Ferrari Testarossa, 512TR and 512M owners and fun club. 1984-1996 cars, tuning and more. More
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  •   Stephen Bayley reacted to this post about 1 year ago
    CHOP-TOP PROJECT JOINS THE RATPACK / #Ferrari-Ratarossa / #Ferrari-Testarossa / #Ferrari / #Ferrari-V12 / #Ferrari / V12

    OWNED BY Scott Chivers
    FROM Wokingham, UK
    FIRST CLASSIC Porsche 912
    DREAM CLASSIC Ferrari F40
    BEST TRIP Le Mans 2015 in my 360 Challenge Stradale – the sound of heaven in long tunnels!

    Three years ago, while looking on the web for an obscure car part, my search returned this unrelated Ferrari Testarossa located in California. It was a project car that had been started (the roof had been chopped off and strengthening added to the chassis), but other than that it was a rolling shell with an engine and gearbox bolted in place, and hadn’t been on the road for well over 20 years.

    I told the seller that anyone else buying his Ferrari was likely to break it for parts because it was worth far more in bits. But I promised him that my sole intention would be to get the Testarossa built and put it back on the road. It arrived a few months later accompanied by two huge wooden crates of parts. At the time I owned another Testarossa coupé, so was lucky enough to use that car as the blueprint for my ‘Ratarossa’.

    Why the unfinished style? Part of the enjoyment of this project was that it didn’t have to be perfect, with its ‘rat’ look, so I just took my time and enjoyed the build. With the two massive crates of parts that came with the car I have been like a kid with a giant puzzle; it’s been a lot of fun and very satisfying figuring out where each item belongs.

    Ferrari made only one official #Ferrari-Testarossa-Spider for #Gianni-Agnelli , and it’s estimated that around 15 more were subsequently converted by aftermarket companies, making these a pretty rare sight. It’s also the car that many believe Ferrari really should have put into production. Obviously there have been a few head-scratching moments. Testarossas are 30 years old now, and the expertise on them has been whittled down to a few gurus worldwide. I have no background or any kind of training in this sort of thing, other than a hobby and passion. For the most part it was on-the-job learning for me.

    I faced a number of difficulties during the build. The engine hadn’t run in many years and the wiring was missing or not connected. My first job was to hear the engine roar once again. With a bit of luck and plenty of perseverance, I was able to bring the #Flat-12 back to life.

    Another challenge I’ve had is getting hold of parts. Many are no longer stocked by Ferrari and I’ve had to source items from around the world wherever available. But it’s amazing what pops up on auction sites across the globe. For example, I picked up a brand-new original dashboard in the correct colour for £180, shipped. If Ferrari still made the dash, it would have cost me £5000.

    Suspension was another massive problem; steel bars had been fabricated and welded into the mid section to reinforce the car’s structure and rigidity where the roof had been chopped off. They did a great job of keeping the car from flexing but the bars’ added weight caused the front end of the Testarossa to lift up. The factory suspension is pre-set and fixed, so I had to work with a suspension company to create custom shocks and springs. Eventually it took three sets of custom springs to get the right height I wanted.

    Other bits I’ve had to modify to work properly on the Spider include the safety belts; even with the original luggage straps behind the seats, the belts had to be anchored differently. Unless you really know Testarossas, however, you’d never spot the changes.

    When the Ferrari first arrived in the UK it was like the Flintstones’ car: there was no floor, wheelarches, carpet etc. It now looks really good and, eventually, I plan to have a mechanically perfect car, in pristine condition under the skin, yet clothed in a ‘rat’ look.

    Although it’s only recently been put back on the road, I have already taken it to a couple of events and really enjoy the reaction the car generates. It’s a bit like Marmite: you either love it or hate it. It doesn’t bother me either way because I built it to have fun! The Ferrari is by no means finished – it’s an ongoing project. I have blogged the build each step of the way, and you can follow my progress at #Drive-My .
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  •   Scott Chivers reacted to this post about 2 years ago
    / #1990-Ferrari-Testarossa-FHC £71,345 / #1990 / #Ferrari-Testarossa-FHC / #1990-Ferrari-Testarossa / #Ferrari-Testarossa / #Ferrari-V12 / #Ferrari / #V12

    Bonhams, Paris, February 8

    If you were looking for a prime example of how far the Testarossa’s fortunes have slipped from the six-figure days of 2014/15, here it is. Unusually in Giallo Fly rather than regulation red, this genuine 27,000-kilometre car had all the right maintenance documentation and was in lovely condition. Yet it only just squeaked over its lower estimate. That the seller took that shows a realistic acceptance of where the market’s gone.
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  •   Adam Towler reacted to this post about 3 years ago

    Deferred Recognition euro sport / Words and photos by Lester Dizon Additional photos courtesy of #Ferrari-SpA / #1988 / #Ferrari-Testarossa / #Ferrari

    One of the collectible cars displayed during the 2015 Fontana AutoMotoRama was the Pininfarina-designed 1988 Ferrari Testarossa, a mid-engine sports powered by a horizontally-opposed 12-cylinder engine. Introduced in 1984 at the Paris Auto Show, the Testarossa got its name from the 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa race car that dominated racing in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s. Testa Rossa, which means “red head” in Italian, refers to the red-painted cam covers of the cars’ engines.

    Produced from 1984 to 1991, the Testarossa was reengineered and released as the 512 TR and F512 M from 1992 to 1996, and became one of the most popular Ferraris with almost 10,000 units made. It was replaced in 1996 by the less-exotic Ferrari 550 Maranello coupé which had a V-12 engine in the front.


    Mounted behind the Testarossa’s two-seat cabin and between the rear axles is the 4.9-liter 48-valve flat-12 that delivers 390 horsepower and 490 Newton-meters of torque to the rear wheels through a rearmounted, 5-speed manual transmission.

    The mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout keeps the center of gravity in the middle of the car, which increases stability and improves the car’s cornering ability, and results in a weight distribution of 40 percent front and 60 percent rear.

    Learning from the faults of the Testarossa’s predecessor, the 512i Berlinetta Boxer, Ferrari and Pininfarina designed the Testarossa to be larger, with a longer wheelbase to accommodate luggage in the front and extra storage space behind the seats inside the cabin. Headroom was also increased with a roofline that is half an inch taller than the 512iBB’s. The large intakes drew air to cool the side radiators and went out through ventilation holes at the rear engine lid, eliminating the need for a spoiler.


    The large side strakes of the Testarossa that spanned from the doors to the rear fenders were often referred to as “cheese graters” or “egg slicers”. These were necessary to hurdle engineering and strict legal obstacles that automobile manufacturers faced in the ‘80s. The strakes also made the Testarossa wider at the rear than in the front, which increased its stability and improved its handling. The design was controversial and polarizing during its time but is now considered an iconic part of the Testarossa image.

    When a white Testarossa replaced the black faux Daytona Spider of Detective Sonny Crocket (played by Don Johnson) in the hit TV series “Miami Vice”, Testarossa sales soared. Unfortunately, only a few drivers appreciated its 5.3-second 0-100km/h acceleration time, its 13.5-second quarter mile capability, or its 290km/h top speed. Most of the owners, including singer Elton John, actor Alain Delon, and Formula One racing driver Gerhard Berger just wanted to drive what Don Johnson drives.

