So one of the many things I’ve been learning about Ferrari ownership is the different paradigms about practically everything.  Case in point, the length of time one would expect for work to be done on the car.  Since these are exotics, everything takes 10 times as long and unfortunately, things of course cost 10 times as much as other cars.  Just one of the things about these hand built masterpieces to know.

Johannes at Dino Motors has been working on my car, and he has been really cool.  He’s one of the most sought after Ferrari/Italian independent shops in the San Francisco bay area so he’s always in demand.  His shop is full of different Ferraris of varying vintage and he and his trusted partner, Danny – are always swamped.

It’s been about a month since I’ve dropped off my car and he’s been fixing a bunch of few things…thankfully nothing has broken the bank (yet.)

So far the culprit of the engine stall was electrical – (Fixed)

While fixing that – the water pipe busted (Fixed)


They replaced the Transmission fluid as what was in there was pretty old.

They checked the belts and they are cool

The fuse box is in good shape.

Spark Plugs, Fuel/Air Filter are okay.

Some things that they are checking out now is:

Broken hood latch

Broken Antenna motor (won’t go up/down)

Seat belts are stuck

Missing screws in the interior

Smog Check

I’m hoping to get the car back soon

Not Firing On All Cylinders…literally…

So I got a call from Dino motors and they said that half the engine banks are not firing – that’s what’s causing the funky engine performance.  He hasn’t pinpointed the exact problem, although it sounds very similar to what some people have suggested previously…bad ignition system, bad fuel system….hopefully the pain won’t be too bad…

More info to come.Image

Dino Motors

The closest shop to me that I’ve always seen was Dino Motors.  I gave them a call a couple weeks ago and was greeted by the friendly owner, Johannes Huwyler.   I had scheduled to have the car dropped today, and I was looking forward to meeting him in person and checking out the shop.

Dino Motors was amazing.  While small and cramped – it felt I was in the halls of an automotive temple.  Everything was nicely laid out and right in front of me was a Lamborghini Miura!  I just finished watching Jerry’s Seinfeld’s “Comedians in Cars getting Coffee” with Chris Rock and this car last week – so it was cool to see it first-hand.

Joahannes was the consummate professional – very friendly, and he took all the time to explain to me amazing things about the car.  He gave me a full tour of the shop and it was awesome to get a first-hand commentary on different Ferrari.  Saw beautiful 330s, Daytonas, 308/328s, even a 400.  I’ll report back on what is ultimately wrong with the car, but so far based on my experience – I feel fortunate to have such a shop close by my home.

Dino Motors

Johannes Huwlyer
1321 S. Railroad Ave
San Mateo, CA 94402

Workshop View from inside
Workshop View from inside


Ferrari 400
Ferrari 400
Alpha Romeo
Alpha Romeo

Dino Motors Dino Motors Dino Motors



Window Sticker

Here is the original window sticker for the car – I thought the $3,000 Gas Guzzler Tax was interesting.

So this was $109,950 in 1991 Dollars – With tax (about 8.5% in California) We’re looking at $119,295 in 1991 Dollars – If this was adjusted for inflation – we’re looking at roughly $200,000 in 2013 dollars.   Crazy


Ferrari Chat Advice

I spend a lot of time on  Before I had my car checked out by the pros – I thought I would ask around to see if anybody had any ideas on what was wrong.  A whole group, fraternity really, jumped in and lent a helping hand.  Admittedly, I was in over my head – but some thoughts from my Ferrari brethren were:

1)   Coil modules

2)   spark plug leads

3)   Bad Battery/Loose Battery Cable

4)   Broken or loose vacuum hoses

5)   Bad air filter and/or pathways

6)   Dirty throttle body

7)   “Hot start problem”

8)   Fuse box failure

9)   Engine management connectors

My goal is to bring these up with Johannes (at Dino Motors) and have him go through the list and do his best considering time/money constrains – then repeat the whole process again with “Dr. Brian Crall” with him giving a “second opinion.”  It would appear that as long as you do proper maintenance and get all the problems sorted out (and not ignore them) – This should be a fun ride.  By the way – I purchased the Ferrari from a Catholic Charity for $27,000

Took delivery of the Mondial today…

Just took delivery of my 91′ Mondial today (48K Miles) – it is a beauty.  It is much better looking in person than in photos. Also, my ‘cherry’ got popped with my first Ferrari Gremlin. When driving at slow speed or a stoplight – the engine will stop spontaneously – requiring a restart. I thought it was perhaps low on fuel, so I took it to the gas station and filled it up.*It does not seem to have a normal auto stop on fuel.

