The Pininfarina designed Mondial 8 was debuted at the Geneva Auto Show in 1980 as a replacement for the 308 models. It used the same 2927cc quad-cam V8 mounted transversely behind the seats. The US version produced 205 bhp while the other versions produced 214 bhp. The transmission was borrowed from their F1 efforts and featured a transverse mounted gearbox which lowered the drive-line by five inches.
This was the first Ferrari with power assisted rack-and-pinion steerings. Air-conditioning was standard with climate control for both the driver and passenger.
The Mondial 3.2 was produced from 1985 through 1988 with power coming for a V8 engine having a larger bore and stroke and displacing a total of 3.2-liters. Horsepower rose to 270 and the weight distribution was optimized adding to the cars performance and its mid-engine persona. Other changes were minor, such as painted bumpers and new wheels. In 1987, anti-lock brakes became standard, improving not only the vehicles performance but also its safety. On the inside, Ferrari gave it a few modern updates and changes.
In 1989, the Ferrari Mondial t was introduced. The 't' referenced a new transversely mounted gearbox, which allowed the engine to be positioned lowered, improving weight distribution and handling. The engine had also received modifications. Instead of mounting the engine transversely, as was done in the prior Mondials, the engine now sat longitudinally in the chassis. Its bore and stroke was enlarged giving it a displacement of 3405 cc. The 3.4 liter V8 was capable of producing between 270 through 300 horsepower, depending on the configuration. The Euro-specs did not have to comply with as-strict emission standards and were capable of producing greater horsepower. Top speed was achieved at 156 mph with zero-to-sixty taking just 5.6 seconds.
Minor visual changes accompanied the mechanical changes for the Mondial t. Rectangular engine air intakes could now be found on the rear wings. The seats, dash, and center console were modernized.
In 1993, Ferrari offered a Valeo transmission which allowed the driver to manually change gears without the use of a clutch. Though the Valeo system was revolutionary and worked extremely well, only a few Mondial t's opted for this option. By 1997 the F1-style transmissions superceded the Valeo system.
During the production lifespan of the Mondial t, the cabriolet versions proved to be more popular with over 1000 examples being produced. Around 840 Coupes were constructed.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2007
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