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.
In terms of driving experience, there is a night and day difference between the Testarossa and the 512 TR and it’s with good reason that there’s a significant price difference between the two. This particular 512 TR is an exceptionally clean and well-maintained 17,200 mile example which was sold new to an owner in Chattanooga, Tennessee. By 2002, the car had covered 12,000 miles and was sold to an owner in Nevada. It has remained in the western United States since, with owners in New Mexico and California as well as Nevada. The car has a file of service records dating back to the 1990s showing consistent maintenance, including an engine-out belt service in 2019 at 17,045 miles. In addition to being well-maintained, this 512 TR is also very complete, with original tools and books in Schedoni cases, service records, and car cover.