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Car Tales: A Very Top Car, Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet

‘It is all in the name: the highly desirable Ferrari Mondial grand tourer, first presented at the March 1989 Geneva Motor Show as both coupe and cabriolet versions, was intended by the Italian manufacturing genius as the first Ferrari aimed at the global market – ‘mondial’ is French for global.
1989 Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet for sale
‘Employing a rear mid-engine, the car would come as a 2+2 2-door coupe, or as a 2+2 convertible. The name also referenced the 500 Mondial, the Ferrari winner of the 1952 and 1953 F1 Championship, the moniker reintroduced for Ferrari’s four World Championship F1 victories during the 1970s.

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‘Quintessentially 1980s in its design, the Ferrari Mondial T cabriolet is often considered the best of the range, that of a true distance-loving four-seat vehicle – though those in the pair of rear seats would need to be children or rather slight adults. With a 0 to 60 mph time of 6.3 seconds and a top speed of 158 mph, the Mondial T is one of the very top underrated cars that we know of.
‘Produced between 1989 and 1993, with a total of 1017 examples, of which only 375 complied with US regulations, we have an early example of one of these right now at Beverly Hills Car Club: a well-maintained 1989 Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet featuring only 38,404 miles on the odometer and finished in its factory color Rossa Corsa combined with a beige interior.
‘Equipped with a 5-speed manual transmission, four-wheel disc brakes, power steering, quad exhaust outlets, center console, black convertible soft top, boot cover, a gated shifter, retractable headlights, side air intakes, Pininfarina badge, Pirelli P Zero Nero tires, five-spoke chromed wheels with Ferrari-branded center caps, jack, leather tool kit, and a full-size spare tire.
‘Amenities include air conditioning, power windows, mirrors and locks, door pockets, tilt steering wheel, Alpine radio, and sun visors with a vanity mirror on the passenger side. This car comes with the owner’s manual booklet, clean Carfax, and recent receipt copies totaling over $22,300 for a major service completed in March 2021.
1989 Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet rear view
‘Italian sports cars are constantly rising in value and this is an excellent opportunity to acquire a freshly serviced Mondial T.
‘Dominating the Mondial’s so many fine points was its engine, which had maximum power of 7200 rpm and gave extraordinary performance, assisted by the newly developed Bosch Motronic 2.5 ignition and electronic injection. Mid-mounted longitudinally, the car’s enlarged 3405-cc quad-cam V8 engine (up from 3.2 liters in the Mondial 3.2) had previously powered the 308GT4 and – now increased in capacity – was set on an extended version of its donor’s chassis; the longitudinal setting lowered the car’s gravity-center by 12 centimeters and also increased the cabin space. It also explained its subtitle: the engine and gearbox were mounted like a letter T. This powerplant was married to an innovative transverse five-speed all-synchromesh gearbox, its development enhanced by knowledge acquired during Formula 1 races.
1989 Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet interior
‘The Mondial had dry sump lubrication. As with other models in the Mondial series, the Mondial T came with independent suspension via wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers all round, with front and rear anti roll bars. In addition it was fitted with power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering.
‘This was a first from Ferrari, as were the electronically controlled shock absorbers; the electronic suspension control that gave hard, auto (in which the suspension adapts to the road quality) or soft settings, adjusting the ride flavor from a driver-activated switch. Anti-lock braking came as standard.
‘The Mondial T had subtle – and more elegant – visual differences to its body shape from earlier models. As so often, the design firm Pininfarina was involved. The original Mondial 8 was designed by Pierangelo Andreani, who had just started working at Pininfarina; subsequent alterations came from Leonardo Fioravanti.
1989 Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet engine
‘The air intakes were reworked to a more precise giometric shape and the door-handles were given a separate design. Bifocal headlights were fitted to substantially increase beam intensity. In this aesthetic upgrading Carrozzeria Scaglietti also played its part: conveniently, as the legendary coachbuilding firm was situated directly opposite Ferrari’s main works in Maranello, outside Modena in Italy.
‘The Mondial T’s interior was also made even higher-end; the backrests of the rear seats could fold down for a platform to hold baggage. And you could buy a leather-finished dashboard as an add-on option.
‘And it is always worth registering that Ferrari would never again create a mid-mounted engine in a four-seater convertible.
‘So the Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet we presently have at Beverly Hills Car Club is a rare and exceptional – and lovely – car.
-Alex Manos, Owner
1989 Ferrari Mondial T Cabriolet buyer Alex Manos

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