Hold the horses

Ferrari Mondial Quattrovalvole

It’s been more than a quarter of a century since I was 25 years old and some of the memories of being that age are now starting to fade.

I do recall though that at 25 I’d survived my intern year and done my first appendicectomy.

But I still had a lot to learn about the fearsome nursing staff that my consultant patronized by calling them the “bed-pan jockeys”.

I’d seen the movie “Young Doctors In Love” which gave me a lot to live up to and I was yet to join the AMA which I had decided back then was too conservative for my tastes.

As a doctor at 25 years of age I was perhaps on the threshold of the best years of my career.

Cars of the same age though are by and large almost at the end of the road, unless of course they have some sort of classic status.

After the “Back to the Future” movies every motorist could instantly recognize a 1980’s DeLorean and they became every young man’s dream car.

A friend who has one says that it is still difficult to pull up quietly for fuel without being surrounded by admiring fans all trying to touch that unique matte stainless steel body.

And just like the fridge in my kitchen the DeLorean’s body panels show every finger mark.

A much more practical car of that era was the 1984 Ferrari Mondial 2+2.

With 4 seats there was enough room to take the kids for a spin and many examples clocked up quite a few k’s as they were often used as an everyday car.

Though the cabin was more spacious than most Ferrari’s you will find that there isn’t much room in the driver’s footwell as the tight space is shared with the right front wheel.

There is also so much off-set for the pedals and so little space between them that the driving experience is a lot like key-hole surgery.

The first examples of the Mondial only had a 3 litre engine and were embarrassingly slower than a VK Commodore of the same era.

The performance deficits were rectified in later models with the Quattrovalvole 32 valve engine.

Ferrari had finally tried to make it easier to work on the Mondial by mounting the engine on a sub-frame that could be removed for servicing.

The body panels were also bolted onto a tubular steel frame.

The bolt on bits from the parts bin method of manufacture was a surprising Ferrari feature with quite a few components coming from generic manufacturers.

One colleague with a Mondial lamented that his broken electric window switch was no longer available from Ferrari.

Prising it off we discovered a BMW logo on the back and located the supplier in Munich from whence it had come in the first place.

Nevertheless anyone who has ever owned a Ferrari will have a story to tell of impossibly expensive servicing costs.

So much so that the car is so expensive to maintain that my colleague hardly ever drives it.

It covers so few kilometres that the brake pads recently stuck onto the rotors and they then sheered off completely on its once a month run.

At $799 cost price from Ferrari the new front pads were looking a little expensive until we noticed that they were the Bendix type and bore a surprising similarity to the pads on my Volvo V70 wagon.

On closer inspection they were exactly the same which then gave my colleague the choice of $250 genuine Volvo pads or $120 after market, both of which came from the Roulunds factory in Livaspur, India.

My other colleague with the DeLorean looked on disparagingly at the sight of Volvo disc pads being fitted to a Ferrari.

I couldn’t help pointing out to him though that the 2.8 litre V6 engine in his supercar was also out of the Volvo parts bin and was used in every Volvo 760.

Safe motoring,
Dr Clive Fraser

For: Brand credibility and Pininfarina styling.

Against: Expensive to own and early models under-performed.

This car would suit: Geriatricians.

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    Medical Motoring is an online record of the articles written by Dr Clive Fraser and published in the Australian Medicine magazine by the Australian Medical Association.