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Ferrari Testarossa: Buying guide and review (1984-1992)

Ferrari Testarossa: Buying guide and review (1984-1992) Classic and Performance Car
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Is there a car more eighties than the Ferrari Testarossa? In the age where greed was good, this was one of the most excessive machines of its day, with those ostentatious side strakes and massive girth. But while the Testarossa was no shrinking violet, at least it had the go to match the show – it could dismiss the 0-60mph sprint in little more than five seconds before topping out at over 180mph. 
 
The Testarossa combines an unmistakable rising shoulder line with a low and incredibly purposeful profile. The stack of five strakes along the side of the door, leading into the car’s cooling and intake system, are one of the the most recognisable features. It all adds up to a car that looks like nothing else, as well as a little bit larger than a two-seater Ferrari ought to. 
 
At least that’s what we thought. In the context of modern machinery, the Testarossa barely a few centimetres broader than today's 599 and FF. It was also an inch narrower than its closest rival, the Countach, thanks to those bulging rear arches. It’s one of those designs that looks a little bit odd to begin with, but has improved with time and age.
 
Step inside and there’s no disguising Ferrari’s rampant pillaging of the Fiat parts bin. It’s a fairly simple interior, but many also go as far as saying it's incredibly dated. We're not sure that's necessarily a bad thing though, with little to detract from the driving experience. That relatively narrow-rimmed Momo steering wheel is a delight too. 
 
Which one to buy? 
 
Because we’re covering only the Testarossa here, and not its successors the 512TR (1992-1994) and F512M (1994-1996), you don’t have to decide which generation of flat-12 Ferrari to buy. As a result, it’s a question of just working out whether you want the iconic earlier edition with the high-mounted door mirror or a later car with vaguely more discreet looks. But not much. 
 
We wouldn’t sway you either way; in reality you’ll probably end up simply buying the best example you can find. Perhaps the biggest issue for many of these cars is that they’re rarely used, which can lead to all sorts of problems such as dried-out seals, hardened O-rings and gaskets along with gummed up injectors and perished hoses. 
 
They’re frequently left for ages, barely serviced because they’re not run, then when the time comes to sell, there’s a whole heap of recommissioning work to do. Doing this properly costs plenty, so if the car you’re buying has clearly done very few miles in recent years, pay for a professional inspection which will highlight the scale of any work needed. 
 
Performance and specs
 
Engine 4942cc, 12-cylinder 
Power 390bhp @ 5750rpm
Torque 354lb ft @ 4500rpm
Top speed 181mph
0-60mph 5.3sec
Fuel consumption 22mpg
Gearbox Five-speed manual
 
Dimensions and weight
 
Wheelbase 2550mm
Length 4485mm
Width 1976mm
Height 1130
Kerb weight 1506kg
 
Common problems 
 
• The Testarossa’s bodyshell is made from aluminium, apart from the steel roof and doors. Underneath this is a steel frame, which rarely suffers from corrosion as the Testarossa was very well made.
 
• It’s worth checking the aluminium panels for signs of flaking paint though, as it can peel off. Look for bubbling along the door bottoms as well as the wings where they meet the A and B-posts.
 
• Accident damage is another spectre to check for. Those strakes are a nightmare to repair, so if all five fins aren’t straight and parallel, suspect foul play. Also see if the front and rear bonnets are aligned properly and if they close easily. If they don’t, the catch is probably out of kilter.
 
• The flat-12 is very strong, but it has to be looked after by a specialist, and that’s costly. An annual service (or every 6250 miles) is essential, as are fresh cam belts every 15,000 miles (or 3-4 years); the engine has to come out to replace these.
 
• Pre-1989 cars can suffer from water pump gremlins. Ferrari issued a recall to fix things, so see if there’s reference to a water pump chain update in the service history.
 
• See if the engine fires from cold; it should start immediately, unless it hasn’t been run for a few weeks. Expect the flat-12 to idle at 2500rpm until warm, at which point it should settle to a nice even 1000rpm.
 
• Transmissions are strong (all cars got a five-speed manual gearbox), but you won’t be able to engage second until everything has warmed up.
 