    The Ferrari Testarossa was a sports car designed and built to cash in on an image, which was what the ‘80s were all about. While it was the perfect vehicle for its time, it was also a great automobile. And that’s what makes a Testarossa very collectible, especially this one in rossa corse or Ferrari racing red.

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  •   Jonathan Musk reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    Retro road test – rare #Ferrari-Testarossa vs. #BMW #M5 #E34 #S38B36 - engined – #1990 - Can BMW build a four-door Ferrari ? #BMW-E34 vs. #Ferrari #Testarossa 1990 giant road test. BMW has just launched, in Britain, the fastest saloon ever made. The #BMW-M5-E34 can accelerate as briskly as most mid-engined supercars, could do a genuine 170mph if it were not for a speed governor, and can lap racing circuits more energetically than just about any road car, period.
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  •   Malcolm McKay reacted to this post about 4 years ago
    The city slicker that it’s okay to love. The other Testarossa - #Leonardo-Fioravanti -penned #Ferrari milestone that you can really use. Ferrari’s retort to the Countach, but could you commute in one? Having had a taste of the 1950s racer James Elliott grabs-his Filofax, heads to London and prepares to reassess the 'other' Ferrari Testarossa. Photography Malcolm Griffiths.

    Is there anything more symbolic and resonant of the 1980s than the #Ferrari-Testarossa ? Nothing quite so immediately conjures images of red braces and mobile-phone wielding excess than this gauche statement of self-worth, this homage to OTT. Greed was good, and if you were greedy enough this was precisely the sort of car Gordon Gekko would have advised you to go out and buy with the proceeds.

    Ignoring its capabilities as a car - as so many people were wont to do - for a while the Testarossa was perceived to epitomise everything that was bad in the world. A bit like Phil Collins. How things change. Nowadays it is no longer socially unacceptable to express a deep love of this monster of a machine. Unlike Phil Collins.

    The Ferrari has instead assumed a sort of brooding majesty, as a new rush of hatred for bankers and brokers erases memories of the last lot, and as good taste erases our own memories of a certain Florida-based television programme. Values are rising, good examples are in demand and people are allowing their jaws to drop in admiration rather than contempt.

    So the Testarossa is completely rehabilitated then? Not quite. You see, the main stumbling block with this car for me has always been that it was clearly built for somewhere else. While I have come around to acknowledging my grudging love of the Testarossa, it is only ever in the context of a trans-USA drive. I have long maintained that the mere thought of something that big, that wide in the UK at all, let alone the capital, is insane. I wrote as much in a blog on our website, in particular mentioning that you wouldn’t be able to get it through the width restriction on Hammersmith Bridge.

    Peter Dietsch took up the challenge to prove me wrong. And whatever we threw at him, he just smiled and got on with it, reminding us that he regularly takes the 1986 example he’s owned for the past nine years to the supermarket, commutes in it and uses it as any car should be used.

    But how on earth had he ended up with a Testarossa at the age of 26 while working as an IT consultant at McLaren, when only a few years earlier he had been stacking shelves at B&Q in Wandsworth? “Actually, I had promised myself a Ferrari by the time I was 25 so I missed my deadline,” he says. “I had bought a few cars really cheaply in Switzerland - 911, Integrale, Lancia Thema 8.32 - and had scraped together enough money, I thought, to get a 348 out there. I had £22,000. I was away testing in Valencia with McLaren, so I gave the cash to a friend in a brown paper bag and told him to find me one.

    “I then got a call telling me that I had bought a bright yellow Testarossa. It’s fair to say I was nervous about what it would be like, but I flew home that night and, as I was driving home up die A3, this yellow streak came up behind me and roared past. I thought ‘that’s my car’ and just beamed. That weekend I drove it to a friend’s wedding, still beaming.”
    Not that it was perfect. The tyres were shot and there was a Ricky Martin cassette in the deck. “Can you imagine the pimp that must have owned it?” asks Dietsch.

    Truth be told, I can vividly imagine the pimps who would have bought these cars new. And the footballers. And the city whizzkids. Thing is, now that tarnish has been polished off by time, it’s me who desperately wants to own one. To understand why, we need to put aside the image issues and the love-it-or-hate-it Pininfarina styling, and put it in the context of its day.

    Launched in #1984 , the #Testarossa enjoyed a 12-year production span (if you include the 512TR and 512M), during which roughly 10,0 cars were built. With its humpbacked body - aluminium except for roof and doors over a tubular steel chassis - dictated in part by the glorious flat-12 in the rear, it was good for close to 400bhp, 0-60mph in under 6 secs and a top speed of 180mph. Double wishbones all round added to a recipe that instantly propelled it to Ferrari flagship status. Of course, that came with a flagship price of more than £60,000... in theory. The reality in those heady days of money-no- object self-indulgence was very different. People were forking out ludicrous sums, up to a quarter of a million quid, to acquire such a status symbol.

    Then there is the width. Actually, we soon discover that there isn’t. Even the official stats of six and a half feet wide make it slimmer than a Countach, fractionally. But we got the tape measure out and couldn’t make it any broader than 6ft 3in. OK, that’s not exactly Twiggy, but neither is it Hattie Jacques.

    First stop Hammersmith, and then a quick visit to the humble-pie shop because Dietsch slots the Testarossa through the 7ft width restriction with barely a downchange. Hammersmith roundabout will get him. It doesn’t. Likewise Fulham, the Kings Road and the busy Chelsea Embankment, even via the rottenest, most road-hump infested back-roads we could find. Albert Bridge, with its 6ft 6in restrictions being precisely the Ferrari’s professed width, might prove more of a challenge. Slowly and steadily, Dietsch navigates it with an inch or so to spare on either side. Only one or two impatient Chelsea-tractor drivers feel the need to exercise their horns because we are delaying them by 30 seconds for some crucial appointment at a little textile shop that is so super it’s even worth crossing the river for.

    And so it went on, with obstacle after obstacle nonchalantly dispatched. Time for the coup de grace - Putney High Street. Always stacked, and guaranteed to cause overheating. We sit in the traffic, chatting without having to raise our voices and every now and again we trickle the car a few feet forward. It is a total non-event.

    OK, so I concede that the right car and the right owner can make sense in any environment, but surely the running costs are more than anyone - ie, me - can bear? The most that Dietsch has ever squeezed into the fuel tank was £135, but he reckons that it will return 30mpg on a run and 12-14mpg in town, which is far from disgraceful. Insurance, fully comp with a bunch of glorious-sounding benefits, is £5 00 per year through Chubb via broker MWA.

    But what about servicing? “Well, it was £6000 last year.” Bingo! Er, not quite. “But that’s the sort of service you would expect every eight years or so. Annually it shouldn’t be more than £1000, unless you are doing the belts (every three years), which will bump that up by £1400-2000.”

