Photo: Robert Emslie/Jalopnik
Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!  

I spotted today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Ferrari for sale right out on the street like nobody’s business. Mondials do always stand out, but could this silver Quattrovalvole’s price also be outstanding?

In 1970, conceptual artist John Baldessari enlisted the assistance of five of his friends on a project that saw the destruction of more than a decade’s worth of his paintings. The Cremation Project was intended to demonstrate the connection between artistic endeavor and the cycle of life, where every act of growth demands a sacrifice of commensurate importance.

You could postulate that car maker Pontiac had a similar objective when, after getting their unique and compelling Fiero sports car right for the ‘88 model year, they celebrated by then killing the model off entirely. Perhaps they intended a renunciation of of the then fully realized Fiero as sacrifice in ensuring even greater accomplishments in the future.

Those accomplishments never really transpired, and Pontiac’s surviving assembly lines were shut down in 2010, rendering the whole issue moot anyway.

We still have a handful of final year Fieros to remember that unrequited sacrifice of success, and last Friday’s 1988 Fiero Formula proved to be a very natty example. Many of you expressed a preference for the Fiero’s GT edition with its ground effects bodywork and open flying buttress back end. A few of us, myself included, actually prefer the simpler lines of the Formula. A V6 and Getrag five-speed added to the little Pontiac’s hit parade, as did its price, which at $6,500, proved worthy of an admirable 63-percent Nice Price win.

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Art, we should all be reminded, is in the eye of the beholder. With few exceptions, Ferrari’s have long been some of the most stunning automobiles ever to hit the road.

You can thank Pininfarina for that, for the most part. Almost all road-going Ferraris up to the current lineup have been the work of that venerated Italian design house. Only the early-’70s 208/308 GTB4 deviated from the norm, being the work of Stilo Bertone. Allegedly, the GT4's design was one that Berone had previously offered to Lamborghini for the Urraco. Lambo supposedly nixed it, claiming the lines were insufficiently exciting.

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When it came time to replace the 2+2 GT4, Ferrari went back to the well of Pininfarina and the result was the Mondial. This would prove to be one of the less successful partnerships between Ferrari and the Cambiano coachbuilder.

The creation of a four-seater mid-engine sports tourer is admittedly no mean feat. The room necessary between the wheels to reasonably accommodate two sets of legs in tandem and a transverse engine mean that the Mondial sports a wheelbase 12-inches longer than that of its two-seat 328 GTB/S brethren.

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The result is ungainly, and honestly it’s not even enough as the front wheel arches still encroach egregiously upon the cabin. That requires both driver and front passenger to cant their legs toward the car’s center. The back seat is endurable, but just barely, and god help you if you’re stuck back there on a hot day owing the Mondial’s overburdened A/C and the hottentotten V8 toasting your buns.

You know what? Despite all that, I still all kinds of want one. That’s why, when I saw this silver over black Quattrovalvole sitting at the curb with a for sale sign in the window, my baser instincts took over, unconsciously pulling my car to a stop so I could leap out and take a closer look.

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The For Sale sign claims that the Mondial has had the same owner for 20 years, but neglects to provide any other pertinent information like model year, whether it will help you get laid, or when the timing belt was last changed.

Ferrari offered the Mondial with the 32-valve F105A V8 from 1982 through ’84, with a total of about 1,145 coupés built over the course of that run. As evidenced by the presence of a third brake light, you might think this is a later car, but I don’t think that’s original.

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The Quattrovalvole heads on this model breathed (literally) new life into the 2926-cc all-alloy V8, raising horsepower by about 20 over its two-valve predecessor. The five-speed manual shares its casting with the engine’s bottom end (but not its lube) and is operated via the expected gated lever in the console.

The interior on this example is in decent shape, but shows some wear. The dye on the seats is thin in places and the stitching on the instrument binnacle is unravelling in one corner. Other than that, and a steering column cover that’s out of alignment, it all looks pretty good.

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The body is in a similar state. The paint holds a shine but also exhibits a good bit of peppering on the nose. The air dam below the bumper evidences unfortunate run-ins with curbs and low aprons. None of it is egregious however.

A look at the dash indicates that the car sports thirty-four thousand and change on the odo. That’s low for a 30-plus year-old car, but sort of a lifetime for a Ferrari. The car has current California tags and a sick ANSA style four-pipe exhaust.

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That’s all kind of compelling in my book, and the kicker here is that the asking price is $22,750. Yes, it’s a lot if we’re talking about a decade old Kia, but when it comes to cars carrying the Prancing Horse… well?

What do you think, could this street-side Ferrari possibly be worth that $22,750 asking even though it’s kind of a mystery? Or, is its being a Mondial enough to sour you to even that meager amount?

You decide!

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On the street in Los Angeles.

H/T to my keen eye for the hookup!

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