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What year Testarossa to buy?

Discussion in 'Boxers/TR/M' started by Hawaii, Jul 13, 2007.

  1. Hawaii

    Hawaii Formula Junior

    Jan 28, 2007
    847
    Maui
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    Emery
    New to the forum. I currently drive a Lambo but would like to buy a 85-91 TR and was wondering what is the difference between years? I've been told to stay away from the 85s because they had problems the first year. Is that true? Also, if I get a pre 88.5 car I would like to put some after market 19" or 20" on it. does anyone make a single hole nice chrome 5 star type wheel?
    Thanks for the help!!
     
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  3. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Buy the best one you can find and or afford, and make sure you see a few of them to compare a decent car to a ratty car.

    As far as 85s, these cars are 20 yrs old plus now, the issue with them may have been upgraded by now...if it wasnt, then you will have to do it. All in All, they are roughly the same, depends what you prefer, single bolt, 5 lug nuts...have fun and dont rush into buying the 1st one you see.

    And welcome to fchat !
     
  4. Scaledetails

    Scaledetails F1 Rookie
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    Nov 19, 2003
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    #3 Scaledetails, Jul 13, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    I've had the late 88.5 and a 1990, and never had any problems with either. Be aware that there is a transaxle issue with most TR's, so do your homework before you buy, or it may cost you $20K in repairs. I was lucky enough to have found one with the upgraded version. Aside from that, they are great cars, and the later ones seem to have less issues and more updates, which is common on most Ferraris. I have not seen too many aftermarket rims for the early cars so you may want to factor that into your decision. I opted for the 512 TR rims on my 2nd one, photo enclosed.
    Good luck with your search.
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  5. BT

    BT F1 World Champ
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    Mar 21, 2005
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    Bill Tracy
    I would go for the 512TR. Richard H has one for sale here for around $99k. To me the improvments are worth the extra $$$ over the 85-91 models. the cost difference is only around $20k, and you could spend that fixing the transaxle if it goes boom!
    BT
     
  6. Sean F.

    Sean F. F1 Rookie

    Feb 4, 2003
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    The early 512TR's have the transaxle issue as well so that 20K can go boom with them as well.
     
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  8. Scaledetails

    Scaledetails F1 Rookie
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    Nov 19, 2003
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    Not excactly, $99K will buy a low end 512TR, a great one will cost around $115K. Same with the TR's, a low end will cost $45-50K, whereas a great car will cost $70K and up, so the price difference is more like $50K, not $20K. If that was the case most TR buyers would have opted for the 512's, including myself.
     
  9. Newman

    Newman F1 World Champ
    Professional Ferrari Technician Consultant Owner

    Dec 26, 2001
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    Newman
    I thought all 512TR's had the upgraded diff, whats the chassis number split on that?
     
  10. vvassallo

    vvassallo F1 Veteran

    Aug 4, 2006
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    Vince V
    Hawaii, fill out your profile first, esp. if u intend to be a regular visitor. If you have the budget (which you did not discuss), the 512TR is the way to go in TR-ville. If, on the other hand, you are financially challenged (like most of us), then there is a strategy for looking at the 85-91 TR. If you want the lowest prices, then the early cars are your ticket. Be aware that they have issues (some are really pricey fixes) up through mid-1988 model year.

    After that the cars are fairly tight, but improved through production (don't ask me about the nuance changes between the years because I am clueless). Therefore, your best bet is the '91 TR. Buy the best model with the best records and best PPI results you can get. Oh yeah, drive one first to make sure that you really want one of these beasts.

    When I was shopping for one, I considered the '90 and '91, but preferred the '91 since they were never sold new in CA. They are 50-state legal so there was no problem having them here. After I drove one,. I decided that the larger car feel they offered was not my idea of a prancing horse sports car.
     
  11. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    Are talking through experience or are you generalizing from a road and track magazine.Cause i seen some very NICE 85s, 86s, and 2 ratty 512s.

    A perfectly serviced documented well cared for 85TR with trx tires will run better and be more fun and less expensive than a neglected rough 512TR asking similar price points.
    Its all relative.
     
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  13. LightGuy

    LightGuy Three Time F1 World Champ
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    Oct 4, 2004
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    If you can swing it get a 512TR.
    However some very good deals are to be had on the earlier cars.

    Maintenance costs should be equal for any.
     
