Home » You Can Buy An Actual Mid-Engined Ferrari For The Price Of A New Chevy Blazer

You Can Buy An Actual Mid-Engined Ferrari For The Price Of A New Chevy Blazer

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At some point in life, every car enthusiast has lusted after a Ferrari, the blue-chip sports car of the rich and famous. The sort of car that only an infinitesimally small sliver of us might be able to own, right? Well, think again. Reasonably priced Ferraris are out there, and they’re far better than you’d expect.

If you have the money to buy a new Chevrolet Blazer — not even the electric one either — you have the money to buy a Ferrari Mondial. A freaking Ferrari! How’s that for justification for a higher education?

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Granted, you won’t be using a Ferrari Mondial in the same way that you’d use a midsize crossover, but with rear seats and some modicum of luggage space, this morsel of Italian panache is far more practical than you’d expect. More reliable than you’d expect, too. Shall we take a peek?

What Are We Looking At?

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In short, a rather underrated car. People who’ve never experienced one are quick to rant that the Mondial is the worst Ferrari ever made. It’s not, and besides, most of them don’t own Ferraris, anyway. Maturing is realizing the Mondial in U.S. spec has a design just as well-resolved as that of the 308 GTB, with some of Pininfarina’s sharper creases draped over a surprisingly pragmatic 2+2 form. After all, the Mondial was effectively the replacement for the Bertone-styled 308 GT4, a lovely car in its own right.

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Mind you, don’t expect swiftness out of every Mondial. Sure, the original Mondial 8 still goes alright, but it’s no supercar by today’s standards, with 214 horsepower pushing around 3,200 pounds. However, that only lasted from 1980 to 1982, because 1982 saw the introduction of the Mondial Quattrovalvole. Sounds sexy, but it literally means “four valves” in Italian, signifying four valves per cylinder. Output from the transverse V8 climbed to 240 horsepower, and Ferrari wasn’t done yet.

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In 1985, the world saw the introduction of the Monidal 3.2, which saw displacement climb by 259 cubic centimeters, and power by a whopping 30 horsepower. The big deal, though, was the torque from the new 3.2-liter engine. In one fell swoop, the Mondial went from having 188 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,500 rpm to 224 lb.-ft. of torque at the same engine speed. Sounds like a boost in usability, don’t you think?

Flash forward to 1989, and the Mondial’s final form was unleashed upon the world. Called the Mondial t, it gained a litany of engine changes, from a bump in displacement from 3.2 to 3.4 liters, to dry-sump oiling, to a boost in compression. Total output: 300 horsepower at 7,200 rpm and 239 lb.-ft. of torque at 4,200 rpm. Wilder still? The Mondial t rotated its entire powertrain 90 degrees, making its V8 longitudinal. Add in hydraulic power steering for easier in-town use, and the Mondial t is the most potent and usable of the lineage.

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Inside, you have more buttons and knobs than an ultralight aircraft, room in a pinch for four, a dramatic gated shifter, and low-back chairs draped in Italian leather, always set to at least a slight la dolce vita recline. Also, here’s a fun fact: In drop-top form, the Mondial was, and still is, the only mass-produced mid-engined four-seat convertible sports car ever. Isn’t it wild that these are now cheaper than many air-cooled Porsche 911s?

How Expensive Are We Talking?

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A brand new Chevrolet Blazer RS AWD stickers for $47,095 including freight, and while you might have to hunt to get a Ferrari Mondial t for that coin, you’ll be able to nigh-on have your pick of the rest of the range. Check out this gorgeous Azzuro Metallizzato 1985 Ferrari Mondial Quattrovalvole cabriolet that recently sold on Bring A Trailer for $42,000. Not only did its last owner keep it for 27 years, it avoided the resale red trap and hammered with just 14,000 miles on the clock. A mere 14,000! Okay, sure, it might not have its original engine, and it could use a timing belt service based on age alone, but isn’t this thing lovely?

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Alright, so let’s say you’re more of a tin-top person. Well, here’s a silver Ferrari Mondial 3.2 that hammered on Bring A Trailer last month for $40,000. Sure, it may display 104,000 miles on the clock and technically have an unknown number of miles under its belt, but it’s beautifully presented, has service history dating back to the Clinton administration, and had a belt service in 2020, meaning it’s set for some proper mileage ahead. Imagine booking a day off work, dropping the kids off for school in this thing, then hitting the local backroads and still being back to pick them up when the bell rings.

