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I Bought the Cheapest Ferrari Testarossa in the USA

Clearly, it didn’t take long for me to mourn the loss of my beloved 1995 Ferrari F355. Nor did its fiery death dissuade me from Ferrari ownership. Actually, the tragic accident enabled me to make the Ferrari purchase that I’ve always dreamed of — and, for the first time in Hoovie’s Garage history, life imitates “art.”

The “art” I’m referring to, of course, is the television masterpiece called Miami Vice. To solve crimes in 1980s Miami, you apparently needed to wear pajamas and drive a Ferrari — but the main characters didn’t always drive a white Testarossa. For the first few seasons, they chased bad guys in a black Ferrari Daytona Spyder — but it was blown up by an arms dealer with a stinger missile. In real life, it’s rumored the destruction was at the demand of Enzo Ferrari himself.

Apparently, Mr. Ferrari was a fan of the show — but he hated that detective Crockett was actually driving a fake replica Daytona based on a Corvette chassis. To fix this, he gave the production two white Testarossa models for free (one for filming, and one for stunt work), and many say that Enzo Ferrari wanted to see the fakes destroyed on screen. He may have gotten his wish — well, partially — since they did destroy one Daytona, though they ended up using a DeTomaso Pantera modified to look like the Testarossa for the chase scenes later in the series.

In my case, Enzo Ferrari would have been very upset to see my real 1995 F355 Spyder explode — but like detective Crockett, I absolutely needed a Ferrari to continue my very important work. For me, it couldn’t just be any normal Ferrari Testarossa; it had to be the cheapest one in the USA — that was running and driving, of course — and thankfully, the example I ended up with is pretty nice.

For this purchase, it was the first time I’ve ever been a part of a negotiation that went backwards in my favor. I was perfectly content paying $85,000, which was well off the seller’s $90,000 asking price — but apparently, the star power I have as a D-list YouTuber garnered an extra $2,000 off. I was able to inspect the car in person during my recent trip to Northern California for Monterey Car Week — but the seller wasn’t there. I actually met him later at the fancy Concourso Italiano car show. We negotiated the deal after he casually introduced me to Valentino Balboni, the famous Lamborghini test driver, and snuck me into a VIP lasagna buffet. A week later, a white 1988 Testarossa followed me home to Kansas.

So far, there’s nothing serious to worry about. The car only has 29,000 miles, it had its last major engine-out service in December 2016 and everything appears to work well. The Testarossa is certainly built to be more of a grand tourer than a sports car, and it’s not fast by modern standards — but I couldn’t care less. It’s got plenty of weird Italian quirks, like the super confusing button layout of the interior center console — but I’m way more interested in the insanely styled exterior.

I now spend way more time than usual peeking in the garage, stunned at the fact that a Testarossa is resting inside. As much as I loved the F355, I bought it as a project out of convenience. A friend was tired of fixing it, and he wanted to trade my NSX for it — so it was an easy deal. But if I were given the opportunity to choose my own sub-6-figure Ferrari, it would have been a Testarossa. The very generous insurance settlement from my F355 exploding actually made this all possible, in the worst possible way.

As for why I would make this choice, it’s certainly not from my nostalgic memories of the 1980s, as I was barely potty-trained when the decade ended. It could very well be because I’m an idiot, as the notoriously expensive-to-maintain Testarossa is handily outperformed by a new Ecoboost Mustang. Clearly, there are plenty of better exotic car choices out there, especially at the price I paid — but I went with the Testarossa anyway. Why?

Honestly, I don’t have an answer. I bought it because I love it — and I’ve been smiling ever since. I may not be smiling when I have my first repairs, but I try not to think about that much. At least I don’t have to perform a humiliating limbo dance every time I exit my car, like those silly Ford GT owners with their dumb door design.

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  1. Wow, you parlayed your misfortune into a better car? Better not be so public. The insurance company might get the idea that car fire was so big you could see it 6 months away…..

  2. I believe the Miami Vice story waa tgat Enzo gave them 2 black Testarossas. The night scenes were difficult to shoot so they painted them white. One was for sale a couple years ago on Dupont Registry i believe. Nice write up. Dont worry, Testarossa is not that bad to take care of vs some of the more modern F cars. 

    • Yes, this is true about the cars originally being black. I had seen both of them at the dealer in Miami shortly after the series finished. Probably some old photos somewhere, but that was back in the 35mm days, lol. The paintwork was not great, but then it didn’t really need to be. Front bumper was removed on one so the camera equipment could be installed. There were massive repair estimates on what it would take to put them back into resalable condition. (probably that price would be a steal compared to today’s costs). At that time, I could only afford an F40 poster 🙂 But later in life I was fortunate to have a several year relationship with an 85 308GTS, an 86 Testarossa and a 360. Drive em if you got em!

  3. I was browsing craigslist few weeks ago and there was a light gray testarossa(single mirror) for $48k and white one(dual mirror) for $60k…for the cheapest Ferrari you sure overpaid

  4. Or you could do what Doug did: buy a fiberglass replica Ford GT on a Fiero chassis; bet there are lots of cheap fake Ferrari’s around as well!

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