This 1989 Ferrari Mondial is hiding an F430 Challenge underneath
Dropping an American crate engine into a cheap V-8 Ferrari from the ‘80s is a sound idea, and a relatively straightforward procedure. But what if you want to keep things cento per cento Italian and you happen to have a lead on a racing V-8 from Maranello?
It’s not often that I see a Ferrari Mondial on the road. Yet when I do, the same train of thought goes through my mind as it did 10 years ago, when I saw a Lancia Montecarlo in London traffic. Maybe I’ll never wrap my head around the hows and whys of hopeless Italian exotics (full disclosure, I do have an Autobianchi of my own in the garage), but this particular Mondial triggers even more incredulous questions. And it’s for sale.
In 1989, this now-yellow Mondial t started out as a silver car delivered to the UK. In this case, the ‘t’ stood for non-transverse instead of turbo, as the engine was mounted longitudinally. In the early 2000s, its owner decided to track this car and, probably entertained by the concept, Ferrari and vintage racing car specialist DK Engineering complied. In went a roll cage, along with upgraded brakes and suspension and other Ferrari 355 bits, after which this 2+2 was ready for the owner to go wild on its clutchless Valeo gearbox—a traditional manual with an electro-hydraulic clutch.
The fun with the stock 208-horsepower 3.2-liter V-8 lasted until 2015, when the same owner felt the need for more power. The team then considered adding an F40’s twin-turbo engine, but feared that the Mondial’s gearbox wouldn’t take the forza. So, DK went with an F430 Challenge drivetrain instead, consisting of a 4.3 V-8 with 483 horsepower and 343 lb-ft, tied to its matching six-speed sequential manual.
Built on a strengthened Mondial rear subframe and featuring 575 alloys, this Mondial t can be considered the only four-seat, road-legal F430 Challenge. Its interior reflects that same level of gravitas, featuring push-button start, flappy pedals, an electric dead switch, and a fire extinguisher system. However, it maintains both the Pioneer head unit and Ferrari’s famously reliable power windows from 1989.
You’ll need to have a chat with DK Engineering regarding the price, but if you’re searching for the fastest and undoubtedly most expensive Ferrari Mondial on the planet, look no further than this one-off track terror. And for all you Mondial owners looking to shake things up, I expect you’re taking detailed notes.