Ferrari Testarossa

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Ferrari Testarossa, 512 TR and F512 M
File:061 - Ferrari Testarossa - Flickr - Price-Photography.jpg
Manufacturer Ferrari
Production 1984–1996
Assembly Maranello, Italy
Designer Leonardo Fioravanti, Ian Cameron, Guido Campoli, Emmanuele Nicosia,[1] Diego Ottina at Pininfarina[2]
Body and chassis
Class Sports car (S)
Body style 2-door berlinetta
Layout Rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive
Transmission 5-speed manual
Predecessor Ferrari BB 512i
Successor Ferrari 550 Maranello

The Ferrari Testarossa (Type F110) is a 12-cylinder mid-engine sports car manufactured by Ferrari, which went into production in 1984 as the successor to the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer. The Pininfarina-designed car was originally produced from 1984 to 1991, with two model revisions following the ending of Testarossa production and the introduction of the 512 TR and F512 M which were produced from 1992 to 1996. Almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512 TRs, and F512 Ms were produced, making it one of the most-produced Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design.[3][4] In 1995, the F512 M retailed for $220,000 (£136,500).[5]

The Testarossa is a two-door coupé that premiered at the 1984 Paris Auto Show.[6] All versions of the Testarossa had the power fed through the wheels from a rear-mounted, five-speed manual transmission. The rear mid-engine, rear-wheel drive layout (engine between the axles but behind the cabin) keeps the centre of gravity in the middle of the car, which increases stability and improves the car's cornering ability, and thus results in a standing weight distribution of 40% front: 60% rear.[3] The original Testarossa was re-engineered for 1992 and released as the 512 TR, at the Los Angeles Auto Show, effectively as a completely new car,[4] and an improved weight distribution of 41% front: 59% rear.[7] The F512 M was introduced at the 1994 Paris Auto Show.[4] The car dropped the TR initials and added the M which in Italian stood for modificata, or translated to modified, and was the final version of the Testarossa,[4][6] and continued its predecessor's weight distribution improvement of 42% front: 58% rear.[8] The F512 M was Ferrari's last mid-engine 12-cylinder car, apart from the F50, Ferrari Enzo and LaFerrari, featuring the company's last flat engine. The Testarossa was replaced in 1996 by the front-engined 550 Maranello coupé.

The vehicle should not be confused with the Ferrari TR "Testa Rossa" of the late 1950s and early 1960s, which were sports cars that ran in the World Sportscar Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.[4]


File:SC06 1991 Ferrari Testarossa engine.jpg
A Testarossa engine with red cam covers.
File:Ferrari 512 TR - 003.jpg
One of the side intakes on a 512 TR, which leads to the side-mounted radiators.

The Testarossa name paid homage to the famed World Sportscar Champion 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa sports racing car.[9] Testa Rossa, which literally means "red head" in Italian, refers to the red-painted cam covers sported by both cars' 12-cylinder engines.[9]


The Testarossa can trace its roots back to the faults of the 1981 512i BB.[9] The problems that the Testarossa was conceived to fix, included a cabin that got increasingly hot from the indoor plumbing that ran between the front-mounted radiator and the midships-mounted engine and a lack of luggage space.[9] To fix these problems Ferrari and Pininfarina designed the Testarossa to be larger than its predecessor, the Berlinetta Boxer. For instance, at 1,976 millimetres (78 in) wide the Testarossa was half a foot wider than the Boxer. This resulted in an increased wheelbase that stretched about 64 mm (2.5 in) to 2,550 mm (100 in) which was used to accommodate luggage in a carpeted storage space under the front forward-opening hood.[9] The increase in length created extra storage space behind the seats in the cabin. Headroom was also increased with a roofline half an inch taller than the Boxer.

