Ferrari Testarossa

The Testarossa was never one of Modena’s best efforts. With its enormous girth and overstuffed appearance, it perfectly sums up the Eighties credo of excess. As soon as it appeared on the world’s television screens in Miami Vice, the Testarossa, or Redhead, became a symbol of everything that was wrong with a decade of rampant materialism and greed. The Testarossa fell from grace rather suddenly.

Dilettante speculators bought them new at $150,000-odd and ballyhooed their values up to a quarter of a million. By 1988, secondhand values were slipping badly, and many an investor saw their car shed three-quarters of its value overnight. Today, used Testarossas are highly prized with rising prices and growing investment potential.

RACING LEGEND

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Ferrari bestowed on its new creation one of the grandest names from its racing past—the 250 Testa Rossa, of which only 19 were built for retail customers. Design of the new model was determined with the help of Pininfarina’s full-sized wind tunnel, but enthusiasts were initially cool about the Testarossa’s size and shape.

STYLING

Striking radiator cooling ducts obviated the need to pass water from the front radiator to the mid mounted engine, freeing the front luggage compartment.

TIRES

Tires were either Goodyear Eagles or Michelin TRXs.

AERODYNAMICS

Front spoiler kept the nose firmly attached to the road and channeled cooling air to the front brakes.

WIDE SUPERCAR

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Wider than the Ferrari 512 BB, the Corvette and the Countach, it measured a portly 6 ft (1.83 m) across. While this meant a bigger cockpit, the ultra-wide door sills collected mud in wet weather.

SPACIOUS INTERIOR

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The Testarossa’s large body meant plenty of cabin space, with more room for both occupants and luggage. Even so, interior trim was flimsy and looked tired after 70,000 miles (112,000 km).

TRADITIONAL TOUCHES

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Despite the modern external styling, traditional touches remained inside the car—the classic Ferrari gearshift, with its chrome gate, and prancing horse steering-wheel boss were ever-present.

STORAGE

Mid-engined format allowed storage space in the front.

COCKPIT

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The cockpit was restrained and spartan, with a hand-stitched leather dashboard and little distracting ornamentation. For once a Ferrari’s cockpit was accommodating, with electrically adjustable leather seats and air-conditioning as standard.

REAR TREATMENT

Pininfarina’s grille treatment was picked up on the rear end, giving stylistic continuity.

REARVIEW MIRROR

The curious, periscope-like rearview mirror was developed by Pininfarina.

DOOR MIRRORS

Prominent door mirrors on both sides gave the Testarossa an extra 8 in (20 cm) in width.

ENGINE

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The flat-12 mid-mounted engine had a 4942cc capacity and produced 390 bhp at 6300 rpm. With four valves per cylinder, coil ignition, and fuel injection, it was one of the very last flat-12 Gts.

REAR FENDER VENTS

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Borrowed from Grand Prix racing experience, these cheese-slicer cooling ducts are for the twin radiators, located forward of the rear wheels to keep heat away from the cockpit.

ORIGINAL GRILLES

The Testarossa’s distinctive side grilles are now among the most widely imitated styling features.

S P E C I F I C A T I O N S


MODEL Ferrari Testarossa (1988)

PRODUCTION 1,074

BODY STYLE Mid-engined, two-seater sports coupe.

CONSTRUCTION Steel frame with aluminum and fiberglass panels.

ENGINE Flat-12, 4942cc with dry sump lubrication.

POWER OUTPUT 390 bhp at 6300 rpm.

TRANSMISSION Five-speed manual.

SUSPENSION Independent front and rear.

BRAKES Front: disc; Rear: drums.

MAXIMUM SPEED 181 mph (291 km/h)

0–60 MPH (0–96 KM/H) 5.3 sec

0–100 MPH (0–161 KM/H) 12.2 sec

A.F.C. 12 mpg (4.2 km/l)

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