    After another 10 minutes of interrogation on costs - searching for the proof that even if normal people can buy the car, they can’t afford to run one - Dietsch stresses that he lives in a one-bed flat in Surbiton. We get the point: he’s not on his uppers, but you really don’t have to be Fred Goodwin to own a Testarossa.

    The highest annual mileage it has covered during Dietsch’s ownership is 4000, but every year it is close to that. Like so many, he is adamant that fewer miles mean bigger costs: “If I don’t use the car for any length of time it drives horrendously.” He is equally determined that the two things any supercar owner needs more than anything else are a good insurance broker and a good garage to look after your car. For the record, he uses Auto- fficina in Chessington.

    The third thing, of course, is to have an understanding partner and Dietsch is lucky on that front: his fiancée Katrina drives a Guards Red Porsche 964 Carrera 4.

    Of course, there are problem areas specific to Testarossas: tyre availability, particularly the metric ones - options being limited to Michelins at £400 a corner - and spares, especially the items that most go wrong, such as fuseboxes, clutches and some lenses.

    What other possible downsides can we throw at him? Ah, stigma: “It doesn’t always provoke a good reaction. I’ve had someone gob on it while I have been in it and another throw stones, but this seems to be a curiously British thing; it doesn’t happen elsewhere.”

    There was certainly no sign of opprobrium while I was driving the Testarossa but, due to its vivid hue and obnoxious Larini exhaust, there was no lack of attention either. If you pick your nose in this car - nicknamed J-Lo; you work it out - there will be a picture of it on PistonHeads by the time you get home.

    The interior is a dated mix of surprising comfort and cheap plasticky detailing, but the driving position is excellent. The pedals, offset to the right in this left-hooker, are easy to point yourself into, and the gated five-speed gearshift is the nicest I’ve ever found in a Ferrari, barring its tendency to slowly wear away the seat squab; reverse and the dog-leg first rub against it when someone as short as me is driving.

    The steering is gorgeous and precise, the size of the car far more manageable than you would expect and the visibility (via one wing mirror, later cars had the luxury of two) more than adequate for town driving. But the biggest shock remains how docile it is; you forget that this is a genuine 180mph car until you tickle the throttle.

    So, after tackling a couple of speed humps to show willing, I persuade Dietsch that it’s time we opened it up a bit. The A3 beckons and the engine note rises to the occasion. Running up to some decent revs really is an aural treat. While so many big-engined cars turn bellow into boom, the Testarossa’s bass note tautens like a guitar’s top E string being tuned - never shrill, but belting out a mean soprano in full flight.

    Amazingly, though, it always retains its smoothness, and never becomes difficult to drive; even as you keep shifting up and reburying the throttle. You’ll do this often, because its delivery is so forceful, so addictive, and yet so well-mannered, that it is impossible not to.

    Maybe it is the F40-esque flat-shovel front that implies that the Testarossa is going to be more ‘fire and brimstone’ than it is, but if that is what you’re after, you will be disappointed. You shouldn’t be sad, though, because this is still one hell of a fast, accomplished driver’s car. Plus, it can bite. The high roll centre has long been accused of making it easy to lose, and Dietsch confesses that he has done so twice.

    The verdict is that a Testarossa really is a rather splendid car. It isn’t for the shy and retiring, perhaps, or for motoring masochists, but neither is it the boulevardier that it is often dismissed as - its responses are too sharp, its delivery too purposeful. So there you go, all my carefully contrived arguments against buying a Ferrari Testarossa destroyed... except for the small matter of finding £40,000 or so.


    Sold/number built 1984-1992/5648
    Construction aluminium body with steel roof and doors on tubular steel chassis
    Engine all-alloy, dohc-per-bank, 48-valve 4942cc flat-12, twin #Bosch-KE-Jetronic fuel injection
    Max power 390bhp @ 6300rpm
    Max torque 362lb ft @ 4500rpm
    Transmission five-speed manual, RWD
    Suspension independent, at front by double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers rear double wishbones, twin coil-over dampers; anti-roll bar front/rear
    Brakes 12in (305mm) vented discs front/rear
    Wheels & tyres: front 8x16in alloys with 225/50 VR16s rear 10x16in alloys with 255/50 VR16s

    Length 14ft 8 ½ in (4485mm)
    Width 6ft 6in (1976mm)
    Height 3ft 8 ½ in (1206mm)
    Wheelbase 8ft 4in (2550mm)
    Weight 3320lb (1506kg)
    0-60mph 5.8 secs
    Top speed 180mph
    Mpg 14
    Price new £62,666
    Price now from £35,000

    Clockwise, from main: ample rear inspired this car's nickname; dogleg first can foul seat; multi-storey car parks hold no fear; wonderful flat-12.

    The profile that adorned a million bedroom walls. Below left: the interior hasn't aged well, but it is surprisingly comfortable.


    Peter Dietsch

    Dietsch may have been young when he bought his Ferrari, but this petrolhead has had plenty of other interesting kit. His first car was a Lancia Y10 Turbo, and he also owned what was thought to be the only Delta HPE HF Evo 500 to ever come to British shores. Very little would make him part with the Testarossa, but a 6-litre Lamborghini Diablo (or a Miura SV) might do it. He's also a committee member for a series of charity events in which supercar owners give passenger rides to raise cash. Check out for more info.

    Testarossa looks every bit as sensational today as it did almost 30 years ago, especially on a winter's day on Albert Bridge.
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  •   Malcolm McKay reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Classic ’80s Ferrari goes on an epic adventure 2000 miles to deepest Morocco in a 28-year-old Ferrari. Two decades ago, Car magazine drove a brand-new #Ferrari 512M to the Sahara Desert. Now Harry Metcalfe drives his own 28-year-old car there - without the back-up crew. Photography Justin Leighton.

    Finding the main route out of Tangier is proving to be a nightmare. The guidebook I'd bought weeks ago said to avoid Tangier City and enter Morocco via Tangier Med, but I only got round to reading it just before we disembarked from the ferry. The fact that I'm in a low-flying Ferrari without any form of GPS navigation isn't helping. Decent tarmac seems to be a scarce commodity in Tangier and there are no roadsigns to guide visitors out of its confusing maze of bustling streets. We sweep blindly round a comer, locked in a scrum with battered cars as if in a banger race, and it's about to get worse: ahead the road is blocked, forcing all traffic through an Oil-Libya fuel station that was never designed to have the main road running through it.

    It's a chaotic scene; the poor fuel attendants are doing their best to dodge the two-way traffic but the big issue is the drop of about a foot between the fuel station's concrete forecourt and the temporary road surface beyond. Even the trucks are struggling to climb it and I'm refusing to commit the Testarossa to such a chassis-damaging drop. Making matters worse, a queue of irritable taxi drivers (in disturbingly distressed Mercedes dating mainly from the 1970s) is quickly forming behind me: they can't understand what the problem is and think the Testarossa must be some sort of joke because it's only got two seats and has nowhere to store a live goat. It's fair to say that this is not the welcome I was hoping for.