When trying to re-start it – it would not until I applied some gas and started in first gear after numerous tries.

photo (2)

I’ve scheduled some service at Brian Crall and Dino Motors to have them sort out whatever issues the car has…

Mondial not being fast…

I wanted to follow up on my comment on the Mondial not being ‘fast.’ Please do not get me wrong, I agree wholeheartedly the Mondial is by no means a slogger. My comment applies to the fact that modern day mainstream vehicles have achieved a level of straight line performance that is on par with the Mondial – hence the “supercar” performance associated with a “Ferrari” has lost some of its luster in this case.**Many of the common V6 family sedans now are suprinsingly quick in a striaght line.

Now it is a fool’s errand to attempt to “magazine” race using pure numbers. “Fast” is also a relative term, a Hummer will think a Prius is fast. A Prius will think an Accord V6 is fast. An Accord V6 will think a C7 is Fast. A C7 will think a Bugatti Veyron is fast…

I’ve divided cars into 5 main categories when describing straight line performance (what most would use to define “fast”.) I know speed is not just what a vehicle can achieve in a drag race – I’m just talking about what good old’ Americana usually gauges as “fast” in a stop light encounter (which I long ago abandoned to my ignorant youth)

0) 0-60 in the >6’s 1/4 Mile >14s (The Rest)
1) 0-60 in the 6’s 1/4 Mile in 14s (Sporty)
2) 0-60 in the 5’s 1/4 Mile in 13s (Fast)
3) 0-60 in the 4’s 1/4 Mile in 12s (Faster)
4) 0-60 in the <4s 1/4 Mile in <12s (Fastest)

This being said; I’ve driven enough cars to know a vehicle’s dynamics is based not on numbers on paper, but on pure driving pleasure. I by no means want to convey quantitative snobbery. All Mondials are fine vehicles, in fact as I said – they are my “Dream Car.”

A consideration in purchasing a classic is not just pure “numbers” but the subjective qualitative experience. The Mondial I expect will provide this far more than any V6 Accord can.


About to buy a Mondial t

 I am currently starting my Ferrari journey. I’m married, have two children (6 and 8), I am fond of cars (especially Ferrari.) After looking at a lot of different cars, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Mondial met my extremely strict criteria for *my* “dream” car. I just purchased a 91′ black Mondial and it is on route. It just had the major done plus a bunch of other upgrades. I’ve taken a leap of faith as I did not do any PPI or have seen the car. I know a lot of people are hitting their foreheads in exasperation of my bold move. Parts of my decision were due to the fact the funds would be donated to a good cause, and the money is all going to charity – that and talking to the previous owner calmed my fears.I’m not naive in thinking a 20+ year old Ferrari is not going to come calling on my pocketbook – I certainly expect this. I look forward to being a responsible steward. I intend to deal with any issues immediately. In essence, restoring any odd and ends to its full glory.Indulge me on my 10 reasons why I chose the Mondial:
1) it is a Ferrari – let’s face it – the mystique, exclusivity, heritage, and the backing of an active marque – there is a lot of history and emotional equity with the nameplate. I’ve considered myself very individualistic, I wanted my car to reflect that. There is a plethora of Porsche’s, Bimmers, Mercs, and Audis where I live – I wanted something that was unique – Ferrari accomplishes that, and in spades.
2) I wanted a “sporty” vehicle that was fun to drive – no dispute here – Yes, the Mondial is not a “fast” car relatively (I do not want any flames here) – However, it is fast enough for a family man driving two children in the back. If I want a track car, I would buy a new Corvette; and be done with it.
3) I wanted a convertible – I’ve always felt true convertibles distilled the touring car experience.
4) I wanted 4 seats to share the experience with my whole family (good thing I have kids and not big adults for the back seat)
5) I’ve always liked the notion of a “mid-engine” – I like having the roar of the engine behind – it has been auditory exciting to have the mechanical orchestra behind.
6) I wanted a car that was already at the “dip” of its value – A car that is what it is – no further depreciation or loss of relevance. I feel the Mondial is at the base camp toward the mountain of future appreciation.
7) Manual Transmission – Modern automatics are marvels. Able to shift faster than humans – I acknowledge this -, but if people do not understand why the tactile pleasure of shifting gears is so important – they probably also do not understand why somebody would go fishing instead of going to the fish market.
8) Ascetically pleasing – I’ve always like the look of Mondials – I think it is a highly beautiful car – I acknowledge this is completely subjective and in the eye of the beholder – these eyes have judged, and judged positively.
9) Rear wheel drive – I respect sport cars with all wheel drive. However, I’ve felt that in the right conditions – rear wheel drive is a lot funner.
10) Community – A family of people that allow me to do what I’m doing now. Sharing my passion for the marque with like minded good folks such as one reading this now.