Here at EnZari we love to hear from owners about their Italian car. This week Steve Sandalls shares his Ferrari…
Like most Italian car nuts my age, I grew up watching Magnum PI and Miami Vice. That’s where my love of Ferrari started. I still have the toy 308 GTS and Testarossa that I had back then….. yes, really!
Once I got my licence, I loved to drive any Italian car I could get my hands on, from my first Fiat Panda 750L to my Fiat X1/9, then leading to a number of Alfas. All along the while, my collection of model (Italian) cars, which were mainly Ferraris, ever growing.
As I approached 40 years old, I was just about at the point where I could scrape the finances together to get a Ferrari. My dream was the Magnum 308 GTS, but by this point, their values had increased dramatically and I was priced out. So I started to look at what I could get for my money – The Mondial. I looked at a couple of Mondial 8’s and QV’s, but then I struck across a Mondial T Coupe , in Rosso Corsa with Tan hide (18,000 miles on the clock, 2 owners and a full history). The ad was a private sale which I come across by chance. I knew this was the one, so I stretched the £’s a little further than I’d planned and took the plunge.
Whilst searching for a car, I learnt a great deal about what to look for:
• Rust … watch for it along the base of the doors, the wheel arches, the rear pillars and around the rear lights.
• History!! Don’t but a car without history. You need to know if the services have been done (correctly) – especially the belt services.
• Check all the electrics work (and keep using them) –lights / windows / mirrors / aerial / boot and bonnet catches / petrol cap / sunroof.
• Buy the best one you can find…. Spending more upfront will save you money in the long run – don’t buy a money pit.
I thought to myself that I would love this car, of course I will, it’s a Ferrari! But I always thought I would feel like I was settling for less than my dream. How wrong could I be? I have fallen in love with this car hook, line and sinker! The Mondial T is the last of the Mondial line, and they certainly saved the best ‘til last. A beautiful 3.4 V8 (the same as in the 348), improved lines and finishes on the outside (no black plastic bumpers), a much improved interior, electronic suspension and power steering with real ‘drivers’ feel.
This car turns heads everywhere it goes and people want to stop you and ask questions about it – maybe because there aren’t many of them about anymore. The car is quick enough for the non-racing driver, with 300 BHP, 0-60 in around 6 secs and a top speed of circa 160 mph. The transverse engine and gearbox means the car sits lower, therefore handles much better than the earlier incarnations. The sound, oh the sound…. It makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck just thinking about doing a tunnel blast. I think it sounds much nicer than the earlier Mondials and, dare I say it, the 308! And just looking down at the steering wheel and seeing that magical prancing horse! Driving, and even just looking at this car, makes me smile like a little kid – I cannot believe it’s really mine.
During my first few months with the Ferrari, I’ve quickly got to know (and love) its quirks:
• You have to let it warm properly before taking her out for a spin. Even then, the gearbox is still very ‘sticky’ until the gearbox oil has properly warmed – you don’t get 2nd gear for about 15 minutes.
• The car is VERY low… you have to carefully plan your route, to make sure any speed bumps or pot holes aren’t too harsh, or you can easily ground the car.
• Get a battery conditioner for the cold months, or prolonged periods where the car won’t be used. This will really extend battery life.
• Dry every nook and cranny after you have washed it (door sills / boot rim / around the sun roof seal / in-between plastic trim / petrol cap….) Don’t let water sit.
• Check the oil every few hundred miles… make sure it’s at the right level (and the right grade).
Service costs aren’t as horrific as I first thought. A full service is around £850 – 900, and a belt service between £1600 and 2000. Insurance costs aren’t bad – at around £400 on a ‘Classic Policy’ and road tax is just over £200 (on the old system luckily). Fuel costs are quite high, as she is quite thirsty – especially if you squeeze the accelerator pedal often. The fuel gauge is also ‘less accurate’ than you’d hope – another quirk.
The ‘day’ car is currently an Alfa Giulietta, which I also love, but at the weekends (and some evenings when work allows) the garage door opens and the Mondial comes out. She starts every time and, so far, has not given me a single problem in my first year of Ferrari ownership (other than having to extend the garage length by one brick, as I miscalculated by 1 inch!! – A cost I hadn’t expected).
To sum up, I think the Mondial T is a great way to get into Ferrari ownership. The running costs are not too excessive, although purchase prices have increased over the last year. The car is very rewarding to drive – a great engine, a great sound, great handling and great ‘90’s styling inside and out. This car turns heads and has grabbed my heart.
Steve Sandalls – December 2016
**Share your Italian car passion, get in touch with us & your car could be in the spotlight next!**