Ferrari Mondial

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The name is the giveaway to Ferrari’s intentions with this model. There are no cryptic numbers in it, so B-list personalities in Ferrari knock-off red caps can calculate the overall engine capacity from the three-digit nomenclature.

This one has a name, and that name is Mondial. It’s Italian for global, making this car an everyman (and woman) Ferrari long before Ford made its play for global homogeneity with its Mondeo.

At launch in 1980, one magazine raved that it was ‘the closest you'll get to supercar family transport’. That statement could also be read as a damning condemnation, but time changes perceptions. Now the Mondial lives in automotive limbo. ‘The Ferrari that took the super out of supercar’ is a more recent assessment.

Both statements have truth in them, for the fact is the Mondial lacks definition. But they have also helped to make the Mondial coupe just about the most affordable, easy-to-live with, practical and economic latter day Ferrari.

So what is the Mondial? It began where the earlier 2+2 308GT4 left off, with the same mid-engine 3.0-litre V8 layout, but on a lengthened wheelbase.

In place of the Bertone belligerence, the Pininfarina-penned Mondial was a poem in politeness: better appointed, more comfortable, with more genuine 2+2 accommodation, and still good for 140mph.

Then it got better: the quattrovalvole (QV) version of 1982 saw power boosted to 240bhp. The cabriolet came out in 1983, in 1985 the engine grew to 3.2 litres, and in 1989 the Mondial T, for transversale, followed F1 layout with a longitudinal 300bhp 3.4-litre V8 and transverse gearbox. The T offered another Ferrari first, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering, along with air-con as standard.

When production ended in 1993 the Mondial had sold 6,800 units, more than any Ferrari before. In Ferrari terms that made it a ‘world car’ and a great success. That means it was popular, you might even say common, and that’s why the Ferrari Fascisti deride the Mondial.

They’re wrong to, for the Mondial provided the template for today’s more civilised four-seater Ferraris. It was also the most civilised Ferrari of its day.

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Ferrari Mondial Statistics

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