• Clutches generally have to be changed every 10-15,000 miles or so, which is an engine-out job. While you’re at it, convert to a 512TR set-up, which can double the mileage you’ll get between fresh clutches.
 
• The Testarossa is a heavy car, which takes its toll on the suspension. There are six dampers, all of which can wear out, while the suspension bushes also perish. Replacing any of these isn’t the end of the world though.
 
• Vibrations when driving are probably down to the car having been left standing, leading to the tyres going hard or even suffering from flat spots.
 
• The interior trim doesn’t always wear very well, but letting in some fresh leather isn’t all that costly and any professional trimmer can do it. Check the leather dash top for shrinkage, especially in the corners.
 
• The electrics aren’t usually all that reliable, so check that everything works – you can bet that some things won’t. The items most likely to give trouble are the air-con, lights and windows, as well as any aftermarket alarm or immobilisers.
 
Model history
 
1984: The Testarossa debuts with a 4942cc flat-12 carried over from the Boxer, but with revised cooling and timing systems plus new cylinder heads. There’s also a fresh Bosch fuel injection system. These earlier cars feature a driver’s door mirror half-way up the A-post plus single centre but knock-on alloy wheels.
 
1988: From this point on the door mirrors are both mounted at the base of the A-pillar and the wheels are now held on by five studs.
 
1992: The Testarossa is replaced by the 512TR, after 5648 examples have been produced. 
 
Owners clubs, forums and websites
 
• www.ferrariownersclub.co.uk
• www.fcars.co.uk
• www.ferrariownersclub.org
• www.ferrarichat.com
 
Summary and prices
 
Perhaps it’s those dated looks that have kept Testarossa values low for many years, but with any car wearing the prancing horse now increasing in worth at an exponential rate, bargains are much harder to find than they once were. 
 
At the very top of the market are the extremely low-mileage collector-spec cars, which today are fetching upwards of £250,000. While this might seem excessive, there are perfect cars with a few more miles on the clock for a much more sensible £160,000. Good examples can be found for around £100,000, while projects needing some work could be had from around £60,000. 
 
So, this iconic pin-up that adorned the walls of teenage boys’ bedrooms the world over isn’t yet completely out of reach, unlike many of its predecessors. So if you’ve hankered after a Testarossa for a while but haven’t scratched that itch, you’d better do it now while you still can. 
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Last updated: 6th Jun 2016
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Ferrari Testarossa cars for sale

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Ferrari Testarossa
89995 219995 GBP
  • Ferrari Testarossa Coupe 1988

    POA POA

    SOLD / VERKAUFT / VENDU / VERKOCHT Ferrari Testarossa 1988 perfect fully original 1988 Ferrari Testarossa, designed by Pininfarina. This icon of the eighties is in a very good original condition. The paint in colour Rosso Corsa, the black leather interior and body seams are perfect. The 4942 cc V12 390 hp engine is in a well maintained condition and runs perfect. At the moment the car has driven 79100 km. Maintenance service at 76800 km (new clutch, new water pump, new tires etc). Excellent investment with a lot of potential. The car will be delivered with new maintenance service. Car has Austrian title and mot/tuv. Easy to register in every EU country. You do not need to pay any importtaxes. We can help with transport.

    • Year: 1988
    For sale
    E&R Classic Cars
    +31 416 751393 VIEW CONTACT NUMBER
  • Ferrari Testarossa Yellow '90

    €130,000(£114,413) €130,000(£114,413)

    Lowered price from €150.000 -> €130.000 Excellent investment opportunityYellow is the original Ferrari colour and just about all Testarossa’s are red! The Ferrari Testarossa (Type F110) went into production in 1984 as the successor to the Berlinetta Boxer. The Pininfarina-designed car was originally produced from 1984 to 1991, with two model revisions following the ending of Testarossa production and the introduction of the 512 TR and F512 M which were produced from 1992 to 1996. Almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512 TRs, and F512 Ms were produced, making it one of the most-produced Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design. The Testarossa premiered at the 1984 Paris Auto Show. All versions of the Testarossa had the power fed through the wheels from a rear-mounted, five-speed manual transmission. The rear mid-engine (between the axles but behind the cabin) keeps the centre of gravity in the middle of the car, which increases stability and improves the car's cornering ability, and thus results in a standing weight distribution of 40/60. The original Testarossa was re-engineered for 1992 and released as the 512 TR, and the F512 M at the 1994 Paris Auto Show. The car dropped t

