Five black Ferrari Testarossas to go under the hammer in May

by Gavin Braithwaite-Smith
14 February 2023 3 min read
Five black Ferrari Testarossas to go under the hammer in May
Photos: RM Sotheby's

Somebody must really like black Ferrari Testarossas. We’re assuming it’s one person, because RM Sotheby’s has labelled it the ‘Black On Black Collection’ – a quintet of Ferrari’s most ’80s of ’80s supercars. If you didn’t have a poster of a Testarossa on your wall, you almost certainly knew somebody who did.

While most Ferrari fans would choose a Rosso Corsa Testarossa as their pin-up – and the car’s name pays tribute to the 1957 250 Testa Rossa that won the World Sportscar Championship, named for the red cam covers of its V12 – other colours were available, including, most famously, the white ‘redhead’ driven by Don Johnson as Sonny Crockett in Miami Vice. Black is another rare colour, so it’s rare to see five in the same auction.

RM Sotheby’s Stephan Knobloch said: “As a marque that is synonymous with the colour red, black Ferraris are not only fewer in number, but it is also a colour that gives Ferrari cars a highly purposeful look. For me, a black Testarossa is the ultimate specification, and these five cars present a very rare opportunity.”

Ferrari Testarossa group Villa Erba

The cars come from the ChromeCars collection, which features six black Ferrari Testarossas. Yes, six; it doesn’t look like Kai Nieklauson is parting with the topless Testarossa created for a Pepsi advert in the 1980s.

Speaking about why he collected black Testarossas, Nieklauson told Classic Driver: “because it was difficult, almost impossible, to achieve”. Nieklauson has done the hard work, so you don’t have to.

The famous five will go under the hammer at the Villa Erba sale in May, so you have a few months to decide which one you’d like to drive home from Italy. All cars are offered without reserve.

1986 Ferrari Testarossa ‘Monospecchio’

Ferrari Testarossa Monospecchio

Unveiled to a select audience in 1984 at the famous Paris Lido, before its official debut at the city’s motor show later that year, the Testarossa was Ferrari’s V12 flagship for the 1980s. The Pininfarina-designed supercar featured a 4.9-litre 12-cylinder engine producing 385bhp, enough to propel the Testarossa to a top speed of 290km/h (180mph).

The ‘Monospecchio’ (‘single mirror’) nickname refers to the single mirror mounted high on the A-pillar, fitted due to a misinterpretation of European type approval regulations. Around 1000 ‘Monospecchio’ cars were built before Ferrari switched to a more conventional layout, with a pair of lower-mounted mirrors. 

1987 Ferrari Testarossa ‘Monodado’

Ferrari Testarossa Monodado

From ‘Monospecchio’ to ‘Monodado’, which proves that almost everything sounds better in Italian. This nickname translates to ‘single nut’, a reference to the desirable centre-lock, five-spoke alloy wheels. Note the additional door mirror.

The slatted intakes, arguably the Testarossa’s most famous feature, channelled air to the laterally located radiators. At the back, Ferrari moved away from the familiar paired circular light arrangement and introduced a new horizontal grille hiding rectangular combination light units.

1989 Ferrari Testarossa

1989 Ferrari Testarossa

The five-spoke alloy wheel with centre knockoffs was replaced by a five-bolt fixing in 1988, as showcased by this 1989 Testarossa. Other changes included revised seats, new bonnet design, extra sound insulation and a new locking mechanism. A new gearbox and revised Bosch KE-Jetronic fuel injection system replaced the old K-Jetronic system.

A year later, catalytic converters became standard for European-spec cars, while all models received a new flywheel, a revised gearbox, clutch assembly, steering column and knee bolsters.

1992 Ferrari 512 TR

Ferrari 512 TR

The Ferrari 512 TR made its debut at the 1992 Los Angeles Motor Show. While retaining the basic shape and hallmarks of the Testarossa, the 512 TR featured new frontal styling, 18-inch alloy wheels and Pirelli P Zero tyres. Further tweaks were introduced to improve comfort, including new seats and steering wheel.

Tweaks to the 4.9-litre 12-cylinder engine boosted its output by 38bhp, lowering the 0-62mph time to 4.8 seconds and increasing the top speed to 300km/h (186mph). Production continued until 1994, by which time 2280 cars had been built.

1996 Ferrari F512 M

Ferrari F512 M

The F512 M was the final iteration of the Testarossa. Unveiled at the 1994 Paris Motor Show – exactly a decade after the Testarossa – the F512 M showcased a radical new look, with the pop-up headlights replaced by a pair of units recessed into the bodywork. At the back, the grille featured two pairs of small, circular lights.

Retaining the same 4.9-litre engine, Ferrari made changes to the crankshaft, fitted new pistons and added a new stainless steel exhaust to increase output to 440bhp, reducing the 0-62mph to 4.7 seconds. Just 501 units were produced before production ended in 1996.

Read more

Meeting Your Hero: The Ferrari Testarossa
Analysis: Hot hatches vs Ferrari Testarossa – Hagerty Price Guide, May 2020
Review: The £80,000 Ferrari Testarossa Junior is definitely no toy

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