The design came from Pininfarina. The design team at Pininfarina consisted of Ian Cameron, Guido Campoli, Diego Ottina and Emanuele Nicosia. With little surprise, they were led by design chief Leonardo Fioravanti, the designer of many contemporary Ferraris. The design was originated by Nicosia, but the guidance of Fioravanti was equally important. Being a trained aerodynamist, Fioravanti applied his know-how to set the aerodynamics layout of the car. This meant the large side intakes were not only a statement of style but actually functional – they drew clean air to cool the side radiators and then went upward and left the car through the ventilation holes located at the engine lid and the tail. As a result, the Testarossa did not need a rear spoiler like Lamborghini's Countach yet produced zero lift at its rear axle. The aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.36 was also significantly better than the Lamborghini's 0.42.[1]

Pininfarina's body was a departure from the curvaceous boxer—one which caused some controversy.[9] The side strakes sometimes referred to as "cheese graters"[9] or "egg slicers,"[10] that spanned from the doors to the rear fenders were needed for rules in several countries outlawing large openings on cars. The Testarossa had twin radiators in the back with the engine instead of a single radiator up-front.[9] In conjunction the strakes provided cool air to the rear-mounted side radiators, thus keeping the engine from overheating. The strakes also made the Testarossa wider at the rear than in the front, thus increasing stability and handling.[4]

One last unique addition to the new design was a single high mounted rear view mirror on the driver's side. On US based cars, the mirror was lowered to a more normal placement in 1987 and quickly joined by a passenger side rear view mirror for the driver to be able to make safe easy lane changes.

Like its predecessor, the Testarossa used double wishbone front and rear suspension systems. Ferrari improved traction by adding 10-inch-wide alloy rear wheels. The Testarossa drivetrain was also an evolution of the BB 512i. Its engine used near identical displacement and compression ratio, but unlike the BB 512i had four-valve cylinder heads that were finished in red.[9]


File:1986 Ferrari Testarossa being unloaded.jpg
Production 1984–1991 (7,177 produced)[3][6]
Engine 4.9 L F12 291 kW (390 hp)[6]
Wheelbase 2,550 mm (100.4 in)[6]
Length 4,485 mm (176.6 in)[6]
Width 1,976 mm (77.8 in)[6]
Height 1,130 mm (44.5 in)[6]
Curb weight 1,506 kg (3,320.2 lb)[6]
Predecessor Ferrari BB 512i
Successor 512TR


The Testarossa sports a 4.9 litre (4,943 cc or 301.6 cu in) Ferrari flat-12 engine mid mounted.[6][11] Each cylinder has four valves, with forty-eight valves total, lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 9.20:1.[6][11] These combine to provide a maximum torque of 490 newton metres (361 ft·lbf) at 4500 rpm and a maximum power of 291 kilowatts (396 PS; 390 hp) at 6300 rpm.[3][6][12] Early U.S. versions of the car had the same engine, but slightly less power with only 283 kW (385 PS; 380 hp).[4][9][12]

The Ferrari Testarossa can accelerate from 0–100 kilometres per hour (62 mph) in 5.3 seconds[3] and from 0–60 miles per hour (97 km/h) in 5.2 seconds and on to 100 mph (161 km/h) in 11.40 seconds[3] (though Motor Trend Magazine managed 5.29 seconds and 11.3 seconds, respectively).[4] It can complete a standing (from stationary) quarter mile (~400 m) in 13.50 seconds or a standing kilometre in 23.80 seconds.[3] The maximum speed of the Testarossa is 290 kilometres per hour (180 mph).[11]

Gear Reverse 1 2 3 4 5 Final Drive
Ratio[3][12] 2.523:1 3.139:1 2.104:1 1.526:1 1.167:1 0.875:1 3.210:1

Wheels and suspension

When introduced for the 1985 model year, the Testarossa had magnesium single bolt "knockoff" wheels with a 16.33 inch (415mm) diameter. These wheels used the Michelin TRX system, and the odd diameter size makes it impossible to fit standard tires. These wheels could only be fitted with TRX tires size 240/45 VR 415 for the front and TRX 280/45 VR 415 for the rear.