    • Year: 1990
    For sale
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    $129,000(£101,523) $129,000(£101,523)

    1988 FERRARI TESTAROSSA (Type F110) Condition: CAR IN PERFECT CONDITIONS This Ferrari was registered on 06/10/1998; Chassis: on request The Ferrari Testarossa (Type F110) is a 12-cylinder mid-engine sports car manufactured by Ferrari, which went into production in 1984 as the successor to the Ferrari Berlinetta Boxer. The Pininfarina-designed car was originally produced from 1984 to 1991, with two model revisions following the ending of Testarossa production and the introduction of the 512 TR and F512 M which were produced from 1992 to 1996. Almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512 TRs, and F512 Ms were produced, making it one of the most-produced Ferrari models, despite its high price and exotic design. 129,000,00 USD + FREE SHIPPING! NEGOTIABLE PRICE

    • Year: 1988
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
    Vincente D'Orlando
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    £144,995 £144,995

    Today the car is presented in stunning condition and it is clear that this car has been well looked after from new having covered an indicated 25,400 Miles, this Testarossa is accompanied by its original tools and books, with full UK registration and is located in our showrooms just outside London and available to view immediately.

    For sale
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    £95,000 £95,000

    Air Conditioning, Full Leather, Electric Mirrors, 17'' Alloys Iconic Nero Black Testarossa with Black Leather Interior. Kreisiegg Exhaust, 3 Piece Split Rim alloy wheels and Brembo Brakes (Original wheels and brakes available) History, cambelt service by ourselves last year. Testarossa's are fantastic cars and are now highly prized.

    • Mileage: 29000 mi
    • Engine size: 4900
    For sale
  • 1991 Ferrari Testarossa

    £124,995 £124,995

    The Ferrari Testarossa was launched at the Paris Motor Show in 1984 as a replacement for the 512 BBi which it replaced as the flagship model in the Ferrari range. The body was designed and built by Pininfarina who styled many of Ferrari's most beautiful cars. The Testarossa has a horizontally opposed boxer 12 cylinder engine of almost 5 litres producing 390 BHP at 6300 rpm and 361 lb/ft torque at 4500 rpm. It has dry sump lubrication and Bosch fuel injection. The Maranello Concessionaires Archive have confirmed this stunning low mileage example was manufactured by Ferrari SpA Maranello, Italy in August 1990 and was delivered to the Swiss/German market in October 1990. The Ferrari is still in it's original specification finished in Rosso Corsa FER300/9 with Nero 8500 hide and Nero Carpets. This first class example has now covered 33,000 miles from new and comes with a full service history with twelve service stamps from Ferrari dealers or specialists plus £18,000 of invoices for maintenance work since being imported into the UK in 1997. The Ferrari was sold new in Germany and was factory fitted with Gkat catalytic converters making the car eligible for the key German and Swiss marke

    • Year: 1991
    • Mileage: 33000 mi
    For sale
  • 1989 Ferrari Testarossa

    £135,000 £135,000

    Gearbox: Manual Mileage: 21000 Age: 1989 F reg Manufactured in March 1989 this is one of the 450 UK specification cars. It has covered 22,000 miles documented by MOT certificates and will be sold with fresh belt service. In excellent condition throughout and drives beautifully, it comes with a large history file from new, including all the MOT certificates back to 1997 at 11,180 miles. It comes with all its original handbooks in their original leather folder, as well as the original toolkit and wheel changing kit. With an MOT until June 2017 and fresh service, this car needs absolutely nothing and is ready for immediate use.

