Ferrari Testarossa Buying Guide
The automotive icon of all that was right and wrong with the '80s, the Testarossa was also one of the first really usable supercars
• Project £50,000-60,000 • Good £60,000-100,000 • Concours £100,000-130,000 •
• Most expensive at auction: £200,000 (delivery mileage 1987 Testarossa)
Running costs ★
DIY Friendly ★
When the Testarossa arrived in 1985 to replace the ageing Berlinetta Boxer, it embraced the excess of the 1980s with open arms. Its name and red cam covers may hark back to the racing 250 Testa Rossa of the '50s, but that is all these two redheads have in common.
Those signature side intake strakes (necessary to feed the side-mounted radiators) and angular styling could not have been more different from the BB’s smooth, flowing lines. Yet under the aggressively styled body was a well-balanced chassis and a revised 5.0-litre flat-12 with 180mph performance potential.
While the basic design would last all the way through to 1996 in the form of the updated 512TR and F512M, the Testarossa itself was left largely untouched during its six-year production run, although the very first cars featured a single high-mounted driver side mirror which tends to get collectors salivating.
A few other minor mechanical changes were carried out over the years too, but when it comes to finding a Testarossa, you basically have one choice – and it will most likely be in red.
Your AutoClassics Ferrari Testarossa inspection checklist
An evolution of the 512BB unit, the flat-12 has proven itself to be a strong and reliable motor. Maintenance costs are high however and a service every year or around 6-7000 miles is required. If left neglected this engine can be very costly to repair.
Water pumps on pre-1989 cars can fail prematurely and a factory update was carried out so check the records for evidence of this. Many cars are left standing for long periods and rubber seals and pipes, especially for the air conditioner can perish or harden with disuse.
Cambelt changes are required every 15,000 miles or three years. The engine needs to be removed for the operation and is labour intensive as a result.
There was one five-speed transmission option throughout production with some minor updates in 1988. It is a hard-wearing unit and does not require much more than a periodic clutch change, which needs doing every 15,000 miles or so. That's also an engine out job and can be combined with the cambelt job to cut costs. The updated internals from the 512TR can also be used to extend its lifespan.
Regardless of the gearbox and clutch condition, the gears (especially second) will be hard to engage until the gearbox oil has warmed up. So don't panic when out on the test drive should you think the transmission is damaged.
Suspension and brakes
Cars produced in 1985 and early 1986 were fitted with a Michelin TRX tyre/wheel system. This system was short-lived and, due to the odd-sized alloys, required a conversion to the later setup to be able to use standard-size tyres.
The Testarossa is a heavy car and the shocks and bushes will need to be checked regularly. The brakes are strong, and they should only require attention at every alternate service. A pulsing or vibration through the brake pedal when decelerating could indicate warped rotors.
Mercedes-Benz 500 SL 1985
The Mercedes-Benz R107 was produced from 1971 through to 1989 and was the second longest single series vehicle produced by the firm, besides the G-Class. They were sold under the SL-Class and SLC-Class model names. The R107 took the chassis components of the mid size Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them to the larger engines from the S-Class. The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster wiFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Beaconsfield, UK£ 31,950
Jaguar XK150S Roadster 1958
1958 Jaguar XK150 S Roadster Chassis number: S830674DN Presenting amongst the most original XK150S Roadster's in existence. History. Harold Sunshine graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts in 1928 and would go on to be a textile designer operating his own company Harold W Sunshine & Co. Harold ordered the car in 1958 whilst living in Paterson, NJ. In 19For Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | UK£ POA
Porsche 914-6 1970
Legends are delighted to offer this 914 / 6 war horse, prolifically campaigned throughout the 1970’s and 80’s by Clay Grady of Rennenhaus fame. Porsche Certificate of Authenticity: Production date: 28/01/1970 Selling Porsche Centre: Porsche USA Chassis: 9140430220 Engine specification. Complete, disassembled and crated. Documented and photographed. 7R 2.7 case Mechanical Fuel InjFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | UK£ 60,000
Renault Alpine A110 1964
The history of this stunning A110 can be traced back to 1977 was exported from southern France to the USA. According to its first US owner the car looked as if it was used for competition, having virtually no trim, no ignition key (just a master switch) and various other competition features that were available in period from the factory, including a lightweight body, plexiglass rear screen, fibreFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Knutsford, UK£ 99,950
Plymouth Coupe 1937
1937 Plymouth Coupe condition: excellent cylinders: 6 cylinders drive: rwd fuel: gas odometer: 52000 paint color: custom title status: clean transmission: manual 1937 Plymouth Coupe Completely Professionally Rebuilt Original Flat Head 6 with less than 100 miles on it. All steel body. All original suspension. Extremely clean with no rust. Can be driven anywhere as a turn key claFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Lockport, IL, USA$ 23,000
Chevrolet Impala Convertible 1968
1968 Chevy Impala fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: automatic type: convertible 1968 Chevy Impala Convertible, runs well, stored last 18 years in garage, originally from Florida. Had new top, new seat covers, and new carpet and door panels installed about 10 years ago, all in nice shape, solid floors, solid frame, solid trunk. Had quarters repaired 20 years ago, mostly compleFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Creston, OH, USA$ 6,250
Plymouth Special Deluxe 1948
1948 plymouth special deluxe fuel: gas title status: clean transmission: manual 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe, 2 door Sedan. Car is mostly original with several upgrades: Carb has been rebuilt, lowered 3" in front, front disc brake conversion installed, new exhaust from manifold back, newer optima battery and may more. Car is daily driver in summer. 218 flathead 6 with 3 on the tree.For Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Upland, IN, USA$ 7,000
Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham 1968
1968 cadillac fleetwood brougham condition: like new cylinders: 8 cylinders drive: rwd fuel: gas paint color: grey size: full-size title status: clean transmission: automatic type: other 68 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham w/ rebuilt motor, new paint, new exhaust and breaks. Car is in mint condition and I am the third owner. Car runs excellent. Wanting $15,000 obo. Feel free to coFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Indianapolis, IN, USA$ 15,000
Nash Metropolitan 1954
1954 Nash Metropolitan condition: excellent fuel: electric paint color: red title status: clean transmission: other Award-winning 1954 Nash Metropolitan $6,500 and located in Leipsic, OH Runs on four 12 volt golf cart batteries and rear axel (and is charged in the front on the grill) Two 1954 Nash Metropolitans were purchased to create this one from the best parts of the two As yFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Leipsic, OH, USA$ 6,500
Chrysler New Yorker 1977
1977 Chrysler New Yorker condition: good cylinders: 8 cylinders fuel: gas paint color: green title status: clean transmission: manual Green on the Outside, Green on the inside! Clean 1977 Chrysler New Yorker. 440 7.2L V8, 88k Miles, newer tires, original radio still works, interior is in great condition, exterior is in pretty good shape a little rust but not too bad for a 40 year oFor Sale | 20 Jun 2018 | Fishers, IN, USA$ 5,500
That single outside mirror on the first batch of cars was due to a misinterpretation of a European law and from 1986-on low-mounted mirrors became standard. If they are mounted high then this is an aftermarket job and you may want to ensure that there is no rust or damage around the mirror.
