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Auction Ferrari Testarossa collection: 5 black specimens

RM Sotheby's offered five black Ferrari Testarossas from a collection for auction. The prices achieved are surprising.

Last Saturday (05/20/2023) a car auction organized by RM Sotheby's took place. The focus was on the Ferrari Testarossea, a sports car icon from the 1980s. The Pininfarina masterpiece that would have become legendary thanks to its design alone. That flat front with pop-up headlights! Those expansive side boxes with the distinctive cooling fins! That ultra wide butt! And then these striking details such as the shape and position of the exterior mirror(s) - more on that later -, the steep rear window, the barred rear section... There are countless details that could be listed here.

But there's a lot more, because we haven't even gotten to the technology yet. The 4.9-liter V12 installed between the passenger cell and the rear axle with its valve covers painted red, which gave the Testarossa its name ("red head") and has an unusual layout, namely as a 180-degree V engine. Then there is the chassis with its subframe, which houses the engine-transmission unit and can be detached to give better access to the engine. Not to mention the pop-cultural significance of the Testarossa, which not only appeared in many "Miami Vice" episodes, but even belonged to Dieter Bohlen's fleet.

Quintet was auctioned

Fleet is a good keyword: The Testarossa quintet that was auctioned off on Lake Como comes from a collection that was obviously put together by a lover of both the Ferrari brand and the color black. This paintwork and the black interior unites the Italian gang of five; Appropriately, RM Sotheby's dubbed it the "Black On Black Collection". Each specimen embodied a different phase of Testarossa existence. They were all auctioned off without a reserve price – at some surprising prices.

"Monospecchio" - the one with the mirror

The oldest representative came from the model year 1986. Connoisseurs immediately think of the term "Monospecchio": It only had the one on the driver's side and high up on the A-pillar exterior mirrors. Not long after Ferrari started production of the Testarossa, the mirror went down. Because the registration regulations in the main market, the USA, also required a second copy on the passenger side, the V12 athlete soon received this as well. Ferrari gave up a charming unique selling proposition.

Testarossa that feature it usually trade at slightly higher prices than others. RM Sotheby's came to a slightly different conclusion: the auctioneers expected a selling price of between 120,000 and 180,000 euros. They were right in their assessment: The Monospecchio was sold for 126,500 euros .

Special rims for the "Monodado"

The 1987 Testarossa that is also on offer (estimate price between 120,000 and 180,000 euros, sold for 172,500 euros ) had two conventional mirrors, but in terms of nicknames it was also monothematic. "Monodado" designates the models whose 16-inch rims are attached to the wheel hub with a central lock. Incidentally, this also presents a "Monospecchio", which is automatically also a "Monodado".

Almost boring: 1989 Testarossa

On the other hand, the average model from 1989 - in terms of year of construction - that was sold as a new car in Italy is almost boring. It had two exterior mirrors and ordinary five-hole rims. But compared to the earlier Testarossa generations, an improved chassis and a slightly refreshed design: There are differently designed lights in the front apron. RM Sotheby's gave it the lowest estimate of the quintet (100,000 to 150,000 euros). And was slightly wrong, because it sold at the auction for 143,750 euros .

Thoroughly revised: 512 TR

A much bigger break came in 1991. Pininfarina and Ferrari dared to change the design more comprehensively for the first time. The design of the grille and lights changed at the front, the engine cover at the rear was flatter and darkened light units shimmered through the rear grille. In addition, the Testarossa lost its name; it was now called – like the example from 1992 also offered here – 512 TR.

As a consolation, there was significantly more power for the twelve-cylinder, namely 428 instead of 390 hp. However, the maximum torque remained at 490 Newton meters. The estimated price of 180,000 to 250,000 euros was clearly exceeded with 286,250 euros .

Testarossa swan song: 512M

During the last major model revision in 1994, even the abbreviation TR was lost; Ferrari's large 180-degree V12 mid-engined coupe was now called the 512M (for "Modificata"). However, the modifications to the design didn't make it any prettier: the pop-up headlights gave way to clear glass counterparts, round lights moved next to a narrower grille at the rear and opinions are still divided on the wheels with a distorted star and screw connections on the rim flange. After all, the engine once again increased its power and now delivered 440 hp and a maximum of 500 Newton meters.

The auctioned example was a very late model from 1996 and was first delivered to Germany. In the same year the Testarossa production was stopped after only 501 copies in 512M specification. The small number explains the estimated (230,000 to 300,000 euros) and selling price ( 297,500 euros ) - both marked the highest value within the Ferrari quintet.


RM Sotheby's auctioned off a Ferrari Testarossa collection at Lake Como, the five representatives of which were all black, but otherwise embodied different eras of the Testarossa era. Although they were auctioned off individually, the total price is still interesting: the one million euro barrier was exceeded by just under 26,500 euros. Also surprised that the Monospecchio came into new hands for the lowest sum.


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