  14. Hawaii

    Hawaii Formula Junior

    Jan 28, 2007
    847
    Maui
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    Emery
    Thanks for the warm welcome and tips on buying a Testarossa. My budget is below $60k so the 512tr is definately out of my price range. Can you tell me more about the transaxle problem? 1st I heard of that one. I really-really like after market wheels on the TR...the 512TR wheels are awesome looking too(price for those?) so, i'm leaning towards trying to find a 88.5 unless someone knows where to make the single hole wheels in larger diameters?
    So far I know I should get a car that's had the belts, tensioners and water pump changed out. Anything elso to add?
    Thanks again for your time and effort!!
    Aloha
    Emery
     
  15. Hawaii

    Hawaii Formula Junior

    Jan 28, 2007
    847
    Maui
    Full Name:
    Emery
    Scaledetails-wow what a great shot!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111
     
  16. Hawaii

    Hawaii Formula Junior

    Jan 28, 2007
    847
    Maui
    Full Name:
    Emery
    Can you tell me more on the strategy on the older TR's
     
  17. Shamile

    Shamile F1 Veteran

    Dec 31, 2002
    6,563
    Lakeland FL
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    Shamile
    Dear Ferraristi,

    Being a "dyed in the wool" TR guy, I will add the following:


    The "Testarossa " is the original Miami Vice Car. ( yeah yeah..it matters to me :) )

    There were more made than the 512 so the value is lower. ( better for you )

    Parts are easier to come by. 512TR parts are now being eased out of the "in stock" dealer chain. Some 512 parts are no longer available like the testarossa parts. ....this is where the higher production numbers help....more used parts out there when you can't find something new.

    The transaxle issue doesn't get rectified till the 512M (95-96) So even if you got a 512TR...you "may" have an issue. I drive a 91 Testarossa (series 2) and I haven't had a problem...oh oh... I may just have jixed myself. :) I just let the clutch out easy at low rpm...once fully engaged....rev it to redline in every gear ! ( not kidding )

    Try to buy a later model. I know the early "high mirror " has a cult following but the engine updates are expensive.

    I wonder about buying one with the belt service done. I would buy one WITHOUT the service and have it done (dealer service ) myself. This way YOU are in control of what is really being done and what it may also need.
    I'm sure many " belt service completed" ads don't mention the service bill listing all the "customer refused at this time " items.

    Keep asking questions. We want you to buy and enjoy a Testarossa. We love these great cars!

    Shamile

    Freeze...Miami Vice !

    91 Testarossa (US Version )
     
  18. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,858
    Emery - you have mail.

    As far as the best year...I am biased towards the early models for issues of collectability. The flying mirror, single bolt wheel cars where limited in production (some say in the 300 range) and hence, with time, may achieve higher values. The engines have all been out for service, and hence updated tensioners and water pumps are the norm.

    The transaxle non-issue, is a non-issue. This statement, for Ferrari afficionados who are prone to dark suspicions...leads to dark suspicion. On one hand the critics cite the large number of cars as a deterrent to price escalation. If this is the case, why do we not hear about a large number of transaxle failures? I have a Boxer and a Testarossa with combined ages of 44 years, and no failures. If one adds up the years/miles of ownership on the Chat Board for Boxers and Testarossas (both purportedly stricken with this affliction), the rate of failure is quite small.

    As with all cars, technological features and improvements creep into the later models. With the Testarossa, the early models offer a great deal of iron for a minimal price. If one simply wants to enjoy a 12-cylinder, look at it in the driveway, and drive appropriately, the early Testarossas are the best value.

    My thoughts.

    Jim S.
     
  19. kuwait355

    kuwait355 Karting
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    Jul 9, 2006
    69
    Kuwait
    Any temperature issues with the TR's…does it heat up, for those of you driving it in CA or FL ?
     
  20. KENCO

    KENCO Formula 3

    Nov 1, 2006
    2,363
    FL
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    KJG
    Buy mine!

    87 TR, Red with tan. Pampered and babied.
     
  21. testarob

    testarob F1 Rookie

    May 13, 2006
    2,504
    Debary, Florida
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    Rob
    I am not aware of engine update problems. I have the early high mirror, single bolt 86 TR with over 60k miles and have had no engine problems.

    On the other hand, I have had the transmission/differential failure that has been discussed. I replaced it with the 512M version as this is the best/strongest alternative. The parts are interchangeable with no mods.

    ps - this was NOT an inexpensive undertaking.

    Agreed. I had EVERYTHING done to my TR and felt much more confident that it was in tip-top shape. The only thing I have left to do is the brakes, but that can wait a while as I have not had any problems with them. I do not track the car.


    I drive my TR in the FL heat at speed (redline) with no issues. The worst thing you can do is get stuck on the interstate in stop-n-go traffic, and even then I don't have significant issues. I do have a new water pump though, so that helps.

    I, too, subscribe the the single mirror, single bolt fan club of Testarossas. I love the look of the car and the association w/Miami Vice brings back memories of the first time I saw the TR. In it's day it was the fastest production car in the world.

    Just remember that these TRs require an engine out service every 30k miles/3 years that can run $7k + depending on who does it.

    All said and done, I wouldn't trade mine for the world!
     
