1990 Ferrari Testarossa

Ferrari announced the much-anticipated successor to the 512 BBi at the 1984 Paris Auto Salon, and onlookers were not disappointed when the covers came off the dramatic new twelve-cylinder flagship. Pininfarina’s styling was a far cry from the curvaceous 512 BBi, eschewing organic curves for an angular, wedge-shaped profile defined by massive air intakes and those eye-popping side strakes. Even the name – Testarossa – raised eyebrows among the press and marque loyalists. For many Tifosi, the name was the sacred reserve of Ferrari’s legendary sports racing car, and to see it applied to road-going mid-engined GT came as a surprise. But mutterings of blasphemy were quickly put to rest as the Testarossa’s specs were made public. The 48-valve flat-12 powered supercar made 385 horsepower, could sprint to 60 in five seconds, and go on to a top speed of 180 miles per hour, all while cosseting occupants in an exceptionally refined cabin.

With the Testarossa, Ferrari targeted the US market, with an emphasis on long-distance Grand Touring comfort. The wide rear track and huge air scoops were necessary to feed the side-mounted radiators, which opened up space for a proper front trunk and eliminated the cockpit heat-soak issues that plagued the BB, which had its radiators in front. While it was more civilized and refined than the 512 BB, the wild looks and performance made the Testarossa a proper supercar. Testarossa sales success for Ferrari and a pop-culture icon that inspired countless copycats throughout the 80s and 90s.

The 1990 Testarossa presented here is a well-maintained, lovely example that has covered just 19,000 miles since new. It benefits from long-term ownership and is offered with a fresh engine-out service. According to the history file, the first owner was from New Jersey and kept the car from 1990 through 2003. In 2004, a St. Louis-area dealer sold the car to a local client, who kept it for ten years. The most recent owners acquired it in 2014, and it remains in excellent, well-maintained condition inside and out.

Finished in the classic combination of Rosso Corsa over a natural tan leather interior, the body is attractive and well-presented, with crisp, well-defined lines and factory-correct details. The paint is generally in excellent condition, with just a few minor blemishes and touchups that appear consistent with this car’s mileage. The wheels are the correct factory 5-spoke alloys, all in excellent condition. In late 1988, Ferrari introduced some suspension improvements to the Testarossa, and with that, switched from the old center-lock wheels to this five-bolt lug-style. The Carfax report shows a clean record.

Inside, tan leather features on the seats, door cards, and sills. Contrasting chocolate brown accents are on the dash, armrests, and console. The clean lines and uncluttered appearance are a fine example of 1980s minimalist design by Pininfarina. As offered here, it is true to factory specs, with the only exception being a Sony AM/FM/CD player in place of the original radio. The leather seats are in very good order, displaying only minimal wear on the outer bolsters. The dash is taut and free of sun damage and shrinking, and carpets are clean and tidy. The Testarossa is remarkably comfortable and roomy even for taller drivers, with ample space for soft bags behind the seats and in the front trunk.

Lifting the engine cover reveals the 5-liter flat-twelve with its signature cast alloy plenums and red-painted cam covers, which signify the “quattrovalvole” cylinder heads. The big twelve is smooth and remarkably civilized, thanks in large part to reliable Bosch fuel injection. This car’s engine bay is orderly, clean, and unaltered from standard spec. It is being sold with a fresh, comprehensive service, including cam belts and fuel lines, and is also accompanied by ownership history documents, partial service history, the original tool kit & jack, and a spare bulb kit. Records show the speedometer was replaced in 2004, and the new unit was set to reflect the car’s actual mileage. Documentation of the change and the original speedometer assembly are included.

As cars of the 80s and 90s rise to the forefront of the collector market, the case can be made for the Ferrari Testarossa being one of the most desirable supercars of the era. This fine example represents an excellent opportunity to add an icon of the period to your stable.


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