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Rivalling Lamborghini's Countach for presence, the Pininfarina-designed Testarossa succeeded brilliantly, the gill slats feeding air to its side-mounted radiators being one of the modern era's most instantly recognisable – and copied - styling devices. A larger car than the 512BB, the increase in girth being necessary to accommodate wider tyres, the Testarossa managed the trick of combining high downforce with a low coefficient of drag, its graceful body being notable for the absence of extraneous spoilers and other such devices. Despite the increase in size over the 512BB, the Testarossa was lighter than its predecessor as its bodywork, steel doors and roof excepted, unusually for a production Ferrari was formed from aluminium. Luxury touches in the well-equipped cabin included air conditioning, electrically adjustable seats, a tilting steering wheel and lots of leather.
Unlike some of its rivals, the Testarossa possessed light controls and was relatively easy to drive, factors which, allied to its outstanding performance and stunning looks, contributed to an instant and sustained high level of demand. In 1992, the original Testarossa was succeeded by the updated 512TR version, with 423bhp on tap, while ABS brakes were added to the package before the 512TR was replaced by what would be the Testarossa's final incarnation – the 512M – for 1995. For the first time, there were major cosmetic changes: the original pop-up headlights were replaced by fixed lamps beneath clear covers, the grille size reduced, round tail lamps adopted and distinctive three-piece wheels completed the package. Titanium connecting rods, new four-valve heads, and other minor changes resulted in an increase in engine power to 380bhp at 6,300rpm with marginally more torque. Only 501 examples of the 512M had been completed when production ceased.
This immaculate, left-hand drive 1995 Ferrari 512M (Modificato) is indeed one of those five hundred and one and was supplied new to its first owner by Eberlein Ferrari in Germany on 29th April 1995. It was first registered in the UK during October 2015, has been enjoyed by two former keepers since then, and remains finished in its original colour combination of Rosso Corsa with Nero leather trim and matching carpets. It sits on a set of turbine-blade 18" Speedline split-rim alloy wheels which really suit it.
The car has only covered some 30,000km (18,750 miles) from new and the service records indicate that it has been maintained punctually and correctly with regular belt changes, the most recent of which was in December of 2018 when Bob Houghton Ferrari were given the honour in exchange for £6,500. Naturally, the car is accompanied by its full book pack and tools in the traditional Ferrari leather presentation. This fabulous Ferrari is being offered from the collection of a long-term client of Silverstone Auctions who only has the best in his stable and really looks after them.
Although the 512M was the final development of the Testarossa it was the distillation of a decade of small improvements and had obviously been to the gym, lost a bit of weight, toned those biceps and had a bit of a facelift. The one dimension that hadn’t changed was East to West and the 512 still looked a fraction wider than your average US aircraft-carrier, however, despite its white line-straddling profile, it feels nimble and civilised to drive and not at all intimidating. Its looks have remained dramatic, however, and still generate the open-mouthed disbelief that was much in evidence in Paris in 1984 when we got our first look at the Testarossa, but whilst the prospect of owning a top-of-the-range, mid-engined, Continent-munching Ferrari seemed a dream back then, this superbly presented, low mileage, impeccably maintained 512M is sensibly guided and eminently attainable.