Market Finds: Redhead Residuals Set to Rise

Redhead Residuals Set to Rise

By Alan Franklin
May 23, 2013

The Testarossa is one of a handful of truly iconic 80s supercars, which, depending on your perspective, may or may not be a good thing. At nearly seven feet wide and with those long, trademark side strakes feeding side-mounted radiators to cool its big flat twelve, Testarossas are many things, subtle not one of them.

Introduced in 1984 as a replacement for the fabulous 512BBi, the Redhead retained its predecessor’s mid-mounted 180 degree V12 layout, and not much else. Though Pininfarina’s styling ultimately may not have stood the test of time, it inarguably captures the zeitgeist of the decade to perfection. Said to be among the best-driving period Ferraris, it’s noted for relatively good visibility, a comfortable cabin offering easy ingress and egress, friendly handling (up to 8/10ths or so—after that you better be named Villeneuve), and one of the all-time great engine soundtracks.

The investment outlook for the Testarossa and its facelifted brother the 512TR is expected to be healthy, if not rampant, in the next 5-10 years, with good appreciation potential relative to the market at large. Today, prices are quite similar to where they were a few years ago, following the broader market correction of 2008. Most 2-seater 12 cylinder Ferraris have since recovered those lost residuals, but the Testarossa remains perhaps 15% off the mark, with values ranging from about $50k on the low end to low 6 figures for pristine, lower mileage examples.

Built in large relatively numbers and, as previously mentioned, symbolic of an era of questionable taste to many, prices have been held back by these factors for years, but with children of the 80s coming into more buying power, many are now in a position to purchase the bedroom wall poster dream car of their youth. For younger buyers, it seems, larger production numbers don’t necessarily dampen enthusiasm—bearing these factors in mind, one can see why prices are set to rise over the next decade. It will likely take half that time for demand to outpace supply, however, so if you’re looking to buy as an investment in your retirement fund as much as an investment in fun, patience is key—prices will rise, but steadily rather than quickly.

Early, single mirror cars, as well as later, more powerful versions are the preferred models, but low mileage and recent maintenance is more important than year of manufacture due to the Testarossa’s reputation as a complex and expensive to maintain machine.

There’s a large pool of eighties performance cars available for similar money, among them 911s and 928s, or the Testa’s Modena cousin, the 328. All offer similar performance, but nowhere near the visual impact or room for market growth available from a nice Testarossa.

Petrolicious gives many thanks to Brian Rabold at Hagerty Insurance for his invaluable research and help with this article. Check out Hagerty’s price guide report for the Testarossa.

Click here to check out the Ferrari Testarossas offered for sale on eBay.

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Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson(@andreas)
8 years ago

Being a child of the 80’s myself, I can’t but agree with you, these will be in high demand in a couple of years. I even had a pillowcase with the Testarossa on it and every time I used it, I would try very hard to dream about owning one. Unfortunately, it didn’t work all the time and the dreams have yet to come true, so I guess I’d better keep dreaming.

Personally, I think that the Testarossa looks miles better than the 512 TR (and the F512 LM just looks wrong without the pop-ups). As you said, it’s got a definitive 80’s styling too it (I don’t mean that in a negative way fyi.) and I think that “the more 80’s” the better. Fortunately though, I’m not a fan of the single mirror cars (even though that’s precisely what my pillowcase had), so I guess I’d be wanting one of those that are among the least sought after.

I was incredibly intrigued when you compared it to the Porsche 928 in terms of price. It seems like they’re at least not very far off of the Testarossa in the states. However, over here the Testarossa is more or less exactly as expensive as the ones over there, but a 928 in as good condition as you’ll be able to get is a whooping 1/3 off of the price! Even the Mondial T, which is more or less the cheapest Ferrari you could get your hands on, is an additional $15k and the 308 GT4 and 400 (awesome cars by the way), as Terrence mentioned, are also an additional $15k-$25k in comparison to the 928. I guess I really “should” buy a Porsche instead.

8 years ago

I think the Porsche 928’s market value is polluted with too many bad examples. Until the 928 is as rare as something like the Testarossa (Wikipedia says there are almost 10x as many 928s made vs Testarossa) it’s value will stay down (at bargain level!!)

There are some late model 928 GTS for sale close to $90k but most people are happy with a $10-20k example…

Andreas Lavesson
Andreas Lavesson(@andreas)
8 years ago
Reply to  Renbry

Yeah, you are probably right. There are quite a few pretty run down examples out there, and as you said, they are abundant in comparison. The fact that some people consider it to be “not a real Porsche” and doesn’t realize that it’s got a quite potent V8 might also have something to do with it.

However, the ones that can be had at 1/3 over here (about 20-25 grand) are the late model 928 GTS with some 75-90k miles on them, unfortunately most of them with an automatic. I realized that the 90 grand cars have about half that mileage, so these are not as big of a bargain as I first though. None the less, they seem pretty decent and 75-90k miles is manageable if they’ve been looked after properly.

Terrence Dorsey
Terrence Dorsey(@tpdorsey)
8 years ago

Yes, please focus your attention on the Ferraris of the ’80s and leave 308 GT4 and 400i prices alone until I can get one.

Logan Tanner
Logan Tanner(@fb_620056080)
8 years ago

How can the visual appeal of the TR’s Pininfarina styling even be brought into question? Personally, I find the TR a SIGNIFICANTLY better looking car than the Daytona and the Daytona is considered a classic commanding a million plus dollars. Any issue that some might have with the TR’s styling will be unfounded in 10-20 years time. This is a bold, V12 Ferrari. It’s not polarizing like a Countach, but it does have a style all it’s own.

Sorry, got a little intense about that.

Steve Fitz
Steve Fitz(@monovich)
8 years ago
Reply to  Logan Tanner

I agree. The style is unimpeachable. That part of the write-up made me pause.

Leucea Alexandru
Leucea Alexandru(@leuceaalexandru)
8 years ago

And it has one of the coolest features ever mounted on a car, the pop-up headlights. Such a shame no manufacturer dares to bring back something so beautiful for the eye to see. It always felt like a car was alive, just opening its eyes and waking up from sleep, when i saw those headlamps popping as a child. It was mesmerizing.

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange(@365daytonafan)
8 years ago

Pedestrian crash regulations have effectively outlawed pop up headlamps on new cars in the US and EU.

Why the flat 12 Ferraris have been relatively undervalued in the market has intrigued me for a number of years and I even blogged about the Testarossa’s predecessor the [url=””]Boxer being undervalued[/url] a couple of years ago. My thoughts on the subject haven’t changed really since then. The Testarossa is certainly a more usable car than the Boxer especially if you are tall, but it is not as practical and more difficult to drive than the 550 that replaced it.