The Ferrari Testarossa is a 12-cylinder mid-engined sports car made by Ferrari, which went into production in 1984 as the successor to the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer. The Pininfarina-designed car was radically wide at 1976 mm (77.8 in) and low at just 1135 mm (44.7 in) high.
It should not be confused with the Ferrari TR “Testa Rossa” of the late 1950s and early 1960s. These were GT sports cars that ran in the World Sportscar Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Testarossa name, which, in Italian means “red head”, comes from the red-painted cylinder heads on the flat-12 engine. Of course, the double entendre with a red-headed woman was intentional; in fact, Ferrari and Pininfarina regularly use descriptive terms related to a female’s body when describing the style of their automobiles.
The engine was technically a 180° V engine, since it shared flat-plane crankshaft pins with opposing cylinders. Output was 390 hp (291 kW), and the car won many comparison tests and admirers – it was featured on the cover of Road & Track magazine nine times in just five years. Almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512 TRs, and F512 Ms were produced, making it one of the most common Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design. 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
The car’s roots may be traced back to the BB 512i of 1981. Both shared the same basic platform, though the Testarossa added coilover shock absorbers to the double wishbones at the rear. The engine was similar, too, though it now featured 4 valves per cylinder. One significant mechanical difference was the radiator: the 512 BB featured a single radiator in the nose, while the Testarossa used a pair of smaller units on each side in front of the rear wheels. This necessitated the distinctive side-mounted air intakes and strakes, as well as the wide body. It also helped in lowering the cabin’s temperature, since the radiator’s hoses didn’t run under it.
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 the car became synonymous with 80s yuppies and nowadays plays a part of the 80’s retro culture, such popularity meant that the Testarossa has made appearance in numerous video games, even in its illustrations, most notably Out Run and in the TV series Miami Vice, onward from season three. Even its side strakes has at the time became a popular aftermarket body component for wide arch kits . The Testarossa still frequently makes appearances in videogames.