The Testarossa can trace its roots back to the faults of the 1981 512i BB. The problems that the Testarossa was conceived to fix, included a cabin that got increasingly hot from the indoor plumbing that ran between the front-mounted radiator and the midships-mounted engine and a lack of luggage space. To fix these problems Ferrari and Pininfarina designed the Testarossa to be larger than its predecessor, the Berlinetta Boxer. For instance, at 1,976 millimetres (78 in) wide the Testarossa was half a foot wider than the Boxer. This resulted in an increased wheelbase that stretched about 64 mm (2.5 in) to 2,550 mm (100 in) which was used to accommodate luggage in a carpeted storage space under the front forward-opening hood. The increase in length created extra storage space behind the seats in the cabin. Headroom was also increased with a roofline half an inch taller than the Boxer.
The spectacular design came from Pininfarina. The design team at Pininfarina consisted of Ian Cameron, Guido Campoli, Diego Ottina and Emanuele Nicosia. With little surprise, they were led by design chief Leonardo Fioravanti, the maestro behind many beautiful Ferraris. The design was originated by Nicosia, but the guidance of Fioravanti was equally important. Being a trained aerodynamist, Fioravanti applied his know-how to set the aerodynamics layout of the car. This meant the large side intakes were not only a statement of style but really functional – they drew clean air to cool the side radiators and then went upward and left the car through the ventilation holes located at the engine lid and the tail. As a result, the Testarossa did not need a rear spoiler like Lamborghini Countach yet produced zero lift at its rear axle. The aerodynamic drag coefficient of 0.36 was also way better than the Lamborghini's 0.42.
Pininfarina's body was a departure from the curvaceous boxer—one which caused some controversy. The side strakes sometimes referred to as "cheese graters" or "egg slicers," that spanned from the doors to the rear fenders were needed for rules in several countries outlawing large openings on cars. The Testarossa had twin radiators in the back with the engine instead of a single radiator up-front. In conjunction the strakes provided cool air to the rear-mounted side radiators, thus keeping the engine from overheating. The strakes also made the Testarossa wider at the rear than in the front, thus increasing stability and handling.
One last unique addition to the new design was a single high mounted rear view mirror on the driver's side. On US based cars, the mirror was lowered to a more normal placement in 1987 and quickly joined by a passenger side rear view mirror for the driver to be able to make safe easy lane changes.
Like its predecessor, the Testarossa used double wishbone front and rear suspension systems. Ferrari improved traction by adding 10-inch-wide alloy rear wheels. The Testarossa drivetrain was also an evolution of the BB 512i. Its engine used near identical displacement and compression ratio, but unlike the BB 512i had four-valve cylinder heads that were finished in red.
Source: Wikipedia; Mecum Auctions as part of the Seattle event in June, 2014
Photo Credit: Dan Duckworth