A childhood dream was realised in the Summer of 2001 when I collected my Testarossa from the dealership.
The surprising thing about driving the Testarossa is the sheer width of the thing. From behind the wheel, it feels quite intimidating on first acquaintance, and the heavy steering, and heavier gearbox and clutch are pure old-school supercar, and a real culture shock to those used to more modern machinery. It's a bit of a quirky car to drive in some ways too. For instance, you can't engage 2nd gear cleanly until the gearbox oil has warmed, and the electrics are temperamental to say the least. However as this is a toy, and not an everyday car, I see these things as a reminder that I'm driving something a bit special. Call it character.
On paper, the Testarossa isn't particularly quick by modern supercar standards, but one drive is enough to blow the figures out of the water. This is one seriously fast car. The big flat 12 has grunt virtually everywhere, although really comes alive in the upper half of the rev range. The back squats, and the car howls off towards the horizon with a force and noise that will make you grin for a week. If you can listen to this flat 12 singing its heart out as it spins past 5,000 RPM, and have a single hair not standing to attention on the back of your neck, you are definitely not in possession of a soul. It's engines like this which will make me cry the day that oil runs out, and we're all wafting round in silent fuel cell powered cars. It's engines like this which the internal combustion design will be remembered for.
Although Testarossas are now relatively affordable to buy (by Ferrari standards), the running costs are still tragic. Services cost anything up to £2,000+ and the car seems to deteriorate whether it is used or not. As for insurance, even a specialist insurer on a limited (5,000 mile) policy still wanted well into four figures. If you do decide to realise the dream, look into all this first, and make sure you want it badly enough. I'm actually tempted to sell mine this year and get something a little lower maintenance (another 911 perhaps), but I just know that I will miss this Red Head the second I hand her keys and paperwork over to someone else. She's exotic, achingly beautiful, demanding, and sometimes a bit stroppy, but I'm head over heels.