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  Ferrari Testarossa

  Article Image gallery (27) Specifications  
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Country of origin:Italy
Produced from:1984 - 1991
Numbers built:7177
Introduced at:1984 Paris Motor Show
Designed by:Pininfarina
Author:Wouter Melissen
Last updated:Before December 1st, 2004
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Click here to download printer friendly versionFlat 12, mid mounted
With the 365 GT4 BB introduced in 1973, Ferrari first used a mid-mounted engine in their top-of-the-line GT model. The 'BB' differed in all but its displacement from its predecessor, the 365 GTB/4 'Daytona'. Motor racing had proven in the preceding decade that mounting the engine behind the driver was an improvement over mounting it in front. In 1973 Ferrari followed this trend first set by Lamborghini's Miura in 1966.

Not only the location of 'BB's' engine differed from that of the 'Daytona', but also the configuration. Following the racing engines style, the 12 cylinder unit had a 180 degree V-angle, (flat, but not a 'boxer'). The biggest advantage of a flat engine is a lower centre of gravity, which improves handling. Ferrari however mounted the engine in the 'BB' on top of the gearbox to keep the wheelbase short, which unfortunately raised the centre of gravity height of the entire car.

In keeping Ferrari tradition, a steel tubular frame was used to mount the 4.4 liter engine and attach the all-round independent suspension. Pininfarina was responsible for a stunning body design, which combined the then popular 'wedge' with the round lines Pininfarina penned for so many Ferrari's before. One of the stylish body details were the six round tail lights combined with six exhaust pipes.

First evolution
The reason why the 365 GT4 BB is not a very well known Ferrari, despite its historical importance, is its early retirement. To keep with Lamborghini's mid-engined supercar, the Countach, Ferrari introduced the 512 BB in 1976. The traditional policy of naming a car after its engine's unitary displacement was abandoned and replaced by a number indicating overall displacement and the number of cylinders. In the case of the 512 it was 5 liter and 12 cylinders.

Compared to the 365 GT4 BB, the biggest change was an increase in displacement to 5 liters. On the outside few things changed, except for the six taillights and exhaust pipes being replaced by four of each. In 1981 the six Weber Carburetors were replaced by a Fuel Injection system which proved to be more fuel efficient and more environmentally friendly, but a few horses were lost in the process.

Some customers constructed racing versions of the 365 GT4 BB and 512 BB, with some assistance from the factory for the 512's. Pininfarina designed a completely new 'silhouette' bodywork for the 512 BB LM, of which just the glasshouse was similar to that of the road car. The awkward engine position on top of the gearbox did not give the 512 BB LM the best handling and the mid-engined racers were rarely successful.

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  Article Image gallery (27) Specifications