Ferrari is a legendary sports and supercar manufacturer that has produced some of the most lust-worthy automobiles in history. Ferrari got its start in Italy in 1939 as a racing division of Alfa Romeo. It built its first car in 1940, and the first Ferrari-badged car came along in 1947.
We associate Ferrari with racing and exotic sports cars. State-of-the-art machines that raise the bar of performance, style, and engineering. However, even the greatest car makers drop the ball every now and then. These five Ferrari road cars missed the mark and did the company no favors.
The Dino 308 GT4 – 1973
The Dino 308 GT4 is a mid-engine V8-powered 2+2 sports car built by Ferrari. Originally sold with Dino badging, the car is named after Enzo Ferrari’s son.
The 308 GT4 was the first car to be fitted with a Ferrari-built V8 and should have been an exciting moment in the history of the Italian company. However, the Dino badging created confusion and buyers were wary of spending a lot of money on a Ferrari-built car that didn’t have the right badge. It also didn’t help that the 308 GT4 was barely faster than a base model Porsche 911.
The Ferrari 400 – 1976
At the Paris Motor Show in 1976, Ferrari introduced an updated version of the 365 GT4 2+2, called the 400. The 400 is a GT car with a 4.8-liter V12 engine, meant for touring, daily use, and comfortable travel. This all sounds like a recipe for success but was tragically let down by the use of a GM-sourced three-speed automatic transmission.
The V12 produced 335 horsepower but could only propel the 400 from 0 to 60 mph in around 7.1 seconds. Its design has also not aged well, so it has the double-whammy of being slow and ugly.
The Ferrari 208 GTB/GTS – 1980
The 208 GTB/GTS was designed for the Italian domestic market. Based on the 308 chassis, the 208 used a microscopic 2.0-liter V8 engine. The small engine was to circumvent the tax on cars with large engines.
There is nothing wrong with having a car with a small engine; there are plenty out there with incredible performance. However, that was not true of the 208 GTB/GTS. The V8 made a paltry 153 horsepower and is likely the slowest Ferrari ever made. There is nothing cool about owning the slowest Ferrari ever made.
The Ferrari Mondial 8 – 1980
The Mondial 8 came in 1980 as a mid-engine, V8-powered grand tourer that could accommodate rear-seat passengers in coupe form. The name, Mondial, is French and translates to global, which reflects Ferrari’s attempt to build a car that could conform to worldwide safety and emission standards.
The high roofline of the coupe, necessary to accommodate rear-seat passengers, gives the Mondial awkward proportions, and the V8 engine did nothing to help performance. In 1981, the Mondial had a 0 to 60 mph time of 8.2 seconds from the 214 horsepower V8.
The Ferrari 348 – 1989
It has become quite popular to dump on the 348. When we talk about cars that fell short of expectations, the 348 is always on the list. That’s mainly due to the fact that at the same time Ferrari was messing up the 348, it was building the sublime F40. A car that might be the greatest supercar of all time. So it was hard to imagine that a company that could produce the F40 could make such a hash of the 348.
The 348 was slow with unnervingly bad handling. BMW already had the E30 M3, Porsche had the 911 Turbo, Nissan was making the R32 GT-R and Z32 300ZX Turbo, and Honda had just revealed the NSX. The 348 waded into battle against these cars, banking on badge cache instead of actual performance.
Ferrari is a fantastic manufacturer with a rich history of building some of the greatest sports and racing cars of all time. However, even the best have off-days, and these five Ferraris prove that not everything with a prancing horse badge is as fantastic as the legends would have you believe.
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