Ferrari Testarossa, the right combination of aesthetic innovations and pure boxer power

Heir to the 512 BBi, the Ferrari Testarossa takes its name from the racing cars that dominated track racing in the 1950s, namely the 500 and 250 Testa Rossa sports cars.

Designed by Pininfarina, this new project immediately strikes for its innovative aesthetic shape, larger than the previous version, marked by eye-catching air intakes positioned on the sides of the car. The Testarossa also mounts what is the most powerful engine equipped on a production road car up to now, an evolved 12-cylinder boxer, which can count on four valves per cylinder.

The heir to the Boxer series is designed by Pininfarina, but with respect to the previous model it has evident variations, especially from a visual point of view, maintaining some peculiar features, such as the engine, the twelve-cylinder boxer mounted in a central position, while the profile is abandoned. sharp wedge shape of the front, now replaced by a more rounded nose.

The continuation towards the tail of the front fenders proposes a stylistic feature with parallel lines, thus becoming the new distinctive feature of the Testarossa model, extending up to the deep door panels, which grow in width towards the end of their rear part, joining with the extended fenders of the rear axle.

On the rear panel, the cars produced in Maranello are equipped with a pair of circular headlights, but after ten years this particularity is abandoned, presenting on the Testarossa a grid of horizontal elements in satin black, which covers the entire tail panel, below which are the rear light clusters of rectangular shape.

The large rear bodywork and the deep door panels can boast similar dimensions thanks to the presence of water radiators mounted on both sides, to which the air, which serves for cooling functions, is supplied directly from the appropriate inlets in the doors.

The matte black grille on the nose does not perform a specific function, other than that of recalling a typical trait of the typically Ferrari aesthetic tradition, together with the position lights and direction indicators in a single block, and the retractable front headlights placed in the upper part of the nose.

The new position of the radiators also increases the space available for luggage under the front hood, which in the Boxer series is very limited. Compared to the 512 BBi, the front track has increased by only twelve millimeters; on the contrary, the rear one undergoes an increase of a full one hundred and five millimeters.

Overall, the car acquires a wedge shape, not so much in its profile, but especially in the horizontal plane.

The external rear-view mirror inserted on the windscreen pillar of the Testarossa, positioned on the driver's side, immediately generates contrasting reactions, to the point that it will be argued that the long double aerodynamic support could make the car less stable, compromising stability while driving.

Among those who decide to purchase this model, someone will opt to add a twin unit on the passenger side pillar.

Since the 1997 Geneva Motor Show, the single mirror located on the pillar has been replaced by a pair that recalls its line, but placing it on the lower corners of the windows. The car bodies are assembled on a chassis with a wheelbase of 2550 mm, with internal reference number F 110 AB 100. The first examples are numbered with the usual odd numbers, reserved exclusively for road cars, but later the sequence of continuous numbering.

The construction does not depart from the typical Ferrari principle, by designing a tubular steel frame, with crossed reinforcing arms and sub-structures to support the engine, suspension and accessory parts. The bodywork is mainly made of aluminum, with steel sheet doors and roof.

The model is available with both right and left hand drives.

After ten years, thanks to the Testarossa, the Cavallino is once again producing a car that also involves the US market, because the goal set in Maranello for this new project is to create a car capable of tackling all the markets in the world. The standard road wheels are light alloy, with the traditional five-pointed star shape, initially with a single central fixing bolt on the Rudge hub, later replaced by a five-bolt fixing system during 1988, the year in which even the interior finishes undergo variations.

The Testarossa is also characterized by the return of rims with different sizes, 8Jx16 the front ones, 10J x 16 the rear ones, while the space-saving spare wheel is placed in the front compartment. The large ventilated disc brakes with double hydraulic circuit and brake booster are covered by the wheels. All suspensions are independent, with wishbones, coil springs and hydraulic shock absorbers, double on the rear.

Finally, the car is equipped with front and rear anti-roll bars.

The engine, the first twelve-cylinder boxer in a configuration with four valves per cylinder, positioned under the bonnet of a Ferrari street, maintains the same displacement of 4943 cc as the 512 BBi. Bore and stroke are 82 by 78 millimeters respectively, while the internal reference number is F 113 A 000.

The engine can rely on double overhead camshafts per bank of cylinders moved by a toothed belt, now controlled directly by the crankshaft and not through a cascade of gears as on previous boxer engines. The drive unit with dry sump lubrication is longitudinally mounted as a block with the five-speed transmission, with a configuration very similar to that already seen on Boxer models.

There is also a Marelli Microplex MED 120 B electronic ignition system, and Bosch KE-Jetronic electronic injection. The declared power for the cars designed for the European market is 390 horsepower for 6.300 rpm, while for the specimens made for the United States, the performance values ​​are lower, given that the power is 380 horsepower for 5750 revolutions / minute.

The model will remain in production for seven years, undergoing only some minor aesthetic changes, until, at the end of 1991, it will be replaced by the 512 TR. The number of copies produced is 7.177 units: the numbering of the frames begins with the number 53081 and ends with the number 91.923.

It is also curious to know that a unique spider configuration with a folding roof will be designed and built for Gianni Agnelli's personal use.



Rear, longitudinal, 12V 180°

Bore and stroke 82x78 mm

Unit displacement 411.92 cm³

Total displacement 4943.03 cm³

Compression ratio 9.3:1

Maximum power 287 kW (390 hp) at 6300 rpm

Specific power 79 hp/liter

Maximum torque 490 Nm (50 kgm) at 4500 rpm

Double shaft distribution, four valves per cylinder

Bosch K-Jetronic mechanical injection power supply

Mono ignition, electronic Marelli Microplex

Dry sump lubrication

Two-plate clutch


Tubular steel frame

Independent front suspension, wishbones, coaxial coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers, anti-roll bar

Independent rear suspension, wishbones, double coaxial coil springs with telescopic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar

Disk brakes

Five-speed gearbox + RM

Steering pinion and rack

Fuel tank: capacity 120 l

225/50 VR 16 front tires

Rear tires 255/50 VR 16

Car body

Two seats

Length 4485 mm

Width 1976 mm

Height 1130 mm

Wheelbase 2550 mm

Front track 1518 mm

Rear track 1660 mm

Weight 1506 kg when empty


Top speed: 290 km/h

Acceleration from 0 to 100 km/h in 5.8 seconds, from 0 to 400 meters in 13.6 seconds, from 0 to 1000 meters in 24.1 seconds

Simone Pietro Zazza