Ferrari's flagship model until recently, the Testarossa revived a famous name when it arrived in 1984. Testa Rossa (two words denoting the red valve covers) had been applied to what many regard as Ferrari's greatest sports racer. The new "Testarossa" retained its Boxer predecessor's mid-mounted 5-liter flat-12 engine
with power now boosted to 390 bhp at 6,300 rpm, courtesy of four-valve heads. Despite the power increase, smoothness and drivability was improved, with a maximum speed of 180 mph.

The Pininfarina-designed side strakes, which feed air to the side-mounted radiators, became one of the most instantly recognizable styling cues. Larger than the 512 BB, its increased width accommodated wider tires and radiators, while the increased wheelbase led to a larger passenger compartment. Because of extensive aluminum body panels, it was lighter than the Boxer.

Supplied new in Denmark, this left-hand drive Euro-spec TR is in excellent condition with just 13,000 accident-free miles. The one-owner car has had all scheduled services performed by Ferrari workshops in three cities. The most recent 12,400-mile service was done in October 2001, while in 1997 all engine belts were changed. The car is offered fresh from cosmetic refurbishment of paint, interior and engine. White with magnolia interior, complete service history and related bills, owner's wallet, handbook and toolkit come with the car. A Pioneer AM/FM with a six-disc CD player and a satellite tracking box is installed.

SCM Analysis


This car was the first automotive lot of the Bonhams sale held in Gstaad, Switzerland, December 18, 2001. It brought a terrifyingly low (especially if you paid $250,000 for your TR in 1989) $32,070. The auction itself was a glittering event that saw 27 cars sell, for a 79% sales rate, with several cars bringing over-the-top prices from a crowd of major collectors and many prominent European dealers. The F1 Dino steering wheel that Mike Hawthorn clenched in ’58 to win the world driving title brought $52,800, double the high estimate, setting a world record for a steering wheel. It cost more than ten of the cars at the sale.

The downside with this moneyed crowd of knowledgeable collectors was that there were few who wanted an ordinary Italian car, as they generally already have a “beater Ferrari.” So a warning to sellers: don’t expect your average Ferrari to get urbane collectors excited. At Gstaad, this “Miami Vice” special was as out of place as a four-headlight 330 on the Breakers Hotel lawn at the Cavallino Classic.

While the Testarossa is a true supercar, it will never qualify as an “A-grade” collectible. In 1984 its Pininfarina design either elicited praise for its striking looks, or condemnation for some of its perceived excesses. It received many awards, including “Design of The Year” and the “Car Design Award.” Larger than the preceding but also mid-engined flat-12 Ferrari, the 512 Boxer, it offered superior driver accommodations and ergonomics. Long waiting lists were common during its first four years and delivery prices were as much as $100,000 over the MSRP of $134,000. But with the crash of the early ’90s, the value of TRs has brought a whole new meaning of depreciation to the Ferrari world.

Why isn’t the TR collectible? Because of the sheer number made. Over 7,000 left the factory at Maranello, more than any other Ferrari model before or since. The somewhat modified and face-lifted 512 TR and 512 M account for another 2,795 similar-looking cars. So with almost 10,000 distinctively styled side-straked super cars, is it any wonder that prices continue to decline, just like most serial production cars? Consider how long the 1,200 Daytonas took to join the ranks of valued collectibles (over 15 years), and even their value has been static for the past decade.

Furthermore, there is a downside to the TR’s sparkling, seamless performance. The factory-mandated services cost 50% more than those of the V8 cars. Every 30,000 miles or five years, the whole rear subframe with engine is taken out and put on its own special dolly to have a $6,000 service performed. Today, that represents 10% of the value of a $60,000 car, and more than 20% of the price of this car. (To see what’s involved in this service, visit for 180 photos.)

But why was the sale price of this particular car so low when it had only 13,000 miles and had recently been serviced? First, white is not the color of choice for a TR, the light paint making it look even more like a whale that’s been scratching its sides on a coral reef. But far more important were the questions raised by the recent “cosmetic refurbishment of paint, interior and engine” on this nearly new car.

On-site SCM reporter Richard Hudson-Evans stated that it indeed had been recently repainted and retrimmed, and this is on a declared “accident-free” car. Had this car suffered an engine fire? One can only guess. TRs are notorious for their catalytic converters going up in flames when a whole bank or several cylinders stop firing due to ignition glitches, and the hot cat overheats as it attempts to digest several liters of raw fuel.

Finally, there are always plenty of low-mileage, fully serviced, “no story” cars, so one with hints of problems will always go cheap.

A recent analysis of wholesale auction transactions at the biggest auction company in the US during the last two years shows 36 TRs sold with a median price of $58,500, of which 11 sold below $55,000. So, by typical retail standards, this was a very good buy. However, the new owner shouldn’t assume he can make a quick $20k on a flip. Chances are the same reasons that made it a $32k car for him will make it a $32k car for the next buyer. The best bet is to drive the car and hope nothing breaks.-John Apen

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