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Shooting for a Mondial t? You might have to wait a while, but they do exist in this price bracket. Here’s a red-over-tan 1989 model that hammered on Cars & Bids back in December for just $35,500. With only 33,500 miles on the clock, and a timing belt service performed in 2021, it’s ready to hit the road. Alright, so this one did hit a tree at one point in its life, but minor details, am I right? It still has a clean title, looks fairly straight, and it’s still on the road, which is a good sign.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong With A Cheap Ferrari?

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The joke is that Ferrari is Italian for expensive, and while these cars are joyful on the road, they aren’t the cheapest to keep there. All Mondials use timing belts, and they certainly don’t offer the intervals we enjoy on modern machinery. Although the parts themselves aren’t hideously expensive, the labor involved makes this a $4,000 to $6,000 job when combined with a major service, and Ferrari suggests having it done every five years or 30,000 miles.

Otherwise, Mondials may experience slow windows, and Michelin TRX metric tires can be a bear to source, but otherwise, you’re really just looking at normal old car problems. Cooling hoses age, gaskets may weep, that sort of stuff. Still, when you think about it in the long run, it’s not bad, right? Not compared to depreciation on a new car, at least.

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Should You Buy A Cheap Ferrari Mondial?

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You know what, yeah. If you want a Mondial, can afford a Mondial, and have a trustworthy independent Ferrari specialist near you, buy the damn Ferrari Mondial. Our very own Adrian did, and he loves his, so that’s all you need to know. Don’t let the bastards grind you down, these things still offer one hell of an experience, and isn’t that what we’re all here for?

(Photo credits: Bring A Trailer, Cars & Bids)

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Theotherotter
Theotherotter
12 days ago

I’ve kind of thought of these as being like an Italian 911. If I weren’t so besotted with my 911, I might even have considered one

Bracq P
Bracq P
15 days ago

It remains a little bit too long for it’s width, but it is less irritating in person.
No issue with the emissions control induced power loss, the 308 GTI got the same engine. Unfortunately it was the opener for the Mondial and kind of stuck like you know what to it until the end of it’s run. BTW it was the mid-priced offering, looking at the price lists, it was always 308 GTB, than GTS, than Mondial (coupe ) and Mondial convertible and then on to the 12 cylinder cars.
The belt service is doable as DIY, especially up to the 3.2 the engine can stay in the car, access is to the passenger side wheel house. Someone even pioneered it in-situ for the t, by means of removing the two fuel bladders. Two bearings and the belts start around $100, of course there is a plethora of upgraded parts and items with the while you are in there sticker. It is rather fuel efficient and reliable.
Overall take…you get the famous clickety-clack of the open gated manual, the classic round tail lights, pop-ups in the front, a very good chassis and plenty of charm. Other than that all it has to do is still being the cheapest F-Car to buy, but hey, some poor soul also has to own the cheapest Picasso.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
15 days ago
Reply to  Bracq P

All of this, although the servicing costs on the t are a lot higher because it contains a lot more and is complexity and Italian electronics. And there’s enough in the standard car.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
15 days ago

I always thought the Mondial berlinettas were handsome in a “this is the Ferrari we drive to the office” sort of way.

No mention of the red 1983 QV cabriolet in Madonna’s “Material Girl” video tho?
C’Mon, kids!

AssMatt
AssMatt
15 days ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Also Weird Science. In a car chase!

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
15 days ago

For some reason, a blue Ferrari just works. Much more so than black, gray, or yellow.

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
16 days ago

Ah yes, the only Ferrari I’ve ever actually wanted to own. Typically I prefer my Ferraris to be owned by other people, but the Mondial is the only one I’d add to my herd. Tin top in black, please!

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
16 days ago

Sold! Bartender! One Mondial! Fly Yellow, please.

Ariel E Jones
Ariel E Jones
16 days ago

Yeah, I’m just not feeling this one. You pointed out a couple reasons why you might buy one. Mainly, its a Ferrari and its cheap. But there are so many reasons to buy something else.

Studdley
Studdley
16 days ago

The drug dealers Ferrari.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
15 days ago
Reply to  Studdley

Call me back in five I’m hooking someone up on the other phone.

Lizardman in a human suit
Lizardman in a human suit
15 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Drives a Ferrari, deals drugs, knows a fixer who is good with his hands, wears black… oh no…. Uncle Goth is a VILLAIN!

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
15 days ago

I’m a modern day Nixon. I have an enemies list and everything.

Rick Garcia
Rick Garcia
16 days ago

I used to think Mondials were lame because that’s what everyone said. Then I got the pleasure of driving a Mondial T convertible. It was awesome. So much fun. A real gated shifter! I was grinning ear to ear the whole time I drove it. Great city Ferrari because it has usable power. It didn’t feel slow. I wish I had one now on this beautiful spring day.

