Sale of the Week

Is this $83,000 Mondial the death of cheap Ferraris?

by Andrew Newton
3 June 2022 3 min read
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Ferraris aren’t supposed to be cheap. Ever the high-performance status symbol, they evoke racing royalty like Schumacher and Surtees, or cologne ad fantasies like blasting down the Pacific Coast Highway with a supermodel in the passenger seat. For mere mortals like us, a Ferrari is a prohibitively expensive purchase and—thanks to sky-high costs for parts and specialized labor—ruinously expensive to own, too. That said, there are a few exceptions from Maranello that have historically let people live out Ferrari dreams on a Fiat budget.

The Mondial is the most well-known of these. For some time, it’s been the cheap Ferrari. So when one sold for $82,950 online this week (33 grand more than its #1 value in the Hagerty Price Guide), we sat up a little straighter in our seats and started asking questions. Is nothing sacred anymore? Is there even such a thing as an entry-level Ferrari these days? Is this much money for a Mondial a sign of peak market craziness?

Bring a Trailer/mclarenscottsdale

Even when new, the Mondial was an entry-level model. Introduced in 1980 to replace the Dino 308 GT4, Ferrari used the French word for “global” as the car’s name, hinting at their desire to expand sales and reach into less exclusive territory. It wasn’t particularly fast or pretty, and as a 2+2, it could be derided as the family man’s Ferrari. In Ferrari math, 2+2 always equals less cool, and with Testarossas and F40s stealing the show, they just didn’t print many Mondial bedroom posters.

It nevertheless sold very well, with about 7,000 built over a 14-year production run. What’s more, it got consistently better over time. A more powerful four-valve “Quattrovalvole” (QV) version arrived in 1983, followed by a wind-in-the-hair cabriolet in 1984. In 1986, the engine grew to 3.2 liters, the interior improved, and the wheels got bigger. ABS came in 1987, and in 1989 the Mondial T came out with a new 3.4-liter engine now mounted longitudinally in the chassis to a transverse gearbox (hence the “T”).

Even with the constant improvement, the combination of poor image and plentiful supply has kept Mondials at the bottom of the Ferrari totem pole. Once they hit the used car market, they got cheap and stayed there. To add insult to injury, with expensive Ferrari maintenance as inevitable as death and taxes, subsequent Mondial owners frequently had a habit of deferring repairs. This further devalued the cars when they came to sale and didn’t do the Mondial’s market reputation any favors, either.

That's why we put the Mondial on our list of the market's most unloved Ferraris a few months ago. Since then, we've seen signs that it's beginning to get some more attention, and indeed values have crept up a few percent. Even so, this week's $83,000 car still seems well ahead of the curve.

It's not perfect by Ferrari standards—the A/C needs a refresh and there appears to have been a minor rear-end hit in its past—but by Mondial standards it's still very good. An 11,863-mile "T" model in classic colors represented with recent maintenance (timing belt, catalytic converters, radiator, hood shocks, brakes, control arm bushings), it ticks a lot of the right boxes. Not enough boxes, however, to justify the "perfect-plus" price point it achieved, at least in our eyes.

Back to our original question: is the cheap Ferrari an endangered species or is it downright extinct? Now, one sale doesn't make the market, but this isn't the only big-money Mondial sale lately. Six of them have sold for over 60 grand on Bring a Trailer alone in the past six months, and RM Sotheby's sold a 5000-mile car for an eye-popping $100,100 back in March. Several have sold for surprisingly high results at European auctions this year as well. That other quintessential poor man's Ferrari – the 400/12 – has seen its price guide value jump 28-43 percent over the past year, too.

Pretty much everything with a prancing horse badge, then, is now beyond what anybody would call "entry level." What this means for the rest of the hobby isn't clear, but it still seems like one of those end-of-an-era moments worth acknowledging. Let's pour one out for the affordable Ferrari.

Comments

  • Howard Scott says:

    I own a 1987 3.2 Cab, and in 1987, the car was actually priced higher from the factory than a comparable 328, so I’m not sure about the “entry level” claim.

  • Jamie Sadler says:

    I’ve been a Mondial owner since 2002. (‘83 QV Cab.). The car is 39, I’m 71. Early in my relationship with Ferrari Chat someone told me my stated intention and attention wrt the car was exactly correct. That is, “Your job throughout your time with the Mondial is to maintain and improve it to the highest level you can afford – until you pass it on the the next person.” Most of us have ultimately “lost money” by keeping the car in order; some unfortunately let the car deteriorate over long periods, or abused it over shorter periods.

    Bottom line: the car deserves all it can get FROM us. Drive a well-sorted Mondial over hills and through valleys Gran Touring style to discover why.

  • Lawrence says:

    Oh boy, Hagerty cannot even get its facts straight. The Mondial was not the entry level Ferrari. The 308/328 was. The Mondial was a step above that with the 400i/412i being above it. In period the reviews were favorable, even the styling was liked at the time. Handling was noted to be superior to the 308/328 due to its longer wheelbase. Acceleration was worse due to the increased weight while utilizing the exact same drivetrain.

    The performance for the time was, fine, with only one review of an American Mondial 8 doing poorly. 10 second 0-60 in that review, elsewhere it was 7 seconds or less. For the 80s that was sporting. It was not a powerful car, but an 85 QV had more hp than a 5.7 Litre Vette despite only 3 Litres of displacement. (American Version, European had more)

    It wasn’t until later years when it became a cheap unloved car. That said it has a gated 5 speed manual, manual steering with excellent feel, and makes a glorious noise. It does not suffer from expensive engine out services until you get the T model. Parts are available. The knowledge to work on them is available on the internet. The drivetrains are extremely reliable unlike the much praised 355.

  • Gary says:

    I’m in South Africa and own an 85 model RHD with 64000 kms on the clock. It’s in beautiful condition and simply pure raw fun. I purchased it specifically as I wanted to take my young kids in it and show them the ferrari experience. They are now true fans and love every minute in it. It been hassle free and costs me very little to service. It’s a great car regardless of the stigma attached to it. Unfortunately I’ve put it up for sale as my schedule has changed and I don’t get time in it as it’s stored offsite.

  • Kansas Roedo says:

    Damn, another Ferrari I can’t afford.

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