5 Of The Worst Ferraris Made Ever
Updated November 17, 2015
Our expectation of Ferrari is that every car from Maranello is perfect, but as has every car maker, Ferrari’s produced its share of dogs. Here are a few:
Ferrari Dino 308 GT4
Sometimes you can build a great car that the public simply rejects. To replace the classic 246 Dino, Ferrari commissioned Bertone (rather than the usual go-to choice of Pininfarina) to develop the mid-engined 3.0 L V-8 powered 2+2 targeted at the increasingly more popular Porsche 911. The angular shapes of the body, reminiscent of Bertone’s Lancia Stratos and Lamborghini Urraco didn’t resonate with Ferrari enthusiasts. Further it wasn’t badged as a Ferrari for its first few years, just a Dino, and then the 308 was launched, looking much more like a Ferrari, and the GT4 was dead in the water
Ferrari 208 GTB and 208 GTS
Ferrari introduced 2.0 L versions of the 308 line, the 208 GTB and 208 GTS in 1980. The tiny-engined Ferrari was manufactured exclusively for the domestic Italian market, where new cars with engines above 2.0 L in displacement were subjected to a much higher VAT (valued-added tax), a type of luxury consumption tax. It utilized the same V-8 engine as the 308, but bored only to 68.8 mm for a total displacement of 1,991 cc, making it one of the smallest-displacement V-8 engines ever mass produced. The engine was fed through four Weber 34 DCNF carburetors and produced 153 hp at 6800 rpm. A total of 300 208s were produced. So while the 308 isn’t the finest Ferrari ever built, imagine one with only 153 hp, less than a small sedan produces today, and you have very un-Ferrari like performance.
Ferrari 365 GT4 2+2, 400 and 412
The designations refer to a line of V-12 front-engined 2+2 grand touring cars that shared the same body and chassis, which were produced from 1972 through 1989 (Ferrari’s longest-ever production run). Perhaps a victim of its appearance (the 400 series didn’t look like a Ferrari, the way the Daytona looked like a Ferrari), an automatic transmission was optional, and frequently ordered (a GM transmission nonetheless), and they were driven often on a daily basis. With daily use came frequent and expensive maintenance and as the cars changed hands, the willingness of second and third owners to spend money on keeping the cars properly maintained lessened, which gave it a reputation for unreliability. Others are less kind about the car, Jeremy Clarkson calling it “awful in every way”.
Introduced in 1980 as the replacement for the unloved 308GT4, the 2+2 Mondial remained in production until 1993, and offered in both coupe and cabriolet versions. Based on the 308 chassis, the large and relatively heavy Mondial had a mere 214 hp on tap from its transversely mounted, mid-engine V-8. But it real issues were its poor electronics, with virtually every element of the system failing at one point or another, often to the smell of the insulation burning off the wires.
In the interest of maintaining a relative short wheelbase and proper weight distribution Ferrari mounted the flat 12 cylinder engine of the Testarossa above the transmission and differential, which help achieve the original goals, but brought about significant unintended consequences. By raising the engine 8 to 10 inches higher inside the car, not only did it raise the center of gravity, but it created a roll axis that made the car a handful in high-speed maneuvers (that’s why you never saw anyone seriously race a Testarossa). The Testarossa also had a nasty habit of ingesting its oil filter as well as spontaneously-combusting its catalytic converters, which both can lead to bit of excitement for the owner.