    For sale
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    £174,995 £174,995

    This remarkable Testarossa is probably one of the best and lowest mileage LHD cars on the market today. It was delivered new in Milan to its only owner and was first registered on the road on 9 January 1989. In the 27 years since, it has been driven for less than 3,000 kilometres. Recently benefitting from a very extensive (28,000 euro) cambelt service and clutch replacement by Milanese dealer Rossocorsa, this stunning one owner car is driving exactly as it should. Complete with full sets of tools and books in their original leather folio, and in virtually 'as new' condition throughout, including the pristine Rosso Corsa bodywork and black leather interior. This rare find has Ferrari Classiche certification and would be a worthwhile addition to any collection.

    • Year: 1989
    • Mileage: 1800 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    £219,995 £219,995

    Make: Ferrari Model: Testarossa First Registered: 10/04/1990 Mileage: 138 Miles Previous Owners: 1 Engine: 5.0ltr Flat 12 Transmission: Manual Paint Colour: Rosso Corsa Red Trim Colour: Creama Carpet Colour: Red Doors: 2 Seats: 2 MOT: 12 Months TAX: TBA HPI: Clear Warranty: 3 Month Cover Included - Upgrades Available

    • Year: 1990
    • Mileage: 138 mi
    For sale
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    £134,995 £134,995

    Make: Ferrari Model: Testarossa First Registered: 17/09/1990 (H) Mileage: 23,900 Miles Previous Owners: 4 Engine: 5.0 Ltr Transmission: Manual Paint Colour: Rosso Corsa Trim Colour: Crema Carpet Colour: Bordeaux Doors: 2 Seats: 2 MOT: 12 Months TAX: TBA HPI: Clear Warranty: 3 Month Cover Included - Upgrades Available

    • Year: 1990
    • Mileage: 23900 mi
    For sale
  • 1989 Ferrari Testarossa Coupe

    $119,500(£94,046.50) $119,500(£94,046.50)

    In 1984, Ferrari unveiled its latest twelve-cylinder flagship, the replacement for the pretty but ageing Berlinetta Boxer series. The new car’s no-apologies body was designed by Pininfarina, an angular, impossibly low and wide machine that was graced with the most outrageous set of air intakes anyone had ever seen. If the styling didn’t stir up enough controversy, the choice of a name for the new car certainly did: Testarossa – a name steeped in motorsport history- was given to a car that had no intentions of ever seeing a racetrack. But in typical Ferrari style, the controversy was somehow spun to their advantage and the new Testarossa became a commercial success, selling in strong numbers while also gracing the bedroom walls of countless car-crazy kids around the globe. Although the Testarossa appeared dramatically different from the outgoing Boxer, it was not a 100% new car; rather, it was a heavily evolved version of its predecessor. The Testarossa still carried a 4.9 liter flat-12 mounted amidships in the chassis. But now the engine wore new alloy four-valve cylinder heads with signature red cam covers, increased compression and new management to bump the power up to 390hp. The chassis was lengthened, widened and tuned to produce excellent ride and handling, in turn making the Testarossa much faster than the Boxer point-to-point. The cabin was roomier and cooler thanks to the side mounted radiators (Boxers had coolant pipes that ran through the cabin). Testarossa owners could also carry a reasonable amount of luggage in the front trunk and behind the seats and stood a chance at arriving at their far-off destination exhilarated, but not exhausted and sweaty. Thanks to the mechanical refinement and the surprising longevity of the styling, the Testarossa enjoyed a 12 year production run over three generations, with just under 10,000 examples built in total. Official status in the US market also helped to secure the Testarossa’s future. The 512BB was never officially imported, but now, anyone in America with a large enough bank balance could visit a Ferrari dealership and drive home with a fully backed and road legal Testarossa. This attractive 1989 model shows just 16,354 miles from new, and presents in very good original condition throughout. The car was sold new on March 6, 1989, by Ferrari of Houston to a customer in Mobile, Alabama, and had clearly led a cherished life. Included with the car is the original owner’s manual and service book, in the original leather pouch, original jack in bag, a clean CarFax, and the car was treated to a major service including belts and complete valve job just under 2000 miles ago. The traditional Rosso Corsa paint is in excellent order, appearing largely original and showing no signs of a significant respray. While the Pininfarina designed body has little in the way of extraneous trim, the rocker panels and the typically vulnerable chin spoiler are straight, clean and show no signs of curb rash. As classic as the Rosso Corsa paint is the beautiful tan Connolly leather interior. The seats are in very good condition, with good leather, and showing minimal wear. Only the outer seat bolsters exhibit light wear, a very common occurrence for Testarossas, though it seems hardly enough to detract from the otherwise excellent cabin. Original carpets and dash are all in very good condition, and the only alteration from standard is the addition of a late-model Sony AM/FM Cassette player with a 10-disc CD changer mounted in the trunk. Under the large engine cover lays the 5-liter flat-twelve which is tidy and honestly presented in original condition. Correct fittings and hardware are evidence of professional and proper maintenance, and it shows no signs of damage or modification. This is a sound, well-sorted and totally usable Testarossa that will certainly please its next owner. Beyond their increasing collectability, these are surprisingly capable grand-touring cars, well suited for long distance adventures, for which this example would make an excellent companion.

