Friday 7 August 2015
The Ferrari Mondial is an automobile that was produced by Ferrari from 1980 through 1993. It replaced the 208/308 GT4. The "Mondial" name came from Ferrari's history — the 500 Mondial race car of the early 1950s. Despite its predecessor being Bertone styled, the Mondial saw Ferrari return to Pininfarina for styling. Sold as a mid-sized coupe and, eventually a cabriolet. Conceived as a 'usable' model, offering the practicality of four seats and the performance of a Ferrari. The car had a slightly higher roofline than its stablemates, with a single long door either side, offering easy access and good interior space, reasonable rear legroom while all-round visibility was excellent. The cabriolets also hold the distinction of being the only production automobile in history that has four seats, is rear mid-engined, and be a full convertible.
The Mondial, produced in fairly high numbers for a Ferrari, with more than 6,100 produced in its 13-year run, and was one of Ferrari's most commercially successful models. The car body was not built as a monocoque in the same way as a conventional car. The steel outer body was produced by the famous Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Scaglietti, just down the road in nearby Modena, built over a lightweight steel box-section space frame. The engine cover and rear luggage compartment lids are in light alloy. The seats and interior were trimmed in Connolly hide, contrasting with the body color. Most cars were painted rosso red, but some were black or silver, and a few were dark blue.
The Mondial was the first Ferrari car where the entire engine/gearbox/rear suspension assembly is on a detachable steel subframe. This design made engine removal for a major rebuild or cylinder head removal much easier than it was on previous models. Unusually, the handbrake is situated between the driver's seat and the inner sill. Once the handbrake is set it drops down so as, not to impede egress and ingress. Instead of the conventional "H" shift pattern, the gearbox has 1st gear situated in a "dog leg" to the left and back, behind reverse. This pattern allows quicker gear shifts between 2nd and 3rd gear, and also between 4th and 5th.
The Mondial underwent many updates throughout production. There were four distinct iterations (8, QV, 3.2, and t), with the latter 3 having two variations each. (coupe and cabriolet)
Starting with the 1980-1982 Mondial 8, what was intended to serve as the touring car vehicle within the Ferrari lineup, proved to be a disappointment to some Ferrari enthusiasts. Safety requirements also forced Ferrari to install large black colored bumpers that some felt was awkward in design. The automotive press at release was not unanimously critical of the Mondial 8, although retrospective articles have often relegated the Mondial 8 as being overrated. Time magazine went on to include the Mondial 8 as one of the 50 worst cars of all time. Also included in Top Gear's search of the Worst Car In The World. (though choosing the vaunted F50 as being 'even worse'.) Some stigma bestowed upon later Mondial iterations trace to a few negative articles intended for the Mondial 8.
A common misconception of the Mondial 8 is it was a poor performer. The three major US automotive publications (MotorTrend, Car & Driver, and Road & Track) all published reviews in the fall of 1981. Road & Track and Car & Driver yielded disappointing performance results. MotorTrend's review was much more favorable and had performance on par with the 308 GTB/GTS QV and Porsche 928. There was never any definitive conclusion on the performance disparity, Automobile magazine had suggested not being broken in as being the culprit of their observed 0-60 time. (as the MotorTrend review had a fully broken in sample.)
Ferrari quickly addressed the criticism by upgrading the engine just two years later in 1982 with a new four-valve head. This model known as the Mondial Quattrovalvole or QV. It shared its engine with the contemporary 308 GTB/GTS QV A new cabriolet version also introduced that would be carried forward to the two subsequent models. These models produced between 1982-1985. This model was better received by the automotive press and the public, however two of the three previous poor reviews for the Mondial 8 caused negative perceptions that would follow the Mondial line. This model had a four-year production run until 1985.
The next evolution would be the Mondial 3.2, which saw the engine grow in power (266HP) and styling refreshed. This car enjoys much popularity due to one of the last Ferrari to have a relatively reliable and approachable maintenance of the 328 drivetrain and additional power. Enthusiasts consider the Mondial 3.2 as the best "all around" iteration considering cost of maintenance.
The final model (1989-1993), the Mondial t was the biggest change for the model. With a larger engine (300HP), a much substantial update to styling, interior ergonomics, and a completely different engine layout. Many consider the Mondial t as the best iteration, although at the cost of higher upkeep costs.
The Mondial was introduced as the Mondial 8 at the 1980 Geneva Auto Salon. It was the first Ferrari to depart from the company's familiar 3-digit naming scheme and some reviews found it fairly mild, relative to other Ferraris, in terms of performance, drawing criticism from some in the motoring press. It used a mid/rear-mounted Bosch K-Jetronic fuel injection V8, shared with the 308 GTBi/GTSi, mounted transversely. The engine was originally used in the 1973 Dino 308 GT4. The K-Jetronic system is mechanical, with a high-pressure pump which streams fuel continuously to the injectors; it does not have a computer, just a few relays to handle the cold start sequence etc. The chassis was also based on the 308 GT4, but with a 100-millimetre-longer (3.9 in) wheelbase at 2,650 mm (104.3 in). The suspension was the classic layout of unequal-length double wishbones and Koni dampers all around.
Today, the Mondial 8 is considered one of the marque's most "practical" vehicles, due to its 214 hp (160 kW), proven drivetrain, four seats, and relatively low cost of maintenance (major services can be performed without removing the entire engine/transmission subframe). 703 examples were made. At the time of release, the base price was $64,000 (or $183,000 in 2015 dollars.)
- engine: V8
- capacity: 3000 cc
- horsepower: 214 HP
- gearbox: 5+1
- top speed: 260 km/h