It’s been said that the candle that burns brightest burns half as long, and in the case of Ferraris like today’s Nice Price or No Dice Mondial, that means a cost-per-mile that’s quadruple that of a normal car. Let’s find out what that’s all about, and whether this Quattrovalvole Cabriolet is worth it.
J. Robert Oppenheimer wrote that upon seeing the destructive power of the atomic bomb he helped create, he was reminded of a line from the Bhagavad-Gita — “Now, I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.” Oppenheimer felt that his bomb baby made him the embodiment of this terrifying snippet of Hindu scripture.
The 1992 Nissan Sentra “Dune Buggy” we looked at yesterday likely doesn’t have the destructive power of an atom bomb, but with much of its structural integrity gone and only passing respect paid to things like seat belts and crash protection, it too could “become death” if things got out of hand. Already out of hand, apparently, was the stripper car’s $1,800 asking price. While seemingly road-able and carrying a clean bill of health from the smog doctor, the car couldn’t muster much enthusiasm for even that paltry amount, falling in an 85 percent No Dice loss as result.
Have you ever wanted a simple compendium of the names of nearly every major and minor sports and GT car ever produced? If so, then you might want to screenshot the ad for today’s 1984 Ferrari Mondial Quattrovalvole Cabriolet. In that ad, the dealer selling the car has listed just about every other sports car on the planet. That should mean the Mondial will show up in just about everybody’s Craigslist search. Hell, if you go in and search for an Airbnb in Montreal, Canada you’ll probably get this LA-based Ferrari as an option since the seller lists the Alfa by that name in the list. I had to cut the ad down in my backup below because it was just too dang long!
To be honest, being a decent-looking Mondial convertible should be enough of a draw. These are, at the moment, the cheapest Ferrari-badged cars on the market, a model that has seemingly missed the crazy train that has been propelling all other notable cars up in value.
Sure, the Mondial’s prices reflect the fact that it’s not Ferrari’s best effort, Its appearance has always been a bit ungainly. The Pininfarina-styling has to mask a too-long wheelbase needed to accommodate the 2+2 cabin and carries side-scoop grates that lack any kind of elegance.
There are parts of the car that do work though. The five-spoke Cromodora wheels are lovely, as is the simple swage line that connects the graceful wheel arches. The ability to offer a full convertible top while still maintaining the coupe version’s delicate flying buttresses is also a nice bit of work.
According to the ad, this Mondial carries a clean title and “just under 41,391 miles.” Of course, as years are to dogs, miles are to Ferraris. That means that even with just those few under its belt, this car has required a lot of money for its service and maintenance. The seller lists a major service having been completed in 2016 which included belts, fluids and filters, and a slew of other work, plus the fitment of a set of new Michelins.
Here’s the thing, though — per the ad, that was done at 41,346 miles. That means that the car has only done 45 miles in the five years since. That’s somewhat unbelievable. Maybe the service date was a typo and what the seller really meant to type was “last week.”
Even if the car really only has moved so minuscule a distance in the past five years, it has still aged in that time and those under-used Michelins are probably ready for replacement as likely are the timing belts and other age-issue componentry. Or, you could just go with what you’ve got and roll the dice on an interference engine that could cost as much as this entire car to rebuild should a belt strip and the four-valve heads go all English teeth on you.
You wouldn’t necessarily do a major service if the rest of the car wasn’t in decent shape, and this Mondial looks to be ok, save for a couple of boogers here and there. Most notable of these is a scrape on the rear bumper and an odd patch of chipped paint on the left-front wheel arch. Other than that the Rosso Corsa paint seems serviceable and all the badging and lights look to be intact. The interior doesn’t display any rips or significant wear in the leather upholstery or plastics. The only major note here is some age-related wear on the weather seal between the door and rear glass. Speaking of glass, the seller notes that the door window mechanisms need to be cleaned and re-lubed since their actuation is “really slow.”
Other than that, there’s a lot to like here. The car comes with service records — always a good thing with a Ferrari — and a CarFax that shows no mystery in its history. Per the seller, the 2.9 liter quad-cam V8 runs well, and the five-speed transmission shifts without issue.
All that comes with a $35,000 price tag. That doesn’t make it the cheapest Mondial on the planet, but it’s seemingly the cheapest one that isn’t seedy or actively on fire.
Ah, but is that cheap enough? Considering the age and weird mileage noted in the ad since the last major service, would you trust the car in its present state? Or, would you want to calculate its asking with a fresh service in mind?
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