Starting sometime in the 1986 model year, the wheels kept the same design but were changed to a standard 16-inch (410 mm) diameter, with a width of 8 inches (200 mm) at the front and 10 inches (250 mm) at the rear.[12] Goodyear Gatorback 225/50 VR 16 front tires and 255/50 VR 16 rear tires were fitted.[3][12]

The original rear suspension consisted of independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, twin telescopic shock absorbers on each side, and an anti-roll bar. The entire drivetrain and suspension was designed to be removed as a unit from underneath the car so the engine timing belts could be serviced.

In the 1988.5 model, the suspension was redesigned and the wheels were changed again from the single bolt knockoff setup to the standard Ferrari five bolt pattern. The wheel design still resembled the ones installed at the Testarossa's debut.[12]

The front brakes have a diameter of 309 millimetres (12.17 in) and the rear brakes have a diameter of 310 millimetres (12.20 in).[3]


The car won many comparison tests and admirers - it was featured on the cover of Road & Track magazine nine times in just five years. The price of the Testarossa in the US was $181,000 in 1989, including a $2,700 "gas-guzzler" tax. The original selling price in the UK was £62,666.[13]

Well-known Testarossa owners included Elton John, Alain Delon, Dr. Dre and Austrian Formula One racing driver Gerhard Berger.

Jack Nerad of Driving Today states, the Testarossa "... [was] a car designed and built to cash in on an image. And since cashing in was what the Eighties were all about, it was the perfect vehicle for its time. The saving grace was, it was also a damn good automobile."[9]

Although successful on the road, the Testarossa did not appear on race tracks, unlike the BB 512i, which had done so with minor success.

As Ferrari's range-topper during the 1980s, the car made numerous appearances in pop culture, most notably in the arcade game OutRun, and in the third season of Miami Vice. The car has subsequently become synonymous with 1980s "yuppies" and is an icon of 1980s retro culture.[14] Its side strakes have become a popular aftermarket body component for wide arch aesthetic body kits.[4] The strakes spawned knock-off treatments that were designed for cars such as the Pontiac Fiero and a wide variety of Japanese and American sporty cars and motorcycles such as the Honda VFR.[9]

Testarossa Spider

The Testarossa Spider, serial number 62897, is the sole official convertible variant of the Testarossa commissioned by Ferrari and designed by Pininfarina to be built. The car was specially made for the late Gianni Agnelli, head of Fiat at the time, as a gift.[15][16] The Testarossa Spider had a silver exterior, a white magnolia leather interior with a dark blue stripe running above the matte black sills, and a white top that could be manually stowed away.[15][16] The vehicle was delivered to Agnelli in 1986, and had a solid silver metal Ferrari logo on the hood instead of an aluminium one. The silver theme refers to elemental silver's periodic table abbreviation, Ag, the first two letters of Agnelli's name.[15][16]

Many customers requested their own Testarossa Spider, but Ferrari declined every one of them for spatial and structural challenges that would be a challenge to resolve,[17] and so Pininfarina and other conversion firms had to make unofficial Spider conversions.[15] The official Spider was no different mechanically than the normal Testarossas available in the European market. It had a standard 4.9 L 291 kilowatts (396 PS; 390 hp) flat-12 engine. The only difference, other than being a convertible, was that the Spider's front window and door windows were both shorter than those of the normal car.[15][16]

512 TR

512 TR
File:Ferrari 512 TR - 001.jpg
Production 1991–1994 (2,261 produced)[18]
Engine 4.9 L F12 319 kW (428 hp)[18][19]
Wheelbase 2,550 mm (100.4 in)
Length 4,480 mm (176.4 in)
Width 1,976 mm (77.8 in)
Height 1,135 mm (44.7 in)
Curb weight 1,473 kg (3,247 lb)
Predecessor Testarossa
Successor F512 M


The 512 TR sports a 4.9 litre (4,943 cc or 301.6 cu in) Ferrari flat-12 engine longitudinally mid mounted.[7][18] Each cylinder has four valves, with forty-eight valves total, lubricated via a dry sump system, and a compression ratio of 10.00:1.[7][19][20] These combine to provide a maximum torque of 491 newton metres (362 ft·lbf) at 5500 rpm and a maximum power of 319 kilowatts (434 PS; 428 hp) at 6750 rpm.[18][19][20]

