Ferrari Testa Rossa


The Testarossa name, which, in Italian means “red head”, comes from the red-painted cylinder heads on the flat-12 engine. 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, 512TRs, and 512Ms were produced, making it one of the most common Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design. In 1985, the Testarossa retailed for about $94,000 ($176,032 in 2006 dollars) in the United States. This included a $2,700 (i.e., $5,100) “gas-guzzler” tax.

The car’s roots may be traced back to the 512 BBi of 1981. Both shared the same basic platform, though the Testarossa added coilover shocks 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 512BBi, which had done so with minor success.

The original Testarossa was thoroughly re-engineered for 1991 and released as the 512TR, effectively a completely new car. It increased the output of the 4.9 L engine to 428 hp (319 kW).

The 512TR’s engine was modified in many ways. Nikasil liners were added, along with a new air intake system, Bosch engine management system, 10.1:1 compression ratio with new pistons, larger intake valves, and a revised exhaust system. In addition to the extra power, the modifications delivered a flatter torque 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. A recall was issued in 1995, regarding fuel hose fitting issues[citation needed]. Over 400 models had this defect. Certain variances in temperature and environment would cause the hose to fail.

The 512TR could accelerate to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 4.8 seconds and could reach the quarter mile mark in 12.8 seconds. Top speed was 192 mph (309 km/h). It cost US$212,160 in 1992 with luxury items, the “gas-guzzler” taxes, and destination freight.

The Modificata F512M was the modified final Testarossa, with power now climbing to 440 hp (328 kW). The first Ferrari 512M was also a modified version of the 512S race car in 1970. Released in 1994, the 512M was the company’s last mid-engined 12-cylinder car, apart from the F50 and Enzo supercars, and featured the company’s last flat engine. It was replaced in 1996 by the front-engined 550 Maranello coupe. It should also be noted this car featured a different front lid with twin NACA ducts, and totally revised fixed headlamps. The rear of the car also controversially received four round F355 style lamps, replacing the classic straked rear grille.

The Testarossa appeared prominently in the 1980s TV series Miami Vice, from the third season onwards, making it one of the most recognized Ferraris since the 308 GTS used on Magnum P.I.. Testarossas were provided for “Miami Vice” by Ferrari in order to replace the replica Ferrari Daytona (a modified Chevrolet Corvette C3) of the first few seasons.
In his column in Evo Magazine, McLaren F1 designer and columnist Gordon Murray described the Testarossa as “dreadful”, having a centre of gravity “the same as a double decker bus”.
The Testarossa was the car used by the player in the 1986 arcade game Outrun which was later converted to home computer formats.
The Testarossa features in the music video for Kavinsky’s ‘Testarossa Autodrive’.
The Testarossa can be seen in the 2000 Disney movie “Mom’s Got a Date with a Vampire”. Charles Shaughnessy of “The Nanny” fame is seen buying one in the movie and paying for it in cash.

Scribbled on April 27th 2007 in Ferrari, Ferrari Testa Rossa
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