While there are not too many visual differences between Euro and US cars, the US spec included large safety bumpers at the rear and a third brake light from 1986-on. Regardless of the minor cosmetic differences the majority of the body panels were made of aluminium so rust should not be a major issue here.
It is still important to check for badly repaired accident damage or poor resprays. The body panels should align well and those complex side strakes should be totally straight.
The Testarossa comes from an era when parent company Fiat thought nothing of fitting switches, buttons and vents from its mid-range saloons into its supercars. Thus, the cabin of the Testarossa, especially the dashboard, has not aged particularly gracefully.
The electronics are a weak point in many cars and only the most pampered cars will be trouble-free.
Check all switches and buttons to see what needs attention. If the car is fitted with a decades-old immobiliser/alarm system it may be best to have a specialist remove the whole lot and fit something more modern and reliable.
Sourcing replacement trim and switchgear can require some searching but the leather interior can be relatively easily re-covered, and most cars should still look good in this regard.
There was a recall on US cars regarding the passive restraint seatbelts, as well as a steering column locknut issue. Check the documentation to ensure that the fixes were carried out.
- 1985: Ferrari Testarossa replaces long-running 512BB. 385bhp flat-12 powers the rear wheels through a five-speed manual gearbox. US variants fitted with catalytic converters and produced 10bhp less than Euro cars.
- 1986: Michelin TRX tyre system changed for more conventional setup.
- 1986: One-off silver Testarossa Spider delivered to Gianni Agnelli. A handful of unofficial conversions also exist.
- 1987: Passive restraint system introduced on US versions. The dashboard design also received some subtle changes.
- 1988: Single bolt wheel changed to a more conventional five stud design.
- 1989: Catalytic converters now standard fitment on Euro spec cars.
- 1991: Ferrari Testarossa production ends with 7177 units built.
The Testarossa has not always been a prized high-value Ferrari. During its lean years some owners may not have always been as fastidious with the servicing and maintenance schedules as they should have.
Cars that have been left untouched for years may also require a significant recommissioning service; so don’t dismiss clean, well-used models.
Thanks to a relatively high production number, prices in the past have been reasonable for these accomplished sports tourers but that is all changing very quickly, and good ones are now getting very pricey. The early single side-mirror models seem to have quite a following and mileage and colour also have an impact on values.
Subtle differences between Euro and US models don’t significantly alter the driving experience. With minimal changes throughout production, the model year is far less important here than condition. Buy the best you can afford and keep a little aside to maintain your Testarossa in the condition it deserves.
|Power||385bhp (Euro) 375bhp (US)|
Ferrari Testarossa cars for sale here.
For more information on Ferrari 512 and Testarossa see FerrariChat.
Classic Cars for Sale
The Mercedes-Benz R107 was produced from 1971 through to 1989 and was the second longest single series vehicle produced by the firm, besides the G-Class. They were sold under the SL-Class and SLC-Class model names. The R107 took the chassis components of the mid size Mercedes-Benz W114 model and mated them to the larger engines from the S-Class. The SL variant was a 2-seat convertible/roadster wi
1958 Jaguar XK150 S Roadster Chassis number: S830674DN Presenting amongst the most original XK150S Roadster's in existence. History. Harold Sunshine graduated from the Pennsylvania Museum and School of Industrial Arts in 1928 and would go on to be a textile designer operating his own company Harold W Sunshine & Co. Harold ordered the car in 1958 whilst living in Paterson, NJ. In 19
Legends are delighted to offer this 914 / 6 war horse, prolifically campaigned throughout the 1970’s and 80’s by Clay Grady of Rennenhaus fame. Porsche Certificate of Authenticity: Production date: 28/01/1970 Selling Porsche Centre: Porsche USA Chassis: 9140430220 Engine specification. Complete, disassembled and crated. Documented and photographed. 7R 2.7 case Mechanical Fuel Inj
The history of this stunning A110 can be traced back to 1977 was exported from southern France to the USA. According to its first US owner the car looked as if it was used for competition, having virtually no trim, no ignition key (just a master switch) and various other competition features that were available in period from the factory, including a lightweight body, plexiglass rear screen, fibre