The Ferrari 512 TR can accelerate from 0–97 kilometres per hour (60 mph) in 4.90 seconds and on to 161 km/h (100 mph) in 10.70 seconds.[7] It can complete a standing (from stationary) quarter mile in 13.20 seconds or a standing kilometre in 23.40 seconds.[7] The maximum speed the 512 TR can attain is 314 kilometres per hour (195 mph).[7][19]

Gear Reverse 1 2 3 4 5 Final Drive
Ratio[7][20] 2.428:1 2.916:1 1.882:1 1.421:1 1.087:1 0.815:1 3.45:1

A recall was issued in 1995, regarding fuel hose fitting issues.[21] Over 400 models had this defect which was caused by variances in temperature and environment. Another recall was issued in relation to the passive restraint system on seat belts not functioning properly, on over 2,000 512TR's.[21] If the restraint system suffered a mechanical or electrical failure only the lap belt would provide the occupant protection.

The 512 TR's engine was modified in many ways. Nikasil liners were added, along with a new air intake system, Bosch engine management system, larger intake valves, and a revised exhaust system. In addition to the higher peak power, the modifications delivered a more broad power curve for better acceleration.

Gearshifting effort, long a complaint about the Testarossa, was eased with a new single-plate clutch, sliding ball bearings, and better angle for the shifter. The braking system included larger front rotors and cross-drilling all around. Quicker steering, lower-profile tires, and new shock settings improved handling. Most importantly, engine and gearbox position was rethought, which improved the centre of gravity, aiding the handling and making the car less fearsome on the limit.

The interior was revised too, with the center console split from the dashboard, and the climate controls relocated. Pininfarina tweaked the body of the car to better integrate the spoilers and engine cover and update the design in line with the recently released 348.

It cost US$212,160 in 1992 with luxury items, the "gas-guzzler" taxes, and destination freight, it cost £131,600 in the UK.


The 512 TR has 18-inch (457 mm) wheels with a width of 8 in (200 mm) at the front and 10.5 in (270 mm) at the rear. The tire code for the front wheels are 235/40 ZR 18 and 295/35 ZR 18 for the rear tires.[7][19][20] The front brakes have a diameter of 315 millimetres (12.40 in) and the rear brakes have a diameter of 310 mm (12.20 in).[7]

F512 M

F512 M
File:Ferrari F512M 1996.jpg
Production 1994–1996 (501 produced)[4][22]
Engine 4.9 L flat-12 328.1 kW (440 hp)[8][23]
Wheelbase 2,550 mm (100.4 in)[8]
Length 4,480 mm (176.4 in)[8]
Width 1,976 mm (77.8 in)[8]
Height 1,135 mm (44.7 in)[8]
Curb weight 1,455 kg (3,207.7 lb)[8]
Predecessor 512 TR
Successor Ferrari 550 Maranello

The F512 M was the last version of the Testarossa. Five hundred and one cars were produced in total, of which 75 were right hand drive.


The F512 M sports a 4.9 litre (4,943 cc or 301.6 cu in) Ferrari flat-12 engine longitudinally mid mounted.[6][23] This provides a maximum torque of 500 newton metres (370 ft·lbf) at 5,500 rpm and a maximum power of 328.1 kilowatts (446.1 PS; 440.0 hp) at 6,750 rpm.[8][23] Each cylinder has four valves, for forty-eight valves total, lubricated via a dry sump system, with a compression ratio of 10.40:1.[8][23] Due to new titanium connecting rods and a new crankshaft that together weigh 7.26 kilograms (16.0 lb) less than those that they replace, the engine has a 7500 rpm electronic rev limit.[5]

The Ferrari F512 M can accelerate from 0 to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.70 seconds,[5][23] on to 161 km/h (100 mph) in 10.20 seconds,[8] and it can complete a standing quarter mile in 12.70 seconds or a standing kilometre in 22.70 seconds.[8] The maximum speed of the F512 M is 315 kilometres per hour (196 mph).[8][22][23]

Gear Final Drive
Ratio[8] 3.31:1


The front and rear lamps received a design change. The front lamps are now square framed lamps that are no longer hidden.[5] The rear taillamps are round and the bumpers have been restyled to yield a more unified look for the F512 M.[5] This car featured a different front lid with twin NACA ducts.