  22. Shamile

    Shamile F1 Veteran

    Dec 31, 2002
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    Shamile
    Dear Ferraristi,

    The engine updates were not "problems" as such but a factory update. I believe it was a water pump and alternator pully upgrade. Sounds simple but as I understand it....it was expensive .....even by F standards. You may have already had the updates done before you accquired the car.

    ...Second Quote... +100


    Shamile

    Freeze...Miami Vice !
     
  23. jselevan

    jselevan Formula 3

    Nov 2, 2003
    1,858
    BT and BigRed - With respect to later cars enjoying technological innovation and therefore being worth more, one only has to look as far as the 365 BB or the 206 Dino to see values substantially greater in technologically inferior vehicles. Collectability has little to do with improvements.

    Rob - I question the wisdom of a 3-year schedule for engine out service. I do not wish to re-visit the 30,000 mile debate, (in matters of opinion, debate is superfluous), but in my opinion 30,000 miles is much too conservative.

    Imagine owning a car for 15 years, spending $10,000 every 3 years. It simply does not make economic sense. One could throw the car away and buy a new one every 10 to 15 years. I would rather play the statistical odds that 15 years, 30,000 miles is appropriate. Sure, change the oil and flush the fluids, but pulling the engine in a perfectly running car, to me, is like jumping out of a perfectly flying airplane. If it ain't broken, don't fix it.

    Both of my 12-cylinders went more than 15 years without the engine out. Both had 30,000 miles at engine out. Upon inspection, both had perfect belts, bearings, and water pump. While these observations are anecdotal, I posit that Ferrari's recommendation concerning 30,000 miles 5 years is also anecdotal and not based on careful study or statistical analysis.

    Jim S.
     
  24. MS250

    MS250 Two Time F1 World Champ
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    I tend to agree with you Jim, though im not sure about every 15 yrs though. I just completed my full out on my tr just 3 months ago. I was on my 8th yr, and the belts/tensions were fine...with only 12,000kms completed. Though we did find some smaller issues that would have casued problems along the line. With this said, since i feel confident in what i did in 2007 as far as full service i will be going to 10 yrs on these belts (i think) @ 1,500kms per year average driving i should be at 15,000KMS.(11,000 miles)
    Wish me luck !! :D:D:D:D:D
     
  25. Maldini

    Maldini Rookie

    Apr 14, 2006
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    Eric
    Any supporting evidence that suggest 300 is accurate? I have always wondered.
     
  26. rskdsk

    rskdsk Formula Junior

    Jun 1, 2006
    527
    As a recent purchaser of a 1986 testarossa, I need to chime in here. I love the high mirror, and that is the one thing that stuck in my mind as a kid growing up ... I also bought a single lug car ... but I am not changing anything

    I also subscribe to the buy a cheaper car without recent service and have it done! I had a complete engine out, with waterpump and tensioners for 6K ... now I know the car is mechanically set for the next 5 years or so.

    The only thing that scares me ... the transaxle issue ... however I do not launch the car, and mine has been inspected, so I am not losing sleep over that issue.
     
  27. ferrariguy

    ferrariguy Formula Junior

    Aug 17, 2002
    610
    Victoria, BC Canada
    Full Name:
    Lawrence Yee
    First off, welcome Emery!

    I can base my experience on the TR I had. It was an 88 single-lug dual mirrors. IMO the single lug looks better. I never had a problem with the transaxle after 6 years of ownership.

    I have a friend with an 86 TR who put on 17" aftermarket wheels shod with Pirelli P-zeros. They were polished HREs which I believe he had specially made for the single-lug. Let me tell you they look really nice!

    The one thing I would mention is that mine was a US-spec car which had the mouse motor seat belts. They were horrible. There is a recall on them so make sure the car you find had them done (there is an old thread here that about it).

    Cheers.
     
  28. ASK328

    ASK328 Formula 3
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    Sep 23, 2005
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    Andrew
    88.5 – 91 would be my advice, get one that needs the major. As for the Transaxle issue all 3 of the shops in my area including the dealership have never seen this transaxle failure. Every time I am at my shop they have a different TR on the rack and they have NEVER seen that failure. What he said “It has happened however it is an over blown Ferrarichat issue” This was echoed by 3 other mechanics that have wrenched on exclusively Ferrari’s with a combined history of over 100 years. I have basically no experience with this issue and fully acknowledge that it has happened to people on this forum. I have also read about it happening to a 89 TR in Forza a few issues back when the owner a race car driver was “really getting on it” it happened at 45K miles. I don’t know and I hope it never happens to me but people that have worked on them have told me they have never seen it – that made me feel better however with all that being said I am avery careful about getting the car going and the gearbox.

    My 2 Cents from a TR owner of 2 weeks -

    Andrew
     

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