    The reason I'm here (and subjecting the Testarossa to this torture) is that it's 20 years almost to the day since Octane contributor Richard Bremner (see his Alfa Romeo feature, page ???) famously wrote a story for Car magazine about driving a then-new Ferrari 512M all the way from Maranello to the Sahara Desert. I thought it was one of the best drive stories I'd ever read and, seeing that I now own a Testarossa and love doing long road trips, I thought it would be fun to have a crack at this crazy journey for myself. Until we reached Tangier it had all been going swimmingly.

    We'd left two days ago for a highly enjoyable cruise on an overnight Brittany Ferry to Spain, leaving Portsmouth around noon and arriving in Santander at 3pm the following day. It was then the simple matter of a 640-mile dash across Spain down to Tarifa in the very south to catch the high-speed ferry to Morocco.

    The A6 is the main route out of Santander and we left the outer suburbs to head for the hills, where the Testarossa settled into an easy canter as we climbed away from the rugged northern coastline. The February sun felt quite strong through the windscreen but, ominously, patches of snow started to appear in shaded hollows by the side of the road. Snow isn't unusual in this part of Spain at this time of year but 2015 has proved to be a vintage year for the stuff. Had we set off only a week earlier, this road would have been barely passable, such was the covering the region received.

    Inside the #Testarossa all is good, though, with the stylised seats proving to be surprisingly accommodating for long journeys, even though adjustments are relatively few. I'd fitted a 50mm extension just behind the steering wheel a few months ago to bring it closer to the driver, and it makes a much bigger difference to comfort levels than you'd ever imagine. All I'm missing now is a decent rest for my left foot during long passages of motorway cruising.

    Above and right Diversions via petrol station forecourts, speed traps every few minutes, roadside fixes achieved by a rub with a bit of cloth, roadside fossil shops... it’s just your average trip to the Sahara in a Ferrari Testarossa.

    Another early surprise is the distance the Testarossa can cover between fuel fill-ups. The tank capacity is vast at 118 litres (25.2 imperial gallons) and, when you're pottering along a motorway at close(ish) to the national speed limit, the mpg can soon drift into the low 20s, meaning the reserve light only starts winking at you after 400 miles or so have passed. The icing on the cake at the time of our visit was that unleaded in Spain cost the equivalent of 90p per litre and with Spanish policing noticeable only by its absence, we were soon barrelling across the country at a serious lick, our speed only tempered by our ability to withstand the volume of wind noise.

    We'd booked a motel just north of Seville for our first stop and awoke the next day to find the Testarossa surrounded by serious off- roaders, all heading to Morocco as support vehicles for the annual 'Renault 4L Trophy'. This involves some 1150 vehicles testing themselves to the limits over 1500km of trails in the desert and there was disbelief when I revealed we were heading there, too. They kindly promised to help out should we require assistance, which was reassuring to know after I discovered a few weeks ago that there's no rescue service on offer from organisations such as the RAC or AA if you venture into Morocco. Another unwanted discovery was that UK insurance polices generally only cover driving in Europe, so cover for Morocco needs to be arranged separately and isn't automatically available... especially if you're taking a 28-year-old classic Ferrari into the Sahara.

    We reached Tarifa in good time, found the right queue for the ferry, clambered out and stretched our legs. Mrs Metcalfe was very grateful to find not a breath of wind, so there was every chance the crossing to Morocco should be smooth. I was more chuffed by the way the Testarossa had demolished the previous 640 miles without any issues. My only slight concern was what came next because, in typical bloke fashion, I chose which crossing to take purely on how cool the ferry looked in pictures. So we were queuing for FRS's 'Tarifa Jet', an amazing catamaran craft packed with a monstrous 38,500hp giving it a crazy cruising speed of 42 knots (48mph), which gets you to Morocco in a mere 35 minutes. However, the guidebook I read on board warned its readers not to book this particular crossing because Tarifa Jet docks in Tangier City, which is not tourist-friendly at all. As we were to discover when we drove out of customs and got caught up in the petrol station mayhem...

    I'm still refusing to drive over the huge concrete step blocking our route ahead. There's nothing for it but to get the cars behind to back up, allowing us to turn around and then look for another route out of Tangier's inner-city mayhem. With only the compass on my iPhone to guide us in the right direction, we finally discover a motorway sign. A sense of calm at last filters through the Testarossa's cabin as we spot the sliproad we've been hunting for: time to head towards Marrakesh.

    Above and right. Manyofthe road surfaces in Morocco are surprisingly smooth and civilised - many, but not all... Petrol is extremely cheap, and other types of road-users range from overloaded trucks to camels.


    I had been warned by regular visitors to Morocco that speed traps are rife on motorways and it's not long before we spot our first only a few kilometres out of Tangier. We flash past a lonely policeman hiding in the undergrowth pointing a laser gun in our direction and, a kilometre or so later, it comes as no surprise when we're waved on to the hard shoulder by a group of armed and uniformed police officers for a 'chat'.

    I knew we hadn't been speeding because I'd religiously stuck to the GPS-checked speed of 120km/h but, even so, documents are demanded and, after a cursory glance, we are grudgingly waved on our way, only in time for us to spot another speed trap further down the road. Then another, and another. By the time we reach Marrakesh that evening, we reckon we have passed through 20 of them. A bit of a shock after 640 miles of freedom in Spain.

    The next morning, with the sun again beaming down on us out of a cloudless sky, photographer Justin Leighton arrives with Octane's Matthew Hayward to join us on our adventure, having flown into Marrakesh overnight. Our plan is to head over the Atlas Mountains via the infamous Tiki Pass, after which we will turn slightly north-east to Ouarzazate and then on to Errachidia before turning south again, towards our destination of Erg Chebbi. Total distance for today's leg is predicted at 338 miles with a travel time of eight hours.

    The hotel doorman had directed me to park in pride of place right outside the main entrance last night (apparently it's not often a Ferrari Testarossa visits Marrakesh) and, as it's a bit chilly this morning, I go to start the engine and warm its vital fluids before setting off. I twist the key, the starter spins but the 12-cylinder eruption that should follow within a few seconds is absent. Oh dear, this wasn't in the script. Justin suggests it might be a good idea to order some tea.

    It works because, while I down a delicious glass of Moroccan peppermint, I remember the car did this once before and it turned out that the left-hand distributor cap was a bit damp inside - and last night was the first time the 'Rossa had spent a night al fresco in ages. I whip the cap off, give it a wipe inside, bolt it back into position, and the car starts straight away. The relief is palpable. Now we can begin our big adventure!

    It's cost us an hour so we need to get a move on, and in the rush to get out of Marrakesh I forget to set up my digital speedo, which I instantly regret after getting pulled at the very first speed trap we stumble across for doing 69km/h in a 60 limit. The police can't quite believe I'm in a Ferrari and warn that the road ahead is in poor condition after the harsh winter, but at least it's open. One police officer takes me aside and asks if I have another car available. I thank him for his helpful advice and, 300 dirham (£20) lighter, we press on towards the snow-capped Atlas Mountains in the distance. I've been itching for this section of road.

