I bought a Mondial t 4 and a half years ago, and I still get giddy driving it after all these years. Correct maintenance is not cheap, but it’s all relative. I spent 20K over that time (including a full recent engine out, and all consumables like tires, brakes, liquids, etc.) But mine was in bad shape when I got it, so I expected this. I spent 8K (A/C failed twice, cat failed, 105K service, etc.) on my Honda in the same period, so it’s not like other marques are immune to maintenance requirements. Now that I’ve sorted everything, the costs are relatively minimal.
The problem was many people that had no business buying a Ferrari bought it when you could get it for the price of a fully loaded Camry. Some people buy a Ferrari with the wrong mindset. So folks buy Ferrari forgetting that maintenance is super necessary to have an enjoyable experience and skimp on the latter.
Buying a Ferrari like just buying a ticket to Walt Disney World, the ticket is just the beginning. You still should have money for the flight to Florida, the hotels, restaurants, souvenirs, photos, kid supplies, travel bags, clothes, parking, uber, etc.
So people skimp on maintenance, and guess what? You have a crap Ferrari. Think those parents you see at Walt Disney world having a miserable time because “Churros are $5.00 for one, and I have three kids – and everything is so “damn expensive!”
I’ve also owned the Ferrari ‘killer’ of the epoch, the NSX, so I think I’m a qualified answer the question people here have asked: “how does it drive?” — It’s very visceral, and old school (think shakes, rattle, and bumps). – This is a good thing in my opinion. Even though the NSX was faster, the Mondial t – ‘feels’ faster just because you feel everything so much more. The open top convertible also makes it an exhilarating experience. It will do 1/4s the high 13s. Nothing to brag about in today’s world – but not deathly slow either.
The best thing to me though is the forgivable handling. I get away with things in this car that would put me in a ravine with others. Very communicative at the limit, and announces it’s intention to oversteer in advance. It was a welcome characteristic after coming from say an S2000 AP1 with its notorious snap oversteer.
The snickety clack of the rifle bolt shifter is different than smooth and buttery Japanese shifters. I prefer the more mechanical clank-snick vs. the pfst-bump of new manuals. That’s just me. So suffice it to say, I prefer the Ferrari gated over the NSX and S2000 shifter.
The sound. OMG – the music – the flat crank goodness of the Tipo 119 is aural Prozac. Save yourself hundreds of dollars from therapy fees and just plug yourself into that seat and enjoy the mechanical orchestra that is mere feet behind you with no insulation, or foam sound deadening – just a thin grate of venting between your ears and the glorious Ferrari V8, the same exact engine as the early 348s.
Finally, what makes these cars so endearing is precise that they are not very popular. It provides a unique Ferrari ownership experience. True enthusiasts like John Pogson know the naysayers are blowing smoke, any authentic Tifosi would also know these cars are grossly underappreciated, laypersons think it’s the Magnum P.I. Car, and the rest?
Well anybody that denigrates the car beyond subjective aesthetics has just allowed you to separate those sincerely “in the know” from that guy that says “I heard/read somebody that said these are horrible cars, so they are bad.” Drive one — seriously, and until you do, you’re missing out.