PROJECT MONDIAL: THE £21K FERRARI

Chris Harris buys a convertible Ferrari for the price of a new Ford Focus, and finds out what it needs after 30 years on the road.

PROJECT MONDIAL: THE £21K FERRARI

If you’re seeking a Ferrari with wind-in-the-hair excitement, then Maranello will happily charge you a seven-figure sum to acquire a Monza SP1 and enjoy a staggering engine with little more than an aeroscreen for protection. Or of course, you could even spend eight figures on a 250 GT California.

But what if your budget would likely only stretch to a five-year-old BMW 4 Series Convertible? Well, there’s an answer for that, too. Enter, the 1988 Ferrari Mondial 3.2 Cabriolet, chassis number 75981. Purchased in May 2021 on Collecting Cars, the buyer was none other than a Mr Chris Harris, with a winning bid just over £21,000.

In a series of videos, Chris will report back on life with this mid-engined V8 Ferrari, starting here with an introduction, and then covering off some of the maintenance and refurbishment over the coming months.

Offered with low mileage, the Mondial was listed as having good bodywork, paint, and interior trim; though with a few known faults. Picking up the car shortly after the auction, there was an obvious fuel leak to sort in the future, but it fired up and got out on the road without any other issues.

Seeing the Pininfarina-styled bodywork and hearing the naturally aspirated, flat-plane crank V8 weaving through English B-roads should make anyone look at the Mondial twice. Its mid-engined four-seater Cabriolet layout is a true automotive oddity, but in this later 3.2 ‘Quattrovalvole’ guise, the Mondial romps along with a surprising turn of pace - not to mention with a typically evocative exhaust note.

While the bodywork, Rosso Corsa paint, and cream Connolly leather upholstery is as well-presented as expected, the underside does need some attention after no doubt being used through the full range of British weather. Another video may go into the details; suffice to say it will need some welding underneath, though it passed the last MOT test without any major issues being flagged.

Having stretched the legs of this convertible on a typical British spring day, rain was of course inevitable. While the mechanism on this car is sound, and the original soft top has just one small repaired tear, a loose securing pin on a front catch meant the process was far trickier than it should be. Nevertheless, this should be a straightforward fix, and once the roof can be opened and closed with relative ease, it should prove a boon through the summer months.

So far, ‘Project Mondial’ is shaping up to be a cheap and cheerful route into Ferrari ownership, with whatever it lacks in style being admirably counterbalanced with bags of character. It remains to be seen whether the cost and complexity of any refurbishment will put a dent in Chris’ smile, so check back on Collecting Cars for updates this summer.

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