    As it turns out, the climb towards the summit quickly becomes an anti-climax, as the route is choked by overloaded lorries grinding their way almost at walking speed, so we stop at a fossil store and buy some crazy-coloured rocks to cheer ourselves up. The road surface as we near the top is terrible, a mix of mud, gravel and tarmac with hidden potholes, making overtaking next to impossible. This trip is going to be a whole lot tougher than I had expected.

    But when we finally reach the 2260m (7414ft) summit, the sun breaks through the low cloud, the threatening snowflakes fade and the trucks dissipate as the road starts to twist its way down the other side of the mountain. Finally, I can begin to enjoy the Testarossa as Enzo intended and soon the wail of 12 cylinders is bouncing off the rocky walls lining the side of the road. The further we drop, the better the road surface gets and it's not long before the painful experience of the tedious trip out of Marrakesh becomes a distant memory.

    With not a cloud in the sky, the scenery unfolding outside is ratcheting itself up from amazing to utterly stunning. Craggy cliffs way above us mix with patches of cultivation in the valley below, the glorious colours vary from a reddish-pink on the rocky mountain tops to a grey-green in the valleys below. Every now and then we come across gents wearing hooded cloaks (djellabas) gathering firewood or scrub and often riding donkeys. The further we blast along this road, the greater the contrast with the familiarity of Spain only a day or so earlier.

    Some 125 miles after Marrakesh we stop for fuel (60p per litre!) in Ouarzazate, a town made famous as a filmmaking location. Movies made shot include Lawrence of Arabia, The Living Daylights and more recently the TV series Game of Thrones. And you can see why, as we sweep through the Vallee du Dades towards Errachidia. The overwhelming impression is of endless space, with nothing man-made or remotely modem to interfere with the extraordinary landscape rolling out in every direction.

    We're starting to push on, yet the chances of reaching our planned overnight stop in the dunes of Errachidia are fading. Distances between landmarks on a map seem at least twice as far in reality and our eight- hour estimate is proving hopelessly optimistic. At least the speed traps have finally disappeared and we only meet the local constabulary during random document checks into and out of towns along our route. As it happens I've discovered that, whenever we spot a police roadblock, tucking the Ferrari up behind Justin's Dacia hire car lessens the chance of us being stopped.

    The sun is sinking slowly into the horizon, signalling that we will soon be plunged into darkness - not good news, even though the Testarossa's quad-headlights are surprisingly good at piercing the inky night sky. No, the problem is that driving trucks, cars and bicycles without lights seems to be a national sport in Morocco, as is running across the road whenever foreign cars are approaching. By ten o'clock we've had enough of dodging endless errant cyclists and pedestrians in the middle of nowhere, so wearily we pull into Kasbah Chergui, the first hotel we spot as we drive into Erfoud, 40 miles short of our intended destination.

    Fortunately we discover we've struck gold because the staff couldn't be more accommodating and open up the kitchen to serve us a welcome supper, along with a glass or two of Domaine de Sahara Reserve red wine (which turns out to be surprisingly good). We retire happy, albeit with the prospect of an early start in the morning.

    The same cheerful staff who served us supper treat us to a breakfast of traditional Moroccan pancakes with honey, followed by juicy chunks of melon, topped off with coffee thick enough to stand a spoon in. Fantastic. Outside, the sun is getting to work and the temperature is already heading towards today's promised 26°C peak - not bad for mid-February. Refreshed, we pack our bags, clamber in and prepare to set off. But there's a problem. The Ferrari won't start again. And cleaning the distributor cap doesn't do the trick, and nor does the Moroccan tea that Justin orders. This really is not good news but there's no way I'm giving up now.

    I whip out a spark plug and determine that no sparks are showing on either bank of cylinders, so I guess it's an immobiliser problem and start delving into the wiring to see if I can spot a fault somewhere. An hour or so later, with removed interior panels scattered around the place, we find a loose wire hidden behind the glovebox and, once it's re-connected again, the car fires up. Oh, the relief! We say our goodbyes to the hotel staff and get under way.

    After 20 miles, an enormous arch marks the entrance to Rissani, the last outpost of civilisation before the tarmac road we're on runs out ten miles before our final destination. Despite that, the road leading away from town is one of the best we've been on, arrow-straight for miles, its surface shimmering in the desert heat. It looks mighty tempting and, well, it would be rude not to. The Ferrari's throttle gets flattened, the engine note hardens and third gear is rapidly consumed. That oh-so- distinctive Ferrari flat-12 warble is demanding our full attention now, as is the way the horizon is rushing towards us. Click, clack, into fourth gear. Repeat. Yikes, this car can get a move on; it might feel slightly ponderous at lower speeds but it's higher up the speed range that the Testarossa really comes alive, almost untroubled by the volume of air it's having to push through.

    As we round a bend, the pinkish-orange Sahara dunes finally loom on the horizon. The euphoria we feel at that moment is the same as you get when you've been at sea for days and then land suddenly appears. Just that brief glimpse of what lies ahead makes it seem worth travelling all this way for. I sense this is going to be very special. The dunes look huge, even at this distance, and a few miles later we spot a rickety sign for the Hotel Yasmina pointing into the desert proper. The hotel is so remote it doesn't even have a street address, only a grid reference.

    The owner of the Yasmina had promised me it would be possible to reach it with a two-wheel-drive car and, as it's where Richard Bremner and the 512M stayed 20 years ago, I know at least one other Ferrari has made it there before.

    The track surface turns out to be hard and big obstacles such as the odd dried-up raven or rocky outcrop are few, so four-wheel drive isn't really needed. The biggest problem is the vicious washboard surface the track has degraded to: it shakes everything on the car to pieces, and my heart sinks at the realisation that the are ten miles of this to endure. Several Toyota Land Cruisers make a detour to check us out, their occupants smiling in disbelief at what they're witnessing. I'm down to a crawl, shuffling along in second gear, with the engine barely above tickover, and it takes 40 minutes to complete this final leg of the journey, and even then we're not quite there because, from nowhere, a huge oasis appears in front of us, and there seems to be no way around it. Frustratingly, I can see the Yasmina in the distance.

    By now, locals have got wind that there's a daft Englishman in a Ferrari lost in the Sahara and a couple of kids on beaten-up mopeds are zinging towards us. I climb out to explain in my best pidgin French that I'm trying to reach the Hotel Yasmina but don't know a good way to get there in the Testarossa. One agrees to lead me there for a few dirham, to which I happily agree. It must look like a bizarre convoy as a single battered moped with its rider dressed in traditional costume escorts the Ferrari over the uneven terrain. He takes us on a huge loop up on to the stony banks surrounding this oasis. I'm so glad the Testarossa wears relatively tall tyres because there's no way today's ultra-low-profiles would survive what we're doing right now.

    In fact, the Ferrari has proved to be a great companion on this trip, comfortable beyond expectation, unbelievably capacious for a mid-engined car and only consuming a single litre of oil and absolutely no coolant throughout the whole trip. Even the air-conditioning worked, miraculous for an 1980s supercar in my experience. The roads in Morocco were way tougher than I had ever expected them to be but, then, the Moroccans we met along the way were always extremely friendly and courteous, which helped lift our spirits. My guide on the moped ahead finally pulls over and cheerfully points towards the singletrack bridge across to the hotel in front of us.

