26 years and a different philosophy between the both of them.
Photography: Max Lammers
Let’s start with the Ferrari 512 TR. The layout of this car is one Ferrari doesn’t offer anymore: a rear mid-engine flat-12. Its roots go back to the BB 512i. Everything that was wrong with that car was fixed with the Testarossa. One of the most notable problems was the fact the cabin got very hot while driving the car. Another issue was the lack of luggage space.
The Testarossa was therefore designed to be larger, especially noticeable in width which increased 15 centimetres. The Ferrari 512 TR is an updated version of the Testarossa and fixed just minor problems such as revealing the cassette players and increasing the cabin size.
1993 Ferrari 512 TR
Mike, the owner of this particular 512, bought it two years ago and drives it quite regularly considering it’s an investment. We decided to meet up in St. John’s Wood which is an area just outside Central London. After exploring the area for a while, we decided to drive to Regent’s Park to take some pictures. The first things I noticed when jumping in the car were the big cabin, the relatively modern gauges and the 5-speed manual gearbox. The Testarossa and its successor are known for their side strakes and wide rear. When you check your mirrors, you’re greeted by those big arches that make the Testarossa so iconic.
We parked the car to take some pictures. When I finished taking pictures, Mike asked if I wanted to drive the car around the block. Till that point I had never driven in the U.K., let alone an RHD car. I hesitated for two seconds but decided it was probably a once in a lifetime offer, so Mike handed over the keys.
Driving a 26-year-old Ferrari
I jumped behind the wheel and started the old lady up. The idling sound of the flat-12 is simply beautiful. I had the clutch pressed all the way in, put it in first gear, slowly let my foot off the clutch and gave it some gas. The flat-12 became louder and we drove away. I was quite happy I didn’t stall the car.
Everything in the 512 TR, and in every other classic for that matter, is really back to basic. For instance, there’s no power steering, no power braking and the visibility is second to none. All of the Testarossa generations are essentially shaped as a triangle, so if you can fit through a tight gap with the front, it doesn’t automatically mean you can fit the rear as well. After driving the car for a good 3 minutes, I parked it alongside the road, and we swapped seats again.
We had some time left and wanted to take a few more pictures. We found a nice spot in St. John’s Wood but I previously mentioned a location in Central London I wanted to try out. Mike wasn’t too keen on driving the 512 TR through busy Central but he did it anyway which I of course highly appreciated. The main reason why I like photographing so much is that you can really take a closer look at the car.
The next generation twelve-cylinder
After we were finished taking photos, we drove to HR Owen’s South Kensington Ferrari dealership where we met with John and his 812 Superfast. After checking out the cars in the showroom, Mike went home, and John and I jumped in his 812 Superfast. He only took delivery of both his 812 Superfast and his 488 Pista nine days prior. The dark shade of grey is called Canna di Fucile and the Giallo Modena stripe is a nice touch to break the dark character of the car. John ticked each carbon option available at the time for this car, including the rare carbon wing mirrors.
John first showed the interior which has the carbon racing seats covered in grey alacantara with a yellow stripe. The dashboard is black leather to prevent reflections into the front window on a sunny day. In the middle of the dashboard, a yellow leather stripe is placed to continue the yellow stripe from the exterior. Whilst driving through central, the 812 Superfast proved once again it’s a perfect daily driver. Engage the bumpy road mode and it’s as comfortable as its competitors.
Ferrari, never stop making V12s
John has a few more Ferraris and told he took his 599 GTO to Croatia for a tour. Though it’s a highly limited car, he doesn’t care too much about the mileage. At the end of the day, it’s all about enjoying the car and understanding how it drives. The GTO is John’s favourite car and he will never sell it, which pretty much explains the magic of a V12 Ferrari.
Back to the 812 Superfast. As we were approaching a tunnel, we both put our windows down and John down shifted a few times before entering the tunnel. Once we were in the tunnel he accelerated and although it sounds quite different to the 512’s flat-12, you could still hear a link between the two. It’s amazing how Ferrari’s heritage appears in each modern Ferrari too.
Ever since Ferrari was founded in 1947, they always had a 12-cylinder car in their range. In today’s day and age, it might become something from the past really quick. Let’s hope it won’t.
It was incredible to experience two different Ferrari 12-cylinders. Thanks to Mike and John for bringing their cars out!
Written by Max Lammers