The Eighties produced many automotive atrocities, and even Maranello’s Prancing Horse wasn’t immune to this seemingly decade-long lapse in taste and good judgement. Feast your eyes on this — it’s Ferrari’s Mondial (French for ‘World’ or ‘Global’), and it was conceived as the replacement for the 2+2 308 GT4.

Unlike its predecessor, which was penned by Bertone, the Mondial was styled by Pininfarina, the Turin-based design house that has given us Ferrari greats such as the 512 Berlinetta Boxer and F12. You’d think the results would have been sublime, but instead the Mondial ended up being a weird-burger creation, festooned with ugly strakes on the flanks and vents running horizontally across the bonnet that further killed any sense of visual purity.

Even the proportions didn’t look quite right. Granted, a mid-engined car with four seats is an anomaly, and the Mondial is arguably evidence of why more manufacturers haven’t gone down this route. Its rear end looks forcibly elongated, while the big glasshouse — although benefiting visibility and rear-seat headroom — resulted in a distinctly frumpy profile.

The V8 engine started out as a 3.0-litre, but in later versions of the Mondial it grew to 3.2 and then 3.4-litres, with the initial two-valve-per-cylinder layout also making way for four-valve (‘quattrovalvole’) cylinder heads.  The problem was that even the most powerful Mondial t (sold from 1989-93) was no fireball (a 0-100kph sprint in the 6-7sec bracket is hardly earth-shattering), and this was largely because the big coupe weighed a lardy 1,560kg. The Cabriolet version was obviously even heavier.

While the fact it offered four-seat practicality should have made the Mondial a popular choice, it never struck a chord with Ferraristi, and this is reflected in the model’s prices even today. While other Ferraris of its age have soared in value, you can pick up a Mondial for as little as Dh120,000.


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