There are only a handful of design cues that stand out in the automotive world. Porsche’s round headlamps, for example — or the ‘Golden Ratio’ of the Aston Martin design process. Another such iconic feature, at once sophisticated and sexy, is the side strakes of the Ferrari Testarossa.
These ridges, affectionately known as ‘cheese graters’ by Ferrari fans, were the work of kings of Italian design, Pininfarina. Led by Leonardo Fioravanti, the team had developed many contemporary Ferraris. But, with the Testarossa, Fioravanti could finally use his background as a trained aerodynamist.
That’s right, those bold, brash side strakes are not only a statement of style, they’re also highly practical and functional — drawing clean air to cool the side radiators and engine.
And their benefits don’t end there. They also make the Testarossa wider at the rear than the front, which increases stability and handling as a result.
Unsurprisingly, the Testarossa’s unique design made it a favourite among the elite. Alain Delon, Michael Jordan and Don Johnson — who drove a Testarossa in Miami Vice — all owned examples of this iconic car. Jordan Belfort, the Wolf of Wall Street himself, even had a Testarossa — the ownership of which was immortalised in that quaalude-fuelled scene in the 2013 film.
But, although Belfort drove a white Testarossa, we’ll always have a soft spot for Ferrari red — the name ‘Testarossa’ does mean ‘red head’, after all. This model, from 1987, came three years after the first Testarossa hit the roads, and is being sold by Bonham’s auction house.
And it’s not just the style that made this a ground-breaking car. The mid-mounted Ferrari flat-12 engine did its job, too. You could roar up to 60mph in just 5.2 seconds, and onto a top speed of 180mph.
This is the eighties on four wheels. It’s brave, brash and styled within an inch of its 390bhp life. A proper supercar.
1987 Ferrari Testarossa
Britain can do red hot supercars, too. Check out Aston Martin’s latest DBS Superleggera…