I don't own a Ferrari, but dream of owning one. It would cost too much for me to buy a brand new one, so I have no choice but to pick from what is available. I will likely put down my hard earned cash saved over years for a car that is 10+ years old, expensive to maintain with low reliability, but is a dream come true. If I want reliability, economy, or even speed, I know where to find them. I have had all of these, I want something I never had before, my dream coming true...
I have owned a 89 Mondial t for four years now and I don't understand all the complaints about the operation of the top - mine seems to go up and down just fine (the top boot is another story).
Reliability has been good except for minor electrical glitches that come and go, seemingly at random.
My only real complaint is the terrible ergonomics - control switches mounted where you have to take your eyes off the road to operate them, and the hard, narrow seats that don't fit my big Slavic butt.
And, yes they are prone to oversteer when the throttle is lifted in a corner, but not as pernicious as in Porsches and other high performance cars.
Forgive me, but when you buy a Ferrari you should not have to compromise, I think by choosing the Mondial model you are doing just that...
I would guess none of you have ever driven the incredibly underrated Porsche 928. If you want fast, reliable, handling and simply nirvana, drive one. I love the looks of the Ferrari Mondial and I intend to get one in addition to my world class Porsche. One thing I have learned, is one needs to educate themselves on any exotic car before purchase. Learn all that you can about the vehicle before you reach into your bank account for that hard earned cash. AND, the number one rule in ANY vehicle is to have a pre purchase inspection performed by a qualified Ferrari (or what ever manufacturer) mechanic. If there is a PPI fee, it is money well spent!
I have read many reviews of this car and they do vary as in any vehicle. I have heard more good than anything else and have found that this is probably Ferrari's most reliable car to date. Because it is a small V8, it is not prone to self destruction as in there monster torquing other models. 200-300HP is a nice number for a sports car, but the rear wheel torque is your biggest generating factor in car construction and destruction.
Take your time, look for a year if necessary, they are out there. Find the one that has been taken care of by an enthusiast, not a rich geek who could care less. Check to see if the previous owner has ALL records. This is your key to the cars past. AND, by all means, DRIVE IT!. No car is intended to be shelved. Seals dry up, hoses become brittle and so on and so on. This is not, nor ever was a $200,000+ car. It will not appreciate at such a rate that you will make major cash. It will only depreciate, so enjoy it and drive it like you stole it! Trust me when I tell you that if you drive this car often, it will be much more reliable than if you let it sit. You can find a fine specimen for $30K. Just take your time and do the "smart" thing...learn!
Thanks to Steven for providing a site to share praise, criticism and concern as all comments are beneficial.
Personally I own an 89 Mondial t cabriolet, black w/red interior. Although not the original owner I purchased this car 5 years ago with 10k. It now has 37k on it and yes I have done the 30k maintenance (by myself) with the exception of the actual timing belt install and valve shims. $2500 US for everything including shipping, parts from Atlanta, and about a week of work with just jacks, no hoist.
I have found the original service and parts manuals to be extremely helpful for doing any work on the car.
It has been extremely reliable in consideration of the regular hard driving which I do. Not so the case with my previous Porsche.
I have taken this car on many road trips (note the mileage) with little to no difficulties, and I can only drive this car for 6 months a year.
As for driving technique, as this car has a transverse acceleration detection system built in, I have found that the less you try to "drive" this car in the turns the better it handles. I know it is hard to trust the computer chip, but it really does handle better if you just let it do its thing. I am race certified so I do know how to drive, and I will agree that it does not handle as well as the Porsche did in corners, however, the wheel base is much longer, it drives better, rides better, brakes better, costs LESS to repair, and is just a way cooler car to cruise around in. After all, not many Porsches turn heads the way this Ferrari does. And frankly, I love the conversations at 7 Eleven, the gas station, the car wash etc.
I enjoy tinkering with the car in the winter, and have learned much about it. I would enjoy anyone sharing experiences good or bad about the car with other owners as I am sure I still have a lot to learn about it. I expect to keep this car for many more years as it fits all of my requirements for a friendly exotic (family?) sports car.
Canada (yes it's cold dammit)
P.s. Yeah the paint sucks (urethane), but I understand from my buddy who repaints some Ferraris, including his 355 (base/clear and beautiful), that in his opinion they all have less than show quality paint. Use a little 3M color match, it does wonders.
I am considering the purchase of a 1990 Mondial t with 32K on it. The asking price is $47K. The 30K mile service is done.
Have been admiring this car for a bit, and find this WWW page helpful as I have just begun to do my research.
Owning 2 Porsches, a 1974 911 Carrera 2.7 with duck-tail, and now a 1994 Speedster with 40K hard driven, I am ready for something even less common. Here in Marin CA Porsches are too common. Aston Martin and Ferrari are often seen, though perhaps not driven much. I would be driving the 90 Mondial t 4-7000 miles/ year and will look for as many owner comments as possible before purchase, realizing this is not a $200K car and will probably depreciate $3-5/year for 3-5 more years. Anyone care to tell me more?.
Alan in Sausalito.
I am looking for a 1981 308 GTSI to purchase. I am a little afraid to purchase it because of something going wrong with the car, especially in the winters while it's stored. I wish I could speak to Zac, a fellow Canadian like myself. I would like to learn how to work on a Ferrari, I have worked on Porsches. I guess valves are valves. I would like to know if anyone can give me some advice on how difficult it is to work on these cars. If anyone has any advice, please do not hesitate to give me some.. My e-mail address is Ftrun@yahoo.com. I wish all you Ferrari owners the best..