Ferrari Testarossa


  • October 1984, and Ferrari unveils the new flagship of its GT range. The Testarossa is the highlight of the Paris Motor Show of that year and goes on to be the marque’s most emblematic model over the next decade.
  • A showcase of style and technical prowess, the GT defines an automotive zeitgeist, with her aerodynamic profile and 48-valve V12, capable of 390 hp and propelling her to a top speed of 180mph.
  • Its name harks back to the Ferrari heyday of the 1950s, but its aura is synonymous with the 1980s and the cults of power and luxury that came with it.

The Testarossa has a special place in the history of automotive production at Maranello. Ferrari has no shortage of legendary models - many made famous by the marque’s motor racing glory, but this car has enjoyed more of a civilian career. Designed to conquer the U.S. market, the Testarossa is a symbol of the success and excess of the golden eighties. Everyone has a vision in their mind of its distinctive lines; its long, low form and high-sided vents, but it is also a car with outstanding technical features.

The start of the 1970s saw a radical change in the design of GT cars - with the engine being moved from the front to the back. Faced with competition from the Lamborghini Countach and the Maserati Bora, Ferrari responded with the 365 GT/4 BB. This was the first production car from the Maranello-based company powered by a 12-cylinder Boxer engine located at the rear, a configuration subsequently adopted for all 12 cylinders Berlinettas for the following twenty-three years. In 1976 the direct ancestor of the Testarossa was born - the 512 BB.

What is the difference between a good car, the BB 512, and an icon? Firstly, one needs to consider the logic behind its conception. Like the 512 BB, the Testarossa is also equipped with a 5 liter 12-cylinder engine; albeit a thoroughly reviewed and revised version, with a new block and specifically adopted 48-valve cylinder heads. However, it was above all else the lines which caused a sensation at its unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in 1984. Indeed, bodywork design was also greatly influential to the Testarossa’s superior performance. Its exuberant form, the mark of Turin coachbuilder Pininfarina, is the result of a long and methodical design phase which included a rigorous sequence of wind tunnel tests. It was this process which led to the creation of the huge side vents that have become the Testarossa’s signature features. Integrated into the rear fenders and extended by fins on almost all of the doors, the side vents have the function of guiding the cool air sucked up by two lateral radiators. This lateral arrangement has two main advantages: allowing space for a luggage compartment at the front and eliminating any risk of over-heating in the cockpit.

To be continued...