// Ferrari Testarossa
Few Ferrari introductions could match the polarizing effect of the Ferrari Testarossa upon its unveiling at the 1984 Paris Motor Show. A Motor Trend poll of automotive design chiefs elicited reactions from “I hate it” to “exciting, aggressive, and awesome.”
The marketplace sided with the latter. Buyers lined up for Ferrari’s 512 BBi replacement, and Testarossa-inspired bodyside strakes and outrigger mirrors soon appeared on new models from other automakers and became staples of aftermarket catalogs.
The Testarossa was named for Ferrari’s famed sports-racing car of the late 1950s and early 1960s. Its groundbreaking styling was a response to engineering requirements and a backlash against the conservatism that blanketed Europe and Italy’s automotive manufacturers during the most of the 1970s.
For much of that tumultuous decade, automobiles were reviled as a waste of natural resources. The continent’s growing socialist and communist influences meant displays of material wealth were increasingly scorned. The goal of individual achievement at work was questioned. Terrorism became a growth industry in Italy and Germany, and the power of unions increased tremendously. Automotive design and engineering progress suffered.
That changed in Italy in the early 1980s with “The March of 40,000” when Fiat’s workforce rebelled against the unions’ clout. Organized labor’s pull slowly diminished over time, and Italy heaved a sigh of relief. With the lid off the kettle, creativity was free to boil. The result was what Sergio Pininfarina called “an exaggeration in flamboyance.”
That may have described the Testarossa’s astonishing looks. But there was engineering and wind tunnel testing behind the ebullient shape. The track, for example, was much wider at the rear than the front for stability and handling. And the straked air intakes fed radiators efficiently located at the sides rather than in the front as on the 512 BBi.
The Testarossa was roomier, more refined, and comfortable than the 512 BBi. It retained a flat-12 engine of 4942cc, but added four-valve heads and other mechanical changes for an output of 390 horsepower on European cars, 380 for U.S.-spec versions.
- Graphic Design
- Industrial Design