Ferrari Testarossa (1984 – 1992) Review

Ferrari Testarossa (1984 – 1992) At A Glance


+Flat-12 engine sounds amazing, proper performance, roomy cabin, much better quality than the earlier BB

-Challenging styling still holds it back

The Ferrari Testarossa is one of those cars that's impossible to talk about without mentioning the expression 'eighties' excess'. And that's down to its imposing, slat-filled styling, which at the time of its launch in 1984 eschewed the almost feminne prettiness of the car it replaced, the Berlinetta Boxer.

The Testarossa’s imposing size and in-your-face attitude tended to hide the fact that it was a remarkably user-friendly supercar, especially when compared against its principal rival, the Lamborghini Countach QV. The Testarossa's top-flight performance was delivered in a smooth manner by its sweet and free-revving flat-12. And the handling was much improved over the BB's.

Evolved into the 512TR and F512M, which were built between 1992-'96. The Testarossa remains comparatively cheap to buy because of its '80s styling, and sheer weight of numbers - almost 10,000 Testarossas, 512TRs, and F512Ms were built, making it one of the most popular Ferrari models.

Ask Honest John

What do you think is the best classic car to buy for £100K?

"What do you think is the best classic car to buy for £100K? Which would be fun and not too expensive to keep and might increase in value?"
Whatever classic you buy, you'll need to budget for maintenance and running costs, but really the best classic depends on what you want to do with it. Fancy something for solely for investment purposes? Ferraris and Porsches are often solid bets - think Testarossa or 911 Turbo. A high days and holidays car to enjoy with your significant other might be a W113 era Mercedes SL or a Jaguar E-type. If on-track action is your thing, you may be able to get a race car with FIA Papers - there are a few race-specific auctions to keep an eye on. Alternatively, an iconic piece of American muscle car action is well within your budget (think 1969 Shelby GT350 Mustang). Prefer your classics older? Then a Lagonda 2-Litre could be a smart buy. Stately and smart? 1950s Bentley S1 Continental. Modern high-performance? Ford Sierra RS500. Just make sure that whatever you buy you do your homework... and enjoy it.
Answered by Keith Moody

Should our son-in-law sell his unreliable 1991 Ferrari Testarossa?

"Our son-in-law has owned a 1991 Ferrari Testarossa for the two years. I would be embarrassed to tell you just how much this car has cost him in repairs and maintenance. I am convinced that this car was a very bad model. It looks gorgeous but the reliability of the car stinks. Can you give me your opinion on this model and should he get rid of it? He is a lover of Ferrari cars and is talking of replacing the Testarossa with a classic Dino. I know the old saying; if you own one of these cars, then you should not mind paying out for it. But there are limits."
Ferraris tend to drop and drop and drop, then bottom out, then start appreciating. The 4,943cc flat 12 Testarossa followed the Berlinetta Boxer and was in production from 1984 to 1991, after which it was updated and renamed firstly 512 TR, then F512 M. They currently tend to sell for between about £40,000 and about £50,000. The people to consult are specialists such as the excellent DK Engineering (, tel: 01923 287687). Dinos are exquisite, but the construction method of small bore square tubing with the panels tack welded to it lends itself to horrific corrosion.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a Ferrari Testarossa (1984 – 1992) cost?