The F512 M's interior received a minor update from the 512 TR. The gearshift knob now has a chromed finish, the aluminum pedals are drilled, and air conditioning is now standard equipment. Carbon fiber racing bucket seats are also available at no extra cost, weighing only 14.97 kilograms (33.0 lb); much less than the standard seats.[5] Pininfarina and Ferrari flags line the dash board.


The F512 M has 18-inch (457 mm) wheels with a width of 8-inch (200 mm) for front and 10.5-inch (270 mm) for the rears. The tires are Pirelli P Zero,[5][8] with codes for the front wheels of 235/40 ZR 18 and 295/35 ZR 18 for the rear tires.[23] The front brakes have a diameter of 315 mm (12.4 in) and the rear brakes have a diameter of 310 mm (12.2 in).[8]

Concept cars and coachbuilt derivatives


Colani Ferrari Testa d'Oro

Designed by Luigi Colani in 1989, the Testa d'Oro was designed to break land speed records. It was based on a Testarossa with a 5.0 Ferrari-Lotec twin-turbo on its flat-12, outputting 750 hp (559 kW) at 6400 rpm and 900 N·m (660 lb·ft) at 5000 rpm. It successfully broke the record in its class in 1991, reaching 351 km/h (218 mph) with catalytic converters.[24]


File:1996 Ferrari FX - dk blu met - fvl (4653162375).jpg
1996 Ferrari FX at the Marconi Museum.

The Ferrari FX was custom made for the 29th Sultan of Brunei by Pininfarina.[25] It featured the flat-twelve engine of the Ferrari Testarossa and a 7 speed sequential transmission from the Williams Formula One team.[25] Only nine cars were ever made, six of which were delivered to the Royal Family in Brunei.[25] After the Sultan cancelled delivery of car number four, Dick Marconi bought the car from Williams.[25] Car number four is now on display at the Marconi Museum in Tustin, California.[25][26] The FX has a top speed of around 205 mph (330 km/h).[25] yet Ferrari claimed "We don't want to make the fastest car in the world" when they made them.[27]


File:Zagato FZ93.jpg
The FZ93 at the 2010 Goodwood Festival of Speed.

The FZ93 (Formula Zagato '93) was designed by Ercole Spada as a follow up to Zagato's series of Ferrari specials.[28] In 1994 the car was reworked and repainted all-red; it was also renamed as ES1 in honour of its designer.


After almost 18 years, Ferrari acknowledged that the F90 existed and six were made for the Sultan of Brunei in 1988. A brief passage in the 2005 Ferrari Annual outlined an impressive order of six bespoke supercars which were much more daring than anything Ferrari would have produced themselves.

The project was managed by Enrico Fumia, the head of the Research and Development department at Pininfarina. At the time, the project was top secret, so much so, Ferrari didn't know of the project. Fumia styled the car and said the F90 name referred to it being a "Ferrari of the '90s."

All six F90s used a Ferrari Testarossa chassis which Pininfarina used to sculpt an entirely new body and interior on top of. The engines were stock units, producing 390 bhp to the rear wheels, but the radiators were moved to the front of the car.[29][30]


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  • Sir Mix-A-Lot wrote the track Testarossa (on his 1992 album Mack Daddy) about his "jet black" 1987 Testarossa.
  • French House/Electro artist Kavinsky has written several songs about the Testarossa, including "Testarossa Autodrive", which was remixed by SebastiAn. The Kavinsky character's back story is that he fatally crashed his Testarossa and came back from the dead to make music.
  • The video and arcade game Outrun uses the Testarossa as the main car in the game avoiding traffic along the way taking different routes to the destination.

External links