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Redusernab Fastback Friday – Why I Love the Ferrari Testarossa

For all intents and purposes, I am the Ferrari Testarossa. The Ferrari Testarossa is me.

Do I need to clarify that a bit? Well, like I started my DeLorean article a while ago, I am an ’80s guy to the bone. I was born in 1984, when wedge shapes and bold angles were in vogue. Chrome had been eschewed, bright colours and neon effects were all the rage and the whole decade could be compressed to in Phil Collins’ In the Air Tonight. The decade produced me, the cars that made the decade made me. What I want most in life is either a DeLorean, a Testarossa or both.

When I walked to the top floor of this exotic car dealership in Helsinki, it was a watershed moment for me; up until now I hadn’t actually been this close to a Testarossa.

Yes, while I make all kinds of huff-puff noises about this Testarossa being the epitome of ’80s cool, this correctly-red example is a 1991. It misses the Most Awesome Decade Ever by a couple years, but that’s the only flaw I can find from it. The paint is lustrously red, the kind of red that enters your eyes and surges into your brain with force and extends your life expectancy by two-three years.

The point of the Testarossa are the wide cooling slats that cut into the sides. They give the car its presence.

Another thing is where those sides lead; the wide, slatted ass. Anybody who’s spent their formative years playing Outrun is right at home, watching the Ferrari’s derriere.

A lot of people appreciate other Pininfarina designs more, but this and the 308/328/288 GTO series are the top Pininfarina works for me.

Ever seen a cooler burglar alarm sticker?

Oh yeah, there were a few other Ferraris in the premises as well. But those do not float my boat like the Testarossa does. Don’t get me wrong, I would never kick them out of bed; but out of this line-up, it’s the ‘Rossa for me every time.


[Images: Antti Kautonen & Edvin P.]

  • tonyola

    Sorry, but I have to disagree. The Testarossa marks a major shift in how Ferraris were perceived – less serious sports car and more fashion accessory. Instant Miami Vice and cocaine cowboy, especially here in South Florida. The Testarossa was fast, but it also was kind of ugly, hopelessly wide, and a little bit clumsy. Compare it to its direct predecessor, the gorgeous Berlinetta Boxer.
    <img src="; width=500>

    • Number_Six

      The 512BB was also the last coach-built Ferrari, and so for many collectors it's the last one they acknowledge.

    • OA5599

      Antti was born in 1984, so he is too young to remember all the cheese grater body kits being installed everywhere you looked.

      <img src="; width=500>

      I'm sure there's a difference in perception depending on whether you first saw these in the context of 80's Florida or 21st-century Finland.

      • Number_Six

        I should clarify: despite all the criticisms, the marching powder aura, and the vulgar strakes, I adore this car. It's absolutely over the top and ridiculous in the same way a Countach is and I'd have one in my Powerball Lottery garage.

        • 80SICON

          That is awesome. With all the hype going on about the mega millions lottery here in the US, I too was thinking again about my lotto cars. A Countach and a Jag E-Type would definitely join my DeLorean in my warehouse full of cars. None of them are the best driving cars, but damn they look good. And well, we and Billy Crystal know that "its better to look good than to feel good" anyways.

  • Not a huge Ferrari fan, but with my Mega Millions winnings, I would get this Testarossa, a 288 GTO, an F40, and a 400/400i/412. Oh, and this:[ bOpWDHNmnug ]

    • I vaguely remember how my older brother used to take me into arcade at the amusement park when I was in The Big City visiting him in the late eighties. Actually, my most prominent memory from those trips is the unforgettable theme music of Outrun. Oh the joy a few years later when I got Outrun for my Sega Megadrive (Genesis) for xmas. 🙂

      • I'll bet when you were playing on the 16-bit Genesis, you thought to yourself: Man, life doesn't get any better than this!

        • Indeed, those were simpler times.

          [ T2li12xWkuw ]

  • sudden1

    " I am the Ferrari Testarossa. The Ferrari Testarossa is me." A time will come when you're old and full of years and you'll remember this "watershed moment" . Good for you, Antti, good for you.

    • pj134

      I don't know what you're inferring, but I took it as meaning he wanted to be cremated.

  • hedgedigger

    The Testarossa is my least favorite prancing pony. Testarossa would be Flock of Seagulls to the 328 being the Smiths. The 355 would be Prince.

    • The 400/400i/412 would be…Meatloaf?

      • tonyola

        I think the 400/412 is a beautiful car in its own way. Supremely tailored, yet its lowness and proportions keep it from looking staid and stolid. When you actually see one in traffic, it doesn't really draw attention to itself yet it does look like something special. Think of a weightlifter in a very elegant and well-made tuxedo. I like it more than the cartoonish Testarossa.
        <img src="; width=500>

        • Devin

          I wonder if the 400/412 might have been better regarded if it was a Lancia or something. A product of a company that people expect to make super formal coupes.

          • tonyola

            The Ferrari was highly praised for its style when it was first introduced in 1973. Perhaps the shape became a little too familiar over the years, especially when other makes started copying it.
            <img src=".jpg/640px-%2778_Pontiac_Laurentian_Coupe_(Orange_Julep_%2710).jpg" width=500>

            • Devin

              Perhaps, but I do see a lot of people who complain that it's "not a Ferrari," so I figure it's just people expecting something dramatic getting something formal and then complaining about it.

