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    Stephen Bayley

    1985 Ferrari Testarossa Monospecchio

    Posted in Cars on Thursday, June 20 2019

    1985 Ferrari Testarossa £119,995 Can this early, low-mileage example of the archetypal Eighties supercar justify its (red-)heady price? Dale Vinten finds out

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    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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    / #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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    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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