    Wow. The scale, the beauty, the remoteness: it's almost all too much. The Ferrari has made it, and I can't quite take it all in. We left our frosty gravel driveway at home in the genteel Cotswolds only four days ago and now, some 2000 miles later, the stunning dunes of the Sahara are stretching out in front of me for thousands of miles and it looks utterly wonderful. There's the quiet satisfaction of finally achieving my personal goal of driving a Ferrari to the Sahara. The difference is that, 20 years ago, Richard Bremner drove a brand-new Ferrari here with a degree of factory support hiding in the wings should it ever have gone pearshaped, while I drove a 28-year-old Ferrari here with just a minimal toolkit, a can of Radweld, a tow-rope and a credit card as back-up.

    Quite how sensible that will prove to be I'm not too sure, especially when, in a few days' time, we'll be turning around to drive all the way home again. All I want to do now, though, is to park up and enjoy our wonderful new desert base to the full. After what we've been through to get here, I think we've earned it.

    THE #1987 #Ferrari-Testarossa TECH DATA
    ENGINE 4943cc flat-12, DOHC perbank, #Bosch-K-Jetronic fuel injection
    POWER 390 bhp @ 6300 rpm
    TORQUE 354 lb ft @ 4500 rpm
    TRANSMISSION Five-speed manual, rear-wheel drive
    STEERING Rack and pinion
    SUSPENSION Front and rear: double wishbones, coil springs, telescopic dampers, anti-roll bar
    BRAKES Discs
    WEIGHT 1505kg
    Top speed 178mph.
    0-60mph 5.3sec


    Harry’s Ferrari shares garage space with a Countach and 911 Turbo. So which is best?

    I bought the Ferrari back in the summer of 2014 to sit alongside my 1987 Lamborghini Countach QV and 1989 Porsche 911 Turbo, creating my all-time perfect ’80s supercar trio.

    They couldn’t be more different. The 911 is the everyday supercar, blending into the background when needed but then delivering weapons-grade overtaking pace. The Countach is the stereotypical supercar best enjoyed over short periods; while the Testarossa sits somewhere in the middle, bridging both ends of the ’80s supercar experience.

    The Testarossa is the most modern of the three too (both the Countach and Turbo date from the early ’70s), the engine is untemperamental thanks to fuel injection (the Countach V12 is carb fed), the air-con works, visibility out is fantastic and the luggage space is vast thanks to the shelf behind the seats. We tested this by packing away a Moroccan bathroom sink, several large serving bowls and a set of fossil encrusted dinner plates!

    I chose a 1987 Testarossa because that year got the single-nut wheels (prettier than the later four-bolts) and the exhaust is pre-catalyst, so the engine sounds the best. Having now done this trip, I can see the Testarossa turning into my first choice for big trips, which is not something I would have ever predicted before I bought one. That’s why the Testarossa has turned out to be the most surprising supercar of the bunch.

    Below and bottom. Camels. Well, it was kind of inevitable.

    As was the prospect of the Ferrari Testarossa having to off-road at some point. Less assured was how well it would cope with the journey, yet it was unfazed.


    Above and right Black leather, red carpets and huge wheelarch intrusion - must be an ’80s Ferrari; those gates into town, must be Morocco; epic sand dunes, yep, must be the Sahara. Seems we’ve arrived...


    Above and right. Many of the road surfaces in Morocco are surprisingly smooth and civilised - many, but not all... Petrol is extremely cheap, and other types of road-users range from overloaded trucks to camels.


    Choose your ferry wisely, take plenty of cash and don’t speed.

    Stating the obvious, morocco is a very long way away from the UK. We shortened the distance travelled by taking the Brittany Ferries overnight service from Portsmouth to Santander.

    Choosing your crossing between Spain and Morocco needs care. We made the ‘mistake’ of booking a crossing that delivers you at Tangier City, which proved a nightmare to navigate out of. The best ferry is Algeciras to ‘Port Tangier Mediterranee’ further up the coast, which links directly on to the A4 motorway.

    On the ferry across, you need to get your passport stamped before entering Morocco and then you have to clear customs, who will search your car and inspect the registration papers and insurance documents in minute detail. Allow at least an hour to clear.

    Next, make sure you have plenty of dirhams on you because you have to pay with cash almost everywhere. Motorway tolls, fuel, even hotels in the sticks only accept cash and finding an ATM isn’t easy, nor is getting dirhams in the UK.

    As for driving in Morocco, I’ve never visited anywhere with more speed traps, so stick to the speed limit. If you get stopped (and you will), the police will want paying in cash, or your car will be confiscated.

    Finally, driving at night is best avoided as it’s so dangerous; 'sports cars’ are rare in Morocco, which makes finding replacement tyres next to impossible; and any breakdown is serious because there’s no national rescue service either. Good luck!
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  •   Malcolm McKay reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    The #Berlinetta-Motorcars #Ferrari-Testarossa . As a career objective, flea marketeer looks better and better. By #Larry-Webster . How are the brakes on this thing?” — the passenger asked uneasily, just after a thunderous blast to 120 mph.

    “Don’t know yet,” replied the writer/driver. Which is definitely not the reassuring response someone — in this case, the father of the car’s builder — hopes for when riding shotgun in a twin-turbo Testarossa with a writer/driver intoxicated by the overload rush of insane acceleration.

    “You know,” said the passenger, “going fast makes me sick.” No matter how powerful a car is, there will always be people who want more. Car owner Ralph Fasano, a 50-year-old flea-market entrepreneur, wanted more. At Ferrari club meets, the power of his stock #1986 #Testarossa simply wasn’t enough, so he asked #Doug-Pirrone , president of Berlinetta Motorcars, to help.

    Pirrone’s company has been restoring and tinkering with Ferraris since 1979. A few of his restorations have been class leaders at prestigious car shows. A Berlinetta-restored 1959 long-wheelbase California Spider won its class at Pebble Beach in 1984, earning Berlinetta Motorcars a reputation for quality work.

    When numerous customers wanted more from their cars, restoring branched into modifying. For example, Pirrone extensively modified a 308, and in 1992 he entered it in the GTO class at Lime Rock and finished sixth out of eight. An impressive showing considering the class was dominated by the likes of Steve Millen, his factory-sponsored 300ZX, and a considerable racing budget.

    The car on these pages was built in two stages. Stage one cost about $16,000 and involved installing two Garrett turbochargers with twin air-to-air intercoolers, along with the necessary plumbing and a slightly different fuel-delivery program. Because all other mechanical pieces remained the same, Pirrone kept boost at 10 psi to avoid overstressing the engine.

    Fasano liked it, but still he wanted more. This lust for power would have made J.P. Morgan proud. Stage two cost a little more — oh, about $150,000 — and mainly beefed up the engine to allow higher boost. Stronger pistons (which lowered the compression ratio from 9.2 to 8.3:1) cylinder liners, connecting rods, and cylinder-head studs fortified the engine. A Haltech programmable fuel injection and ignition system with an MSD high- energy spark amplifier improved fuel delivery and upped spark intensity. Finally, a piston-cooling system pirated from a Porsche 911 Turbo 993 was installed to spray oil on the undersides of the pistons to reduce temperatures inside the engine.

