Over thirty-five years after its introduction, the Testarossa remains a visually stunning expression of Ferrari. Its shocking proportions, particularly the width of the rear track, were driven by the decision to move the radiators from the front of the car to the sides to reduce cabin heat, necessitating what became the car’s visual calling card: the long strakes on the doors and rear fenders. Much of the car’s development was aimed at making the Testarossa more civilized than its Boxer predecessor, addressing contemporary complaints that the Boxer was too raw and insufficiently usable. By that measure, the Testarossa was a success: it was exceptionally high performance but also refined and comfortable. It was a blend that struck a chord with buyers, and over 7,200 examples were built, making it one of Ferrari’s most successful cars of all time.
The Testarossa received minor updates throughout its relatively long production run, and then a major update for the 1992 model year to turn it into the 512 TR. Virtually every system of the car was substantially re-engineered, largely with the goal of addressing complaints that the original Testarossa had forgone a little too much of the visceral excitement that should define a Ferrari. The engine was changed from Bosch CIS to Motronic, the valves enlarged, and the compression ratio increased. The exhaust system was also redesigned and the resulting engine gained approximately 50hp and a broader power curve while also becoming dramatically more responsive and sounding much better. The engine was also moved forward and down in the car, a significant enough change to improve the weight distribution by one percentage point at each axle. The suspension was also revised, the steering ratio quickened, and lower profile tires fitted to go with new 18 inch wheels, an increase of two inches. The brakes were also enlarged and fitted with cross drilled rotors.
This particular 512 TR was sold new on the 30th of November 1994 by Ferrari of Denver to a woman residing in Park City, Utah. She retained the car for approximately 20 years, covering 7,300 miles during that period. Since 2015, the car has passed through the hands of a few enthusiastic Ferrari collectors, who have continued to maintain the car in its current original and beautifully preserved state. A Ferrari Classiche certification was performed in 2015 and the car comes with its red book.
Cosmetically, the car is in superb condition, with very minor wear appropriate for the mileage. The paintwork is generally excellent with a few small marks. The panels are straight with proper operation and fit and no obvious evidence of prior paintwork. The lights and glazing are equally nice, with clear and bright lenses and windows. The trim presents beautifully as well, with no fading, damage, or misalignment. The wheels are generally excellent with no curb rash but a few minor scratches and some cracking to the center caps, a common issue with Ferraris of this vintage.
The interior is equally nice. The original upholstery is generally excellent, with light wear on the driver’s seat but otherwise excellent leather, including the full leather dashboard, an area that is typically vulnerable to sun damage. The gauges and switchgear are in essentially new condition, with no fading, discoloration, or other issues. There is some of the typical stickiness to the black ashtray lid, HVAC knobs, and door switch packs, although there are far fewer vulnerable areas in these cars than a 355, 360, or 430. The carpets are in good physical condition, with minor soiling and no appreciable wear. Over mats are fitted with red embroidered Cavallini. The trunk is usefully shaped and surprisingly spacious. It presents well with excellent original carpet and Schedoni took kit.
The engine compartment is exceptionally clean and nicely detailed, an impression which continues below the car. There are no deviations from stock in terms of finishes or presentation, down to the original emissions sticker. The engine and transaxle are exceptionally dry and clean, both above and below, and our Ferrari master tech remarked on how fastidiously the work was done during the last engine-out service, as well as the general condition of the car’s undercarriage. There are virtually no marks on the front spoiler and the factory-applied protective Cosmoline is still present on the suspension and floorpan of the car.
The car is a pleasure to drive. The difference compared to a Testarossa is remarkably stark and is characterized by dramatically more immediacy, especially from the powertrain and chassis. The engine’s throttle response and intake/exhaust noise are considerably improved, while the chassis has marked improvements of sharpness, bite, stability, and grip without giving up any of the compliance that makes all generations of the Testarossa such outstanding touring cars. The engine starts easily and without smoke and pulls cleanly throughout the entire rev range. The clutch is progressive with well judged friction point, and the gearchange has the satisfying mechanical heft that characterizes all dogleg Ferraris. Synchromesh is effective. The brakes grab well and are effective, with no noises or vibrations. The chassis and suspension operate quietly and competently, with well-judged damping that provides a good blend of body control and compliance. There is no untoward play in either suspension or steering, which is a fabulously unassisted arrangement that delivers a level of tactility that will shock the modern Ferrari driver.
The 512 TR, while dramatically improved over the original Testarossa, was only available for the 1992-1994 model years, and just 2,261 examples were built. This combination of rarity and meaningful improvements makes them exceptionally desirable. This particular car is an outstanding turnkey collector grade example of this iconic model. Superbly preserved and maintained, low mileage, Classiche-certified, and complete with original books and tools, this example ticks all the boxes for the enthusiast seeking a top drawer example of the definitive variant of one of Ferrari’s most iconic models.