari began offering a lidless model in 1983, with only 629 convertibles built before production ceased in 1985—making the QV Cabriolets the rarest of all the Mondial variations. It’s worth noting when the Mondial Cabriolet debuted it was the first mid-engine four-seater convertible production car. Although coupes are generally more desirable, this exceptional all-original black drop top QV Cab‘ looks the part with the soft-top back, displaying the tan Connolly leather upholstery beautifully—bonus points for the Cabriolet’s canvas shape retaining the coupe’s flying buttress design.

No, it’s not the prettiest Ferrari, nor is it the quickest or best handling car to hail from Maranello, but it is a Ferrari—and relatively inexpensive. Remember, the 365/400/412 GT models were considered undesirable for years and continue to climb the market. Instead of looking at the cons, how about considering the pros? The Mondial packs a mid-engine V8 that sings beautifully, it’s got awesome ’80s flip-up headlights in a super ’70s wedge design, the cabin looks like a nice place to sit with room for four, and the clickety-clack from the gated manual gearbox is sure to put a smile on your face.

This is one of the nicest Mondials we’ve come across with less than 12,xxx miles since new. The high bidder also takes home accompanying owner’s manuals/books, original tool kit, and jack. Being a pristine QV model in great colors, it looks like a fun summer driver with a lot of character for relatively little coin.

– One 0f 629 Mondial Cabriolets
– 11,xxx miles since new

~240 horsepower 3.0-liter Tipo F105A 32-valve V8, five-speed gated manual transmission, independent double wishbone suspension, and four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,650 mm.

Vehicle information
Chassis no.: ZFFUC15A9FOO56173

Auction house: Auctions America
Estimate: $25,000 – $35,000
Price realized: Auction on June 25

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Charles Cloutier
Charles Cloutier
3 years ago

I own a 1987 3.2 Coupe and love it. After a trip to Goodwood Revival 2014, I test drove a 1985 QV on a lark and was impressed – Up ’till then my first Ferrari was going to be a 328. The Mondials look great in the flesh.

The 3.2 is quick and solid. If you are tall or have long legs, the Mondi is much roomier. Pininfarina design, pop up headlights, round tail lights, 328 engine and transmission (though slightly shorter final drive), and a gated shifter…all for half the price of a 328. The previous owner marveled at the handling and comfort afforded by the wheelbase, juxtaposed to his Euro Porsche 911 turbo of same era.

Nobody would have thought the 308 GT4s (2+2) would ever be as loved and sought after as they are now. They are carbureted and lighter but the 328 engine is cheaper to maintain. (And it’s fun not being the third 3×8 or 360 at the local ‘cars and coffee’ or at the track for holiday laps).

The Mondial is an under-appreciated gem that is always a joy to drive.

5 years ago

Beautiful car, if it is well sorted and you can get it for less than 30K – steal.

5 years ago

It’s a good car for the price it currently trades for, which can hardly EVER be said about a Ferrari. Get a coupe though, for better structural rigidity (I’ve worked on Ferraris that have had the tops chopped off, structural rigidity can be a problem). I recommend the Mondial T, it has a better transaxle setup than the earlier engine/tranny designs.

5 years ago

Geee, complaints that a Ferrari is expensive to maintain? Aren’t they all?

5 years ago
Reply to  Rockdad

This statement is winner.

Greg Gagne
Greg Gagne(@ggagne8706)
5 years ago

Entry level Ferrari for me is the Testarossa. If I was to get a Ferrari that would be the one and is in my grasp financially. While the Mondial might be cheap to buy initially the maintenance will surely not be nor will it be easy maintenance either. This coming from a guy who doesn’t have much of a problem maintaining fully an early 90’s BMW 8 series and 7 series. It’s the same kind of deal with the “cheap” to buy Maseratis out there. At least with the Mondial you trade harder to find (but source able nonetheless) car parts for electronics that you can’t work on yourself. To do a clutch replacement you have to have the Maserati dealer level tools and unlike BMW’s set of tools for example they haven’t made it into the wild yet. I’m a very adept diy mechanic / fabricator but I wouldn’t buy a Mondial. Yes the Testarossa is going to be much more difficult to maintain but in my eyes it is a proper Ferrari so I can live with that.

5 years ago
Reply to  Greg Gagne

It’s all about getting a properly sorted one. Many have been abused and not properly maintained. A Mondial that has been treated with the maintenance it deserved is quite reliable. If not – yes – can be horror story (same can be said with other cars 30+ years old)

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
5 years ago

The QV versions were much improved over the original Mondial 8. My Dad brought an 8 new and described it as possibly the worst car he ever owned (out of 103). I doubt age will have improved a terrible gearbox and gutless engine.

Having said that it’s a Ferrari convertible for the price of a used BMW 3 series cabriolet

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
5 years ago

OK .. first off looks [ and reputation ] aside the Mondial is a pretty damn respectable performer matching or exceeding its older sister 308 GT4 that it replaced in every aspect as well as being well within range of the more desirable 308GTB .

But here’s the downside … unlike the 365/400i/412 … the comparison of which is more than a little irrelevant ** …. the Mondial was built in droves … has a V8 rather than a much more desirable V12 … and from the beginning was always considered the Hair Dresser / Trophy Wife / Poofter/ Poser/Mid Life Crisis Divorcee Ferrari .. whereas the 365/400i/412 was always thought of as a serious Ferrari albeit a businessman’s coupe Ferrari .

But here’s the real kicker …. sure the Mondial is going for Camry prices to get into ….. but once you have …. you’ll discover toot suite that repairs and maintenance not to mention parts and service for the most part exceeds the cost of its older 308GT4 as well as the much more desirable 308GTB/328 siblings .

Which is to say the Mondial is the classic Ferrari version of the ole bait and switch …. you got in cheap … but brother you’ll be taken for a ride once you have … and the odds of you ever recouping your investment is next to nil

** Comparing the Modial to the 365/400i/412 siblings is like trying to compare Apples and Oranges. In fact on 2nd though Apples and Oranges doesn’t even come close . More like Apples and a a Frog . With nary a princess in sight willing to kiss said frog .

5 years ago
Reply to  Guitar Slinger

Not sure where you got your repair/maintenance pricing differential for a Mondial vs the 308GTB/328.

Yes for the ‘t’, but the 8, qv, and 3.2 share the same exact drivetrain as the 308/328.