    Suspension modifications ensured that all this newfound power could be used. Stiffer shocks, anti-roll bars, and suspension bushings and joints allow increased variation by replacing the Ferrari’s shim adjusters with a threaded-rod and locknut design. The rear anti-roll bar can even be adjusted from inside the cockpit. Larger brake rotors, AP racing calipers, and a brake water-cooling system — it sprays water into the cooling duct — provide increased stopping power. Finally, a shorter, more usable fifth gear was installed.

    A complete lack of catalysts as well as other alterations make this car more like a racer than a very fast street car. Koenig body panels produce better airflow and a wilder look. An on-board fire system, a roll bar, racing harnesses, fuel pressure and boost gauges, and an adjustable front-to- rear brake bias valve satisfy most competition safety requirements.

    During our brief drive, Pirrone adjusted the wastegates to allow about 19 psi of boost. He claimed that at this setting the car was making about 900 hp. That’s more than double the stock figure of 380. Could this be true? There was only one way to find out. With the understanding that Pirrone would pilot the car and use high-octane racing gasoline, we headed off to the test track.

    Fuel problems plagued the first day of testing. During hard acceleration runs, the air-fuel mixture was simply too rich. The car sputtered and blew smoke out of its tailpipes during full- throttle runs. Acceleration was good, but not as good as the power claims had led us to expect. Fortunately, the Haltech fuel-injection system allows quick adjustment of the air-fuel ratio using a laptop computer. After an also-quick software change, we headed back to the track for another attempt at testing.

    Day two brought its own problems. The car still ran slightly rich, and a broken alternator belt prevented any attempt at a top-speed test. Pirrone’s best run produced the times shown here. Quarter-mile runs give a high-powered car time to overcome a less-than-perfect start and really demonstrate its power. The #Ferrari ’s time of 12.3 seconds at 117 mph is great, but not, somehow, what you’d expect of a 3781-pound car boasting a 900-hp powerplant. The last Testarossa we tested, a 1986 model, did it in 13.3 seconds at 107 mph. Porsche 911 Turbos 993 weighing 3362 pounds and tossing around 400 horses blast past the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds at 114 mph. Some of this performance shortfall stems from Pirrone’s drag-strip inexperience, but not all of it. We think if you swap the nine with a six in the horsepower chart, you’re closer to the ballpark.

    Enough about numbers. What’s it like to drive? At about 4000 rpm, the turbos achieve full boost and rocket the car forward. Off boost, there’s no roughness. And while the nightmarish Ferrari shifter remains to intimidate your right hand and the racing brakes are slightly touchy, the car motors easily around town. Try this for real fun — floor the throttle just before you drive underneath an overpass. The whirling turbos, popping wastegates, and ferocious roar, which replaces the lovely Ferrari shriek, make you swear you’re driving at Le Mans. Surprisingly, the stiffer suspension never crashed over Michigan potholes, and the high-effort, power-free steering is refreshingly direct.

    Pirrone offers different packages for most late-model Ferraris. You may be limited only by the depth of your wallet and the intensity of your desire for speed.

    Berlinetta Motorcars Ltd., 138 Railroad Street, Huntington Station, NY 11746; 516-423-1010.

    TECH DATA #1995 #Ferrari-Testarossa-Berlinetta-Motorcars
    Vehicle type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-passenger, 2-door coupe.
    Price as tested: $275,000 (estimated 1995 new).
    Engine type: twin-turbocharged end intercooled DOHC 48- valve flat 12 #Colombo aluminium block and heads, Haltech engine-control system with port fuel injection.
    Displacement 302 cu in. 4943cc
    Power (C/D estimate) 560 bhp @ 6500 rpm
    Torque (C/D estimate) 500 Ib ft @ 4200 rpm
    Transmission 5-speed manual
    Wheelbase 100.4 in
    Length 176.6 in
    Curb weight 3781 lb
    Zero to 60 mph 4.0 sec
    Zero to 100 mph 9.3 sec
    Zero to 130 mph 14.7 sec
    Street start. 6 to 60 mph 5.4 sec
    Standing ¼ -mile 12.3 sec @ 117mph
    Top speed (C/D estimate) 200mph
    Braking, 70-0 mph 184 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad 0.88 g
    C/D observed fuel economy 15MPG
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  •   Malcolm McKay reacted to this post about 4 years ago

    Twin Turbo. A thousand prancing horses by #John-Matras and photography by author. Forget the hoary cliché about the writers spine being pressed into the seat back. My backside was scooting upward, sliding on the leather, vectored toward the roof by the seemingly bottomless acceleration of the twin-turbo Ferrari Testarossa as it ventured well into triple-digit speeds.

    This may not be the fastest street-legal piece of automotive hardware in the world, but it’s in a very' exclusive club.

    Not that the standard #Ferrari-Testarossa was a slouch. Its five liters produce some 380 bhp, good enough for a sub-14-sec quarter mile and a top speed of about 180. But the standard #Testarossa is naturally aspirated, and this one has not one but two turbochargers. The boost isn’t some namby-pamby 10 or even 15 psi, but rather 23 psi, and horsepower, by the claim of the cars maker, is around a thousand. That’s 1,000. A one with three zeros. And there's more available, says maker Joe Pirrone, if you want to go with more boost.

    Pirrone, owner of #Berlinetta-Motorcars , a restoration shop and #Ferrari modification specialist in Huntington Station. New York, constructed the car for fellow Long Island resident and car enthusiast (absolutely) Ralph Fasano of Lattingtown. And though the 1000 bhp engine is surely the showcase of what was originally a 1986 Swiss-market car, it has been transformed into an awe-inspiring street vehicle and a track car that knows few peers.

    To anyone with even a casual acquaintance with Ferraris, this is no ordinary Modena model. The bodywork has been replaced with an almost complete Koenig body kit, including the front bumper/spoiler, headlamps (replacing the standard pop-up units), front and rear fenders and side valance, as well as the scoop added to the C-pillar and the rear deck extension. About the only thing left off was the big rear wing, which was simply too much, and a lower rear valance panel, which simply wasn’t needed. And the controversial standard side strakes were omitted. While the wide-body panels are anything but pure Ferrari, Joe contends that even Ferrari purists give the car’s appearance a thumbs-up.

    The wider fenders are for more than looks. While the Testarossa originally came with Michelin TRX 240/45VR-415 rubber front and 280/45VR-415 rear, the conversion weighs in with Dunlop SP Sport radials, size 245/40ZR17 front and 335/35ZR17 rear, enough to fill the fiberglass and still have enough surface area left over to apply for statehood. The wheels, by #HRE , are three-piece modular, 9.0 in. wide up front and 13.0 in. at the rear. Because the early Testarossas came with splined knockoff-style wheels, Berlinetta machined the backs of the wheels to fit the original splined hubs.

