At $99,500, Is This 1986 Ferrari Testarossa a 'Grate' Deal?

Nice Price Or Crack PipeIs this used car a good deal? You decide!

One might be suspicious of a car like today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Testarossa being sold on lowly Craigslist, but never fear, it’s on Hemmings as well. Let’s see if the price makes this flying mirror Ferrari a deal no matter where it turns up.

The nineteen eighties gave us the Toxic Avenger, a genre-spanning splatter horror comedy movie that almost instantly became a cult classic. In it, the titular character went from nebbish janitor to tumorous hero after being doused with toxic waste. He went on to set up camp in a junkyard and clean up the crime in his all-American town.


Yesterday, we found what could easily be imagined as the Toxic Avenger’s car. The 1987 (or thereabouts) Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce that we considered was a literal barn find, and that barn apparently harbored various forms of mold, mildew and perhaps even rodent life. All of those conspired to make the Alfa a bit of a fright pig, but even that kind of pig tastes delicious and the Alfa’s modest $500 price made it a tasty treat as well. At least that was the consensus of the 60 percent of you who voted it a Nice Price win.

If you’ve every been to Italy, you know that the Italian people don’t usually allow themselves the opportunity to get as scruffy as yesterday’s Alfa. Italians, especially those in the urban environs have the rep for being typically well dressed. Italy is after all considered a locus of haute couture.

Today we’re going to look at an Italian that, when it was introduced, was the height of the then current fashion, but which represented a tradition-bucking trend that faded quickly from favor. Today it’s a little more accepted as an icon of its era. Being a Ferrari, it’s also accepted for carrying that hallowed mantle.


This 1986 Ferrari Testarossa is claimed to be one of only 300 cars sold in the U.S. that model year and comes with 20,000 miles on the clock and a clear title for the transfer. The Testarossa would be Ferrari’s second ‘80s model to carry an initial proper name rather than a number, following the Mondial.

Ferrari in fact resurrected the Testarossa name for this model. It was originally applied to the 250 Testa Rossa racer of the late fifties and referenced the red painted cam covers of the engine, literally “Red Head.”


The engine is a 180° V12—yes, a flat V, not a true boxer as determined by how the crankpins connect to the crankshaft. Here it displaces 4943 ccs and offers four belt-driven cams operating 4-valves per pot.


That was good for 380 horsepower in U.S. trim which would push the nearly two-ton Testarossa to sixty in an entertaining but not exceptional five and a half seconds. A 5-speed manual transaxle sits below the engine and sends orders to the rear wheels.


This one comes with the iconic flying mirrors—sideview mirrors that sit half-way up the A-pillars to afford sight lines over the car’s unconscionably wide rear end. The broad ass was made necessary by Ferrari locating the engine’s cooling system in the car’s mid-section. That also resulted in one of the Testarossa’s most notable features—the enormous sewer grate like strakes that adorn each of the car’s flanks.

Time wounds all heels and those strakes, as well as the tradition-bashing rear lights are a little less appalling today. No, the car’s not as aggressively beautiful as the preceding 512BB, but it should prove a hell of a lot easier to live with.


Living with this one shouldn’t mean a lot of work either, as it looks to be in great shape and needing little. There are two notable exceptions, and we’ll get to those in a moment.


The bodywork looks immaculate, if disappointingly stereotypical in its Rosso Corsa paint. The factory alloys beneath that appear to be in perfect shape, while the interior exhibits only modest wear. The car is claimed to have been in climate controlled storage since 2011.

The only major issues here are a pair of big-ticket consumables. The first is the sellers warning that the car is due for a new timing belt. I’m not 100% certain but I believe that’s an engine-out service. It’s also pretty mandatory unless you want to drop $30K on a rebuild down the road.


The other issue is with those wheels and the tires wrapped around them. The seller notes that the Testarossa came with Micheline TRX tires and those came in oddball sizes. The problem is that Micheline doesn’t manufacture TRX tires any more so new tires will likely require replacement of those pretty pretty center-nut wheels. A set of 16-inch rollers from an ’86 or newer car should work just fine.


If you’re willing to accept those two future expenses, then you’re likely also okay with dealing with the initial cost of acquisition. The asking is $99,500 and while Testarossas once went for as little as half that, time and the Ferrari name have driven many up into the six-figure range.


This one’s just shy of that, but it does need a major engine maintenance, and who knows about those tires. With all that in mind, would you go $99,500 to give this red head a new home? Or, is this Ferrari’s Eighties-ness too thick to ask so much?

You decide!


Houston, TX Craigslist, or go here if the ad disappears.

H/T to FauxShizzle for the hookup!

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About the author

Rob Emslie

Rob Emslie is a contributing writer for Jalopnik. He has too many cars, and not enough time to work on them all.