Classic Cars

Ferrari Testarossa (1984-1991)

June 4, 2011

Ferrari Testarossa_01In the Paris Motor Show in October 1984, Ferrari introduced the Ferrari Testarossa. The Pininfarina designed replacement for the Boxer series was visually radically different from its predecessor, although it still featured a mid mounted flat twelve engine. The sharp nosed wedge profile was replaced by a much softer rounded front end. The front wings flowed into one of the models most distinctive styling features, the deeply straked door panels that grew in width towards their trailing edge, before blending into very wide rear wings. At the rear, there weren’t anymore the paired circular tail light arrangement, which had been a styling feature for over a decade. But instead there were full width horizontally slatted satin black louvre hiding rectangular combination light units.

The reason for the great rear girth and the body colour straked door louvres, was the twin side mounted water radiators which received their cooling air via the door intakes. The matt black egg crate “grille” in the nose of the car was a dummy to provide a link with Ferrari tradition, bordered by combination driving, side, turn indicator light assemblies, with paired headlights in retractable pods on the upper face of the nose. The repositioning of the radiators provided the benefit of additional luggage space in the nose.

The front track was 12mm greater than that of the 512 BBi, but the rear track increased by a massive 105mm, making the car wedge shape in plan rather than in profile. One of the styling features that drew mixed reactions was the single exterior mirror mounted on the driver’s side screen pillar. Some people felt that the long twin aerodynamic support arms gave an unbalanced effect to the car, and a number of owners “corrected” it by adding a matching unit to the passenger side pillar.

The bodies were mounted on a 2550mm wheelbase chassis that had factory reference number F 110 AB 100, with early cars in the odd chassis number road car sequence and later cars in the continuous number sequence. The construction followed the Ferrari principle of a tubular steel chassis frame with cross bracing, and sub structures, to support the engine, suspension, and ancillary equipment. The bodywork was mainly aluminium with steel doors and roof.

The standard road wheels were five spoke “star” pattern alloy, initially with a single central chrome plated nut on a Rudge hub, which was replaced by five bolt fixing during 1988, with concurrent changes to the interior trim. The model also featured a return to the unequal size front and rear road wheel rim widths, with 8J x 16″ front wheels and 10J x 16″ rear wheels, plus a space saver spare wheel in the front compartment. The wheels covered large ventilated disc brakes with twin hydraulic circuits, and servo assistance. All round independent suspension was via wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, with twin rear units plus front and rear anti roll bars.

The engine was the first four valves per cylinder flat twelve cylinder configuration unit fitted in a Ferrari road car, but maintained the same cubic capacity of 4943cc, and 82mm x 78mm bore and stroke, of the 512 BBi model, and had factory type reference number F 113 A 000. It had twin belt driven overhead camshafts per bank, now driven directly off the crankshaft instead of via idler gears on the earlier Boxer models.

The dry sump engine was longitudinally mounted in unit with the five speed transmission, in a very similar manner to that of the preceding Boxer series. It was fitted with a Marelli Microplex MED 120 B electronic ignition system and Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection, to produce a claimed 390bhp at 6300rpm for European models, and 380bhp at 5750rpm for US market models. Testarossa was designed as a world car, so it was available in right or left hand drive form, and for the first time in a decade a 12 cylinder Ferrari was offered for the USA market.

Ferrari Testarossa remained in production with very few visual alterations for seven years until the end of 1991, when it was replaced by the 512 TR, during which time 7177 examples were built in the chassis number range 53081 to 91923. A single spider example, with full folding roof, was built for the personal use of Fiat supremo Gianni Agnelli.



  • flat-12
  • 4943cc


  • 287 kW (390 hp) at 6300 rpm


  • 490 Nm (50 kgm) at 4500 rpm


  • 5-speed manual

0-100 km/h

  • 5.8 sec

Top Speed

  • 290 km/h


  • Front: independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar
  • Rear:independent, unequal-length wishbones, coil springs, twin telescopic shock absorbers each side, anti-roll bar


  • Front: 225/50 VR 16
  • Rear: 255/50 VR 16


  • 4485 mm


  • 1976 mm


  • 1130 mm


  • 2550 mm


  • 1506 kg (dry)

Ferrari Testarossa_02