    For sale
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    £129,995 £129,995

    Although Ferrari produced the Testarossa in relatively large numbers between 1984 and 1992, only 438 of the total factory production of 7,177 were UK RHD cars. This stunning low mileage RHD car has been owned by enthusiasts and carefully looked after by Ferrari main dealers and ourselves. The car is a rare find in this condition and drives exactly as it should. The flat 12 engine, breathing through the iconic 'cheese grater' side vents produces just under 400bhp with a possible top speed of 180mph. Complete with full sets of tools and books in their original leather folio, and in virtually 'as new' condition throughout, including the pristine Rosso Corsa bodywork and tan leather interior.

    • Year: 1989
    • Mileage: 14000 mi
    For sale
  • 1991 (H) FERRARI Testarossa LHD - 489bhp Upgrades

    £89,995 £89,995

    They would probably make one like this! The flat 12 engine has been highly modified and now has huge throttle bodies sat on top, the exhaust snorts and pops and sounds like a 60's Le Man's car. Producing 489bhp, this is like no other Testarossa you have ever seen or heard. Prior to offering for sale, all cars are subject to the AMARI Inspection, a stringent 170 point investigation of the car cosmetically, electrically and mechanically. Our resident master technicians attend to all issues prior to offering the car for sale, using the very latest and best diagnostic equipment, state of the art tools and methods. Our highly qualified master technicians can carry out servicing on all road cars, from the standard family hatch back to the latest Lamborghini, Ferrari, Aston Martin... We are the only independent dealer with full Ferrari SDX Diagnostics and the Lamborghini LARAS Diagnostics systems. Our fully equipped workshop enables us to attend to any electrical, and mechanical issues, from intricate electrical repairs and renewals, to brake disc Skimming and air conditioning recharging. Before collection all cars go through our exhaustive detailing process (can take up to three days) using only the worlds finest Swissvax products, carried out by our professional certified Swissvax trained technicians, covering every aspect of the car inside and out. Collection and delivery throughout the UK can be offered through the most reputable manufacturer championed company who use only the very latest covered car transporters with extensive experience of transporting cars across the world. Vehicles are supplied with a three month warranty *Exclusions Apply. We offer part exchange and finance facility on most cars. AMARI Lifestyle Limited T/As AMARI SuperCars is authorised & Regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (663066)

    • Mileage: 25029 mi
    • Engine size: 5
    For sale
  • Ferrari Testarossa

    £174,995 £174,995

    This remarkable Testarossa is probably one of the best and lowest mileage LHD cars on the market today. It was delivered new in Milan to its only owner and was first registered on the road on 9 January 1989. In the 27 years since, it has been driven for less than 3,000 kilometres. Recently benefitting from a very extensive (28,000 euro) cambelt service and clutch replacement by Milanese dealer Rossocorsa, this stunning one owner car is driving exactly as it should. Complete with full sets of tools and books in their original leather folio, and in virtually 'as new' condition throughout, including the pristine Rosso Corsa bodywork and black leather interior. This rare find is currently undergoing Ferrari Classiche certification and would be a worthwhile addition to any collection.

    • Year: 1989
    • Mileage: 1800 mi
    For sale
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