I felt compelled to write a few words on what I’ve seen all over the web with this much maligned vehicle. I’ve been thinking about this a lot and believe much of the derision is multifaceted. I wanted to break down how I see it.
One of the reasons for crying foul of course is the 4 seats – we see much of the same criticism today with cars such as the Porsche Panamera and FF. Ferrari is equated to ‘uncompromising’ performance – hence any ‘dilution’ so to speak can be frowned upon. I think this is an invalid criticism since the value one places on extra space (albeit for small ones or short people) is mainly based on the individual’s current aims. I can no more criticize validly if somebody prefers a 911 turbo or a Panamera Turbo. Sure, if one were forced to pick one to race on the track, the answer is obvious. –but I have yet to be on a track. To be sure magazine racers will point at the 0-60 and ¼ mile times and emphasize the superiority of one car to another – but if one seeks a 4 seat, open top, mid-engine vehicle – there is only 1 car in the world that meets your needs. I’m a very social, outgoing, extroverted type. Enjoying my passions with family and friends is huge on my list. Being able to have a drive with my *whole* family…in a Ferrari is simply a priceless option for me.
This is the one area that is literally based on the individual opinion. Many say it is ugly – they are all entitled to that opinion – I think Mondials are gorgeous. That being said, a large contingent of folks do not think to highly of the design. I fully concede I may be in the minority. That being said – I argue I have the greatest advantage on my side….that is time. Every car, no matter how great has a dip in value (exception to hyper limited production models) That cool car you drool after starts losing is ‘freshness’ the moment it is showcased in this month’s car magazine. Especially in the exotic world – the race to make ever more radical, eye catching, head turning models is the lifeblood of the industry. Every new car begins its journey to insignificance the moment it is driven off the lot….until it hits the bottom. At that point – given enough time, my argument is no matter how ‘goofy ,’ ‘strange ,’ ‘ugly’ car was starts to displace these sentiments purely on the rarity factor.
Case in point – some 60s and 70s cars are plain ugly – but when I see one no matter how ‘tainted’ it is that is in good condition today – I say ‘cool’ man. The Mondial is 34 years now. Give another 10 years – most people that see it would not even have been born when the design first came out.
The Mondial often had performance that was lower than their stable mates, especially the earlier 8 model – they were heavier and had average performance. To be fair, I think this was valid criticisms in the 80s. As time goes on, however, nobody buys a vintage Ferrari to beat all class A cars on the track. If that were the goal, one would simply buy a Corvette/Lotus Exige and be done with it. These cars by no means will beat most sports cars of today, that is true – that is assuming one is interested in stop light engagements. To some street racing is a way of life – to the father of two young girls – I argue it is ignorance. To be fair, as the Mondial evolved – the performance has grown and in its final version – 300HP is my no means a slogger. I do not mind that a modern day Accord/Camry V6 can probably beat me 0-60 – that’s not why I bought the car, I bought it to feel the spine tingling (and really feel) V8 howl when running to redline, I bought it because I do not need to race somebody at the stoplight I bought it because nobody stops and says “Awesome Car” regularly in the parking lot in a 911. Or points and whispers to their mates ‘Ferrari….’
Another huge criticism is they were very EXPENSIVE in terms of what you got back in performance relative to what you can do with Porshe/Americana Muscle/Etc at the time – combine that with the exorbitant dealer maintenance cost, and you get a bunch of detractors. This is mostly true. However, this is true for any exotic – so it does not make it any different than the Mondials counterparts.
A huge plus about the relatively low price is I am fortunate that the price of entry allowed me to fulfill a dream (the closest car that would have meet most my wants was the California, which I am not prepared at this stage in my life to invest in), But even that car was not mid-engined – something that was part of my ‘dream’ so to speak.