Ferrari Testarossa
Ferrari Testarossa
aka "red head"
Ferrari 512 TR
Ferrari 512M (Modificata)
Production Testarossa
1984 - 1990
1991 - 1993
1994 - 1996

approx. 10,000 units
Class Supercar
Body Style 2-door, 2-seat Mid-engined Coupe
Length 4,485 mm (176.6 in)
Width 77.8 in (1976 mm)
Height 44.7 in (1135 mm)
Wheelbase 2550 mm

1505 kg
1475 kg (512 TR)
1455 kg (512 M)

Transmission Rear-wheel drive, Five gears, Single dry disc clutch
Engine 4.9 litre 180° Flat-12
Power 390 hp @ N/A rpm
N/A lb-ft of torque @ N/A rpm

428 hp @ N/A rpm
N/A lb-ft of torque @ N/A rpm

440 hp @ N/A rpm
N/A lb-ft of torque @ N/A rpm

Similar {{{similar (competition)}}}
Designer Pininfarina

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 512 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 Rossas" 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. 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.

Although successful on the road, the Testarossa did not appear on race tracks, unlike the 512BBi, which had done so with minor success.



A Ferrari 512 TR

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. 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 fake Ferrari Daytona of the first few seasons.
  • A one-off convertible version of the Testarossa also appeared in Sega's landmark coin-op games Out Run, and OutRunners. Iterations of this car also appeared in various outings of Namco's Ridge Racer games.
  • A red 512TR was featured in the game 1995 Electronic Arts game The Need For Speed.
  • Another fictional Testarossa appeared in the Nintendo arcade game Cruis'n USA, nicknamed Italia P69.
  • A Testarossa can be seen dropping its female passenger off at the start of the 1989 film Road House.
  • In the 1998 film A Night at the Roxbury, Richard Grieco (as himself) drives a yellow Testarossa, which Grieco says is an illegal racing car.
  • In the popular Grand Theft Auto videogames, a car named the "Cheetah" is modeled after the Testarossa. It is one of the few vehicles that has been used in every 3-D incarnation of the series.
  • 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".
  • In the Test Drive (video game), the Testarossa is one of the sports cars the player has to choose in order to play.


See AlsoEdit


Current Models

812 Superfast · 488 GTB · 488 Spider · Portofino · GTC4Lusso · LaFerrari

Historic Models

Enzo · F50 · F40 · 288 GTO · Testarossa · 250 GTO · Daytona · America/Superfast · 250 Series · 365 · 328 · 348 · F355 · 360 Modena · 456/456 M · 550 Maranello · 575M · 275 Series · 206/246 Dino · Mondial · 340 MM · 308 · 400/412 · 400 Automatic · 400i · 412 · Ferrari 125 S · 166 · 166MM · 512BB · 365 GT4 BB · 512iBB · 250 Testa Rossa · 308 GTB · F430 · F430 Spider · 612 Scaglietti · 212 Inter · 599 GTB Fiorano · 159 S · 195 · F12 · California · · ·


512 BB LM · 288 GTO Evoluzione · 360 Challenge Stradale · F40 GTE · F50 GT · FXX · FXX Evoluzione · 430 Scuderia · 599XX · 599 GTO · 458 Challenge · FXX K


125 F1 · 156 "Sharknose" · 206 SP · 312 · 312B · 312T · 330 LMB · 330 TRI/LM · F60 · 250 P · 250 LM · 330 P · 330 P2 · 330 P3 · 330 P4 · 412 P · 333 SP · F430 GT2 · 458 GTC · 500 · 512S · 512M · 625 · F10 · F2007 · F2008 · F310/B · 275/340/375 F1/375 Indy · 637 . 488 GTE


P4/5 · 166/250 Abarth Spyder · FX · Testarossa F90 Speciale · GG50 · 456 Venice · 575 GTZ · P540 Superfast Aperta F12 TRS


FXX Millechili · Pinin Concept · F430 Spider BioFuel Concept · FZ93 Concept · 308GT Rainbow Concept · Mythos Concept · 512 Modulo Concept · HY-KERS Hybrid Concept

Enzo Ferrari · Alfredo Ferrari · Giaochino Colombo · Giampaolo Dallara · Giotto Bizzarinni · Luca Cordero di Montezemolo · Cavallino Rampante · Scuderia Ferrari · Carrozzeria Scaglietti Personalization · Ferrari Portfolio · Dino · Ferrari Annual · Ferrari World

Enzo Ferrari Corporate website independent


  • Buckley, Martin & Rees, Chris (1998). World Encyclopedia of Cars. London. Anness Publishing. ISBN 1-84038-083-7
  • The Ferrari Pages Cars From Italy. November 18, 2004
  • "Retail Prices, Import Cars," Automotive News, April, 1986: page 53.
  • Preview: Ferrari 512TR. Car and Driver. March 1992. pg.57–59. William Jeanes

External linksEdit

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