    To keep all that rubber in line, the rubber suspension bushings have been replaced with spherical Heim joints, which also makes the suspension fully adjustable. Pirrone installed stiffer springs, and double adjustable (jounce and rebound) remote-reservoir Fox racing shocks are used all around, with double shocks per side at the rear. Front and rear anti-roll bars arc adjustable, the bias changeable from the cockpit.

    In anticipation of its use, #Doug-Pirrone installed the huge discs from the Ferrari 512 BBLM, ducting air from openings in the front spoiler to the center of the discs. The cooling air is directed into the ventilated disc itself, exiting through the vanes at the perimeter of the disc. For additional effectiveness, water can be sprayed into the duct inlet, the point being not for water spray to touch the disc-which could cause damage-but for the vaporization to cool the incoming air. (Remember heat of vaporization from chemistry class?) The system is controlled by a master switch on the dash and when on uses the brake light switch to activate the system. Brake bias is adjustable from under the hood.

    Inside the cockpit, a roll hoop behind the seats is braced to the rear, and five- point Simpson racing belts are installed, but other signs that this is a special Testarossa are limited. The stock instrument panel and dash are retained, and you still have to be a limbo artist to get in, but only the turbocharger boost and fuel pressure gauges, an LED readout for rich/lean fuel mixture, and the nozzle and safety- capped button for the on board fire extinguisher system hint at other than standard equipment.

    There's a small crackle-painted black box behind the passenger seat, however, that orchestrates the violence of the V12 just the other side of the firewall: twelve pistons, four cams, 48 valves and two turbos’ worth of activity that, when provoked, leaves little doubt that this Testarossa is special in the absolute sense of the word.

    Berlinetta rebuilt the 4942cc V12 utilizing lightweight Carillo connecting rods and oversized wrist pins. The pistons, like those used on the Toyota GTP cars, are from JE and have larger than standard rings to guard against breakage from possible detonation. Instead of the standard aluminium cylinder liners, custom fabricated steel liners are used with stainless steel O-rings for head gasket sealing. To really make sure the heads stay on. cylinder head studs of AerMet 100, a special steel alloy used for, among other things. Naval aircraft tailhooks, were used. Spray oiling, via nozzles tapped into oil galleries, cool piston bottoms. A carbon-kevlar clutch was installed, and the transaxle was fortified with a stronger fifth gear set and strengthened input and intermediate shafts.

    Ail this was just preparation for the two Garrett turbochargers, sized for peak power between 5000 and 8500 rpm, mounted under the heat shields over the tail of the transaxle. The turbos are fed intake air from the NACA scoops on the TWIN TURBO rear fenders; the intercoolers, pressed against the grille work between the tail- lights, get their cool air from the side scoops, air that in a standard Testarossa cools the rear brakes. Brake cooling air now comes from the C-pillar scoops. The side scoops are shared between the engine radiators and the intercoolers.

    From the intercoolers, fabricated tubing-a crisscross section delightfully glistening in silver crackle-leads to a fabricated airbox. The original Bosch K- Jetronic CIS fuel injection was replaced by a Haltech electronic injection system, the intake manifold machined for the new injectors and set up to take the throttle position sensor. The injection is controlled by that black box in the cockpit, which contains a programmable computer that also controls the twin-coil ignition.

    Two heated oxygen sensors are installed in the exhaust system, one feeding the computer terminal, the other used for the LED monitor on the dash. The computer-connected sensor will eventually be used to emission-tune the engine on the fly, although it is now used in “open loop” mode only so that it doesn't affect the programmed mixture. A laptop computer plugs into the onboard unit to monitor operation or alter the program. We’ve come a long way from tuning by car and the colour inside the tailpipe.

    Twin storm-sewer-size tailpipes service the off end of the turbos. Initially twin resonators were positioned after the turbochargers but had the unfortunate effect of making the Ferrari whisper-quiet. Off they came. It now sounds like a Ferrari V12. The turbine blades puree the exhaust note into a street manageable level but hardly emasculates the tenor wail of twelve cylinders in concert. The Twin Turbo Testarossa remains as manageable around town and on the freeway as the family minivan-at least any minivan with a gated five-speed floor shifter-and the most difficult chore is negotiating the Ferrari’s proboscis in and out of driveways. We all should have such problems.

    A Testarossa attracts attention. Road gangs pause from leaning on their shovels to watch it pass, and the exhaust note causes heads to rise from less important duties. And anything is less important. Inside is no different. The twelve cylinder burbles, warbles, moans and howls. Goosebumps! Then layer in the pop-off valves and their mighty expirations at every shift at speed. It lives.

    Dust off the clichés, round up the superlatives, put a spit shine on your astonishment. Mashing the throttle puts the rest of the world in freeze frame: Other cars can move laterally, but you control the advance and rewind button with the gas and brake pedals. The brakes are instant slo-mo. There’s more power here than holding the remote for the VCR.

    But does it really make one thousand horsepower? It hasn’t been dyno’ed, but Pirrone figures it this way; If it makes 380 bhp naturally aspirated-effectively at a pound or two vacuum-then at one bar, or 15 psi, it should make twice that, the engine as a pump processing twice the air and fuel. Add another half bar, for a total of 23 psi or so, and add another 190 bhp, for a total of 960 bhp. Figuring that the engine is built to handle 30 psi boost, 1000 hp is not out of reason. At least if you accept the premise.

    But does doubling the pressure then double the flow which then doubles horsepower? I don’t know and I can’t tell you. My seat of the pants dynamometer, remember, was lifted off the seat.

    Nothing is ever done alone. Doug Pirrone credits the following Berlinetta Motorcars personnel: Lee Stayton, design and fabrication engineering, mechanical assembly.

    Nino Volpe, all in-house machining. Ruben Rodriguez, sheetmetal design and fabrication, welding, fiberglass.

    Guy Dalton (Zul Broaching), specialty machining, engine and materials consultant.
    Berlinetta Motorcars Ltd.
    138 Railroad St.
    Huntington Station, NY 11746 (516) 423-1010

    TECH DATA 1995 #Ferrari-Testarossa-Berlinetta-Motorcars
    Vehicle type: mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive, two-passenger, 2-door coupe.
    Price as tested: $275,000 (estimated 1995 new).
    Engine type: twin-turbocharged end intercooled DOHC 48-valve flat 12 #Colombo aluminium block and heads, #Haltech engine-control system with port fuel injection.
    Displacement 302 cu in. 4943cc
    Power (C/D estimate) 960-1000 bhp @ 6500 rpm
    Torque (C/D estimate) 800 Ib ft @ 4200 rpm
    Transmission 5-speed manual
    Wheelbase 100.4 in
    Length 176.6 in
    Curb weight 3781 lb
    Zero to 60 mph 3.0 sec
    Zero to 100 mph 7.3 sec
    Zero to 130 mph 11.1 sec
    Street start. 6 to 60 mph 4.1 sec
    Standing ¼ -mile 10.3 sec @ 135mph
    Top speed (C/D estimate) 250mph
    Braking, 70-0 mph 184 ft
    Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad 0.88 g
    C/D observed fuel economy 11MPG
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