Considering the current decadal design idiom of the latest offerings of Montezemolo-era cars (FF, F12, Italia, to name some), is the Ferrari Testarossa, 512TR, and 512M, of 1984-1996, a relatively tame design platform in hindsight? Are the side strakes really such purveyors of extravagance and flamboyance?
Of note, the Testarossa's roofline exactly matches that of the straked flank below it. And with the traditional Ferrari identifiers present (such as the egg crate grille, recessed headlamps of the era), the new elements (such as rectangular rear lights and the broad, squared, rear flanks) mark a bit of a departure. Early Testarossas feature a single mirror located halfway up the driver's side A-pillar, on stalks. But clearly the Testarossa's most defining and controversial image is that of the five body strakes that cover the side intakes and stretch between the ridges just below the door mirrors. Today most, or at least many, Ferrari fans regard these as extreme design aesthetics, dated, even hideous. But is this necessarily really true?
Individual tastes and perceptions notwithstanding, is the Ferrari Testarossa, 512TR, and 512M, made from 1984 through 1996, respectively, actually a tame (even tasteful) design in hindsight? Are the side strakes really that outlandish compared to the more recent 458 Italia's bizarre front end? Or to the new F12's strange cartoonish front fascia? Or what about the FF, with it's entirely non-confomist Breadvan shape, with similarly strange front end? Do these design showboats, Italia, F12, FF, boast restraint --or do they go beyond what one would consider to be in good taste?
By comparison, is not the Testarossa quite conservative and understated, being a basically squarish wedge design with retractable headlamps? Save for the wide track and strakes, Ferraris had become what the TR represented at the time, with the 348 and 355 following in its shadow. It would seem that the front end of any TR, particularly the non "M" version, can actuality pass for austere and tastefully restrained. One could even say it appears "normal," in its design idiom of the time. But yet it is forever "outrageous."
In a strange twist of fate, perhaps it is the time that the TR was trapped in, when new, which forever entraps it into its continual stigma of being the gauche, strake-riddled, testa rossa/red-headed stepchild today. Alas, I tip my hat and embrace Testarossa, the black sheep that it is for so many Ferraristi.