TDI in PNW
TDI in PNW
16 days ago

Much like the Porsche 914, I was never a fan of the Mondial in the 80s/90s. Both of them have aged well, in my eyes, to the point that I would absolutely love to have either, but not so much at 2024 prices. If memory serves, I seem to recall that Mondials were quite cheap for awhile (for a Ferrari) and 914s were priced like Volkswagens.

Shooting Brake
Shooting Brake
16 days ago

So when the timing belt comes due just do a Honda K or J series swap for the same money!!! ;-p

Last edited 16 days ago by Shooting Brake
Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
15 days ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

I rise above your petty torments.

Michael Beranek
Michael Beranek
15 days ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

That’s too snooty. Just throw in a 3800.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
15 days ago
Reply to  Shooting Brake

Nah. Electrify and add milk jugs.

Data
Data
15 days ago

This is The Autopian, not Ashley Madison.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
16 days ago

I can’t make fun, since the Ferrari I really want is the other “cheap” one, the 400i (technically I want a 365 GT4 in manual, but those are considerably more expensive).

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
15 days ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Servicing costs on any V12 is another step on though.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
15 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

True, the same thing that kept me from buying an older Bentley. I can afford to buy one, but I’m pretty sure I can’t afford to own one. That’s why I picked up a lovely Jaguar XJ6 for $5600 and have never regretted my decision.

Logan King
Logan King
16 days ago

40 grand for an earlier Mondial from deep in Ferrari’s malaise era? Ew. Buy a Boxster S or something.

Angular Banjoes
Angular Banjoes
16 days ago
Reply to  Logan King

No kidding. $40k will buy you a pretty damn nice Boxster. Faster, handles better, looks better (subjective), and is certainly more reliable. Granted, it’s not a Ferrari, but I’d rather have no Ferrari than a malaise Ferrari.

Freelivin2713
Freelivin2713
16 days ago

Hell yeah, you convinced me…especially in that blue

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
16 days ago

I love my old Italian motorcycle.

But I would never lay claim that it’s reliable, robust, low-cost, or logical. But it sure is pretty.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
16 days ago

I enjoy how Adrian’s ownership is left to a single oh by the way sentence at the very end. A Holy Grail-style taunt perhaps?

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
16 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

The fact that Adrian, with whom I agree concerning the vast majority of his design opinions, owns one of the ugliest Ferraris ever built is one of the great Autopian mysteries.

Last edited 16 days ago by Rad Barchetta
Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
16 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

He doesn’t like the Wolf Countach. I rest my case

Argentine Utop
Argentine Utop
16 days ago
Reply to  Rad Barchetta

Eh, you see, I believe the Mondial was designed by Aldo Brovarone too. And it shows: it’s elegant and beautiful in a subtle, non-obvious way. I love it.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
15 days ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Thomas is a bitter, twisted shell of a man who authors from a place of malice. Oh no wait, that’s me.

Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
16 days ago

These used to be kind of fun examples. But recently it seems it is Hey you can buy a 30 year old car that was once nice but now is similar to an 80s Hyundai for the same price as a really nice Brand New Vehicle with a warranty that is very dependable and outperforms the 50 year old vehicle because Noone wants it.

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
16 days ago
Reply to  Mr Sarcastic

Yeah, it’s a bummer that a brand-new Camry is better in pretty much all objective measures. Takes a little shine off of owning an old supercar. There is the je ne sais quoi, but not at this price.

Last edited 16 days ago by Hangover Grenade
Mr Sarcastic
Mr Sarcastic
16 days ago

It’s okay for a dependable old fun car, but an expensive to keep running, expensive to insure, car that you can’t drive most of the time it’s a garbage buy.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
16 days ago

You guys need to go out and drive more cars. The fun of a car is based on character and handling, not performance. Indeed, performance hinders fun everywhere except the track

Roofless
Roofless
16 days ago

A Toyota Camry beats a Ferrari Mondial everywhere except where it matters.

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
16 days ago
Reply to  Roofless

Bingo

Hangover Grenade
Hangover Grenade
15 days ago

I don’t think either of us is saying don’t buy old cars. I have old cars, and I daily an old car. I used to own an AMC station wagon lowrider with hydraulics, so I know what a fun car is.

I think this car at this price point is bad. Is spending $5k on routine maintenance fun?

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
15 days ago

But, if you have to do it every 3 years, isn’t that an incentive to absolutely drive the hell out of it?

Manuel Verissimo
Manuel Verissimo
13 days ago

I used to be a Ferrari hater, then I drove a 412i for a few minutes and was enamored.

I’d need to drive a Mondial to see if they make sense for this price, but based on that other Ferrari experience I believe they may be worth it. Those are really special cars.

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