After spending almost thirty years in the shadows, the iconic Ferrari Testarossa has caught the attention of collectors and auctioneers. Not even five years ago these greatly under-appreciated Grand Tourers were available for less than forty thousand dollars. But today, with the classic car market almost spiralling out of control, prices are rising rapidly and everybody is talking about how cool the Testarossa actually is…
In the late eighties and early nineties the Testarossa was extremely hot. It even competed with models like Samantha Fox and Cindy Crawford for a top spot on the bedroom walls of teenage boys. It was also a hot commodity in Ferrari showrooms. Greed was good in these days, and the Testarossa was the perfect tool to display wealth and succes. This made the Testarossa one of the most successful V12 models to come out of Maranello with a total production of 7,177 examples between 1984 and 1991 when it was replaced by the 512 TR.
With the classic car hausse in full swing and in reaction to prices of Berlinetta Boxer models breaking records almost daily, prices of decent Testarossas have more than doubled or even tripled. What is even more interesting, is the fact that previously unwanted items – like the oddly placed single mirror and the cumbersome central lug nuts – have transformed to important must have details. That makes the early models most desirable because in 1986 the magnesium single bolt knockoff wheels were replaced by five bolt wheels with the same design and the single mirror stayed in production until 1987.
The twelve cylinder engine in the Testarossa is part of an ongoing debate among many petrol heads, probably even partly due to Ferrari itself. The predecessors to the Testarossa were called BB (365 GT4 and 512) which stands for Berlinetta Boxer. This lead many people to believe that these 12 cylinders are horizontally opposed, but that is not the case. Two opposing pistons in the BB and Testarossa engines share the same crank pin making it a 180 degree V12, or flat twelve, whereas true boxer engines have one crank pin per piston.
Another misconception about the Testarossa is the fact that many believe it to be a full blown supercar. It certainly has the looks of a supercar, but with the engine bolted on top of the manual five speed transmission the centre of gravity is too high and with a mass of over 1,500 kg (3,300 lb) it is no match for typical lightweight sports cars. As a grand tourer it is brilliant though. It has all the comfort and speed to transform every journey into a memorable event and even today it has enough power to outperform almost anything else on the road.