Ferrari Testarossa – After experimenting with center-mounted V12 engine in the Berlinetta Boxer, the 1984 Ferrari Testarossa was born as a much improved version, both in handling and performance, compared to the predecessor. Pininfarina made the original design of Ferrari Testarossa which was produced until 1991 before the introduction of 512 TR and F512 M in the following year. Both were derivatives of the original design and produced until 1996.
All versions of Ferrari Testarossa including the derivatives used mid-engine rear-wheel drive layout and 5-speed manual transmission. Engine was placed behind the cabin between the axles to help keep the center of gravity low and proper weight distribution of around 40% front and 60% rear. Weight distribution was later improved throughout the production years.
Ferrari Testarossa engine was a 48-valve 4.9L Ferrari flat-12 (you read that right, because each cylinder had 4 valves) generating 390 horsepower, which means it could take you from 0-60mph in just 5.2 seconds; keep the foot down and you would go 180 miles per hour. Ferrari Testarossa had an imposing size and a design cue that just went straight-to-your-face. It was the 1980s where everyone seemed to be having something in excess and the TV was full of glamorous people, and so the car complemented the lifestyle of the era just right.
Lamborghini with its Countach was a challenge that Ferrari took very seriously, and Testarossa was the answer. While the power output and performance between the two was pretty much equal on the road (with speed bumps, pedestrians, Volkswagen Beetle, cyclist, minibuses, and so on), Ferrari Testarossa was smoother and more user-friendly on day-to-day basis. It was not as if everybody in the 80s who bought supercars wanted to race on a track, anyway. Of course anybody can argue that the F40 or Porsche 959 was the top of the world when it came to sports car in the era, but they were all designed with performance-above-everything mindset.
Things were different with Ferrari Testarossa because it combined good looks and the importance of everyday-driving experience. The recipe was proven effective because about 10,000 Testarossa including 512 TR and F512 M were sold, making the model one of the highest production number in Ferrari’s history. Another important point was that Ferrari Testarossa price was relatively cheap in the world of supercars; in 1989, one could get it for $181,000 or around $360,000 of today’s money.
Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR and F512 M
Big changes happen in 1992 with the introduction of Ferrari Testarossa 512 TR and F512 M. By this time, production of the original car ended. The 512 TR used the same engine as the year before, but many things were refined to increase power output up to 428 horsepower.
Pininfarina also changed the design to better integrate engine cover and spoiler. Same engine was still used in the F512 M and power output increased to 440 horsepower thanks to new crankshaft and titanium connecting rods.
Now to the surprising part; you would think that Ferrari Testarossa with its powerful engine, mid-engine layout, and a design as if it was drawn by a kid, was a supercar. Well, it was not. The car was actually a genuine grand tourer. It was comfortable, fairly quiet, and the visibility was great even on busy road.