Yes, I admit that I may actually be crazy, which you were probably already thinking when you read that "E60 M5 Was The Last Four-Door Supercar" post on Jalopnik. But in considering potential cars for LeMons, I just go with the usual suspects, such as BMW E30 3-Series cars, Porsche 944s, and Miatas picked up for a song. All of them no doubt excellent cars that LeMons teams know and love, but they also tend to receive penalty laps and little awards.
As an avid reader of Murilee Martin's frequent LeMons posts on the Car and Driver blog, where he describes a good deal of the shenanigans that take place during the race weekend, I've learned that running such cars will end up with me getting penalty laps, unless I make myself look as much like a total idiot as possible when they inspect my mom's Honda Odyssey LX without a roll cage.
But never in Murilee Martin's writings have I come across a LeMons Ferrari. I decided that should change. I first thought that a 400i might work, but buying one for $20K would be the easy part. Getting rid of parts to get below the $500 cap would be the hard part. Sure, you could sell the seats, some interior trim bit, the Ferrari badges, and maybe a few other internal parts that don't affect the powertrain or the handling. That'll maybe account for $10,000 or so if you're lucky. But the other $9,500 will be the engine parts, the bits people actually want, and which you will most certainly need. So the 400i wasn't the answer.
So it came down to the Mondial, a car Ferrari specifically created for well-to-do orthodontists and vice-presidents at large companies. Basically, the type of people who could afford a Porsche 911 in the 1980s, but would buy into the Ferrari mystique. But the Mondial was woefully underpowered yet was intended to seat four. Even TIME magazine put the Mondial 8 on the list of the worst cars of all-time. However, a major consideration for me is the fact that major services can be performed on it without having to remove the entire engine and transmission, which is an absolute plus for LeMons purposes.
But in my case, I'm under the illusion/delusion that I can sell off many of the parts to get under the $500 maximum for LeMons. After all, Ferrari parts go for insane prices anywhere, used or not, simply because there aren't enough of them around. So I propose selling things off like interior trim, and replacing them by sourcing them with some "free" parts from other cars. That and the rest of the cash you raise from the sale of non-essential parts can go towards maintaining the engine. On the Cabriolets, you can sell off the troublesome top, since the roll cage needs to be fitted anyway and tops are very much in demand. The same might go for the stereo and the electric window motors. Who knows with a Mondial?
Once again, like I did with the E36 3-Series, I plugged in a search into my local Craigslist to see what I could come up with. Unfortunately, that came up with absolutely nothing. Except one car that was surprisingly close to me. The rest otherwise actually had higher prices than what was in the form description.
As a result, considering a Ferrari for LeMons ended up being the first time eBay Motors and Autotrader (where a lot of the owners have seriously inflated prices for their cars) were utilized to search for a LeMons car. So I plugged in a search into Autotempest and came back with a few results. Unsurprisingly, many of them were convertibles, but I did manage to find a coupe close to $20,000.
So here are three results I came up with:
Option A: I'm only considering this particular 1984 Mondial Cabriolet Quattrovalvole because it happens to be close to my house and had the same owner for 12 years and only 6,000 miles. It also had many engine parts, like the timing belts and water pumps, replaced last year, which'll help tremendously. Additionally, it comes with an aftermarket set of rims and tires, which are larger than the typical 16-inch wheels which should work better in the track handling department. Despite the swap, the seller is also including the original Ferrari wheels, meaning I could make back some of the $25,000 purchase price.
Option B: At $22,500 and it being a 30,000-mile coupe, some Ferrari enthusiasts might take this 1983 example immediately, since coupes are difficult to find. Unlike a cabriolet, the roll cage will be more difficult to install, but at least your Ferrari will look a lot better at those Ferrari shows in upscale mall parking lots. This one has had a fuse block that has been updated but there are little details beyond that. To its credit, this car is being sold by a shop that services Ferraris, so there certainly will be a long list of things in the engine that'll need to be fixed. But on the other hand–coupe.
Option C: I came across this particular 1988 3.2 Cabriolet on eBay. And it has 60,000 miles on it, which to me is a good thing. That means someone has put an average of 4,000 miles per year which means a lot of maintenance had to be performed to keep it running even today. Unfortunately, this one is priced the highest, with the Buy It Now at $26,888, but I think it's worth it, considering the 3.2's engine parts are interchangeable with those on the 308 and 328. However, in the end, readers will probably come after me for wanting to make a LeMons entrant out of a Ferrari and will figure out a way to kidnap it from me.
Who knows? After one chaotic LeMons weekend with a Ferrari, I might just welcome it.