        • suju89

          I have to admit to liking them, like you mention…theres just something about the proportions…

          Must be why i am also fond of some Longchamp action
          <img src="; width="400">

          • tonyola

            Also the Bitter SC.
            <img src="; width=500>

        • flr1975

          So, the 400i would be Bryan Ferry, then?

      • hedgedigger

        i would agree with that. two decades of bloated suck.

    • smalleyxb122

      I notice that you skipped over the 348. Don't worry. Most people do.

    • Irishzombieman

      What's the Bertone 308?

      • Something unappreciated … King Crimson, maybe?

  • I'm not a huge Ferrari fan in general, but stumbling upon these was quite a treat, since I usually only spot one or two Ferraris in traffic per summer. Out of all the cars in that room I too have the strongest emotional tie to that Testarossa and yet for some reason my camera was immediately drawn to the California. I've never liked it in pictures or videos and I'm not even sure I like looking at it in the metal, but it was the most satisfying out of the bunch to photograph. All those curves and the contrast between red and black were calling out to me. I definitely have some newfound respect for the car. Still, if I got to choose one it would of course be the 458, mainly because of the way it (apparently) performs and the fact that while it's not exactly beautiful, it's no 612 Scaglietti either.

    • Were you guys doing a Helsinki pub crawl (except instead of drinking, you looked at cars at different venues)? That's interesting. The Hoons should try to do something like this after a Second Saturday.

      Just off the top of my head, in Alameda County, we can do:
      Broadway Auto Row (Oakland)
      Fantasy Junction (E-ville)
      Eddins Moto (E-ville)
      Buggy Bank (Berkeley)

  • "Ever seen a cooler burglar alarm sticker?"

    Well, I do have a set of these on my MG:

    <img src="; width="300">

    I like to think they scare the hell out of any would-be thieves who have even a passing familiarity with Unipart electrical components. Or their other components.

  • Devin

    I'm not sure why, but outside of the 458 – which I want dearly in spite of its love of starting on fire – the best Ferraris came out in the mid 90s in my mind. F355, 456GT, the under-appreciated F50. I'd have them all.

  • hedgedigger

    I'm not a huge ferrari fan, but I am quite smitten with the new one. I think It is the best looking ferrari in a long time.

    <img src=";

    • alain

      it looks like its wearing a thong.

  • smalleyxb122

    The Testarossa doesn't really peg my "want" meter. They are breathtaking in person, but I still don't want one. Now a 328GTS…I want.
    The 328 is probably the highest on my list of Ferraris that I want, no doubt augmented by its relative affordability.
    With prices taken out of the equation, the 328 gets beaten by the 275 and the 365.

    • The way you feel about the 328 is how I feel about the Dino. Intellectually, I get that it is one of the "lesser" Ferrari but I've always been drawn to it. As a kid, a neighbor had a 308 GT4. As a result, I have a soft spot for that one too.

  • Irishzombieman

    My favorite feature of the Testarossa:

    <img src="; width="400/">

  • Van_Sarockin

    Almost my least favorite Ferrari, next to Magnum's. But it's big and red, so there's that.

  • urgetodrive.com

    All hail the Mighty Testarossa. Get yourself to San Diego, Antii, and I'll take you for an unforgettable drive the world's best Testarossa.

    [ JBsctfMzfhE ]

    • Mister X

      Hmm, I wonder if this is the brand new Testarossa I drove back in the 80's?

      A buddy of mine had a body shop in Santa Clara that specialized in exotic cars and did contract work for Ferarri of Los Gatos and other silicon valley high end dealers, and occasionally he would give me a call to deliver a car for him to a local dealer, and you bet I'd DROP anything I was doing and hot foot it down there!

      I got to drive all manner of exotic cars, but the black Testarossa was the best (only because the wrecked F40 wasn't drivable when I still lived in the area), I got in and sat there taking it all in, familiarizing myself with the controls, etc., and noticed it had no radio/sound system and made an offhanded comment to my buddy.

      He shot back "who needs a radio with 12 cylinders making music right behind your head"? I'm a life long gearhead, but he owned me with that one because he was absolutely correct. So I fired it up and he jumped into the Lusso and we took off down the freeway and he was G O N E! I was a bit more conservative and kept it just about the speed limit until a black SD-455 Trans Am pulled alongside and started seriously goosing his throttle looking for a race.

      So I nailed it and MAN… that car Boogies On, Big Time! I left the Tans AM way behind even though he was going for it too, then I slowed down to just about the limit again and he caught up with a BIG Smile and waved and gave the Thumbs Up before exiting the freeway.

      I got to the dealer and my buddy said "what took you"? Then we climbed into a Red Mondial Cabriolet and headed back to the shop after a stop at the Happy Hound for lunch, that was a Fun day!

  • Chris

    The only time I have seen a Testarossa in the flesh was having one pull out onto the highway from the interstate about 50 yards in front of me.

    So endeth my exposure to Ferarris.

  • RichardKopf

    I was born in `82; I remember the Ferrari slats body kits. I too like the Testarossa, but would take the 400/412 over it. Also, I like the 348.

    However, this all means nothing because the car adorning my walls as a child in the `80s was the Countach, and the Countach always wins.