Crocket and Tubs, Tubs and Crocket. The very 80's Ferrari Testarossa gained much of fame in the very 1980's TV series Miami Vice. But from 1988 on, Sonny Crocket's Ferrari Testarossa wasn't the coolest Ferrari in town. A customer from Florida ordered a very special Testarossa from Uwe Gemballa's tuning shop in Leonberg, Germany. A very special Testarossa it should be, because the customer almost gave Gemballa carte blanche to improve this car.
The first thing that becomes apparent when you look at this custom yellow Ferrari is the missing strakes that have become the trademark of the original Ferrari Testarossa. Gemballa has removed the strakes and replaced it with a split air intake. Since the strakes were not loved by everybody this design modification was applauded by many (Koenig-Specials did something similar with their Testarossa Bi-Turbo). Because the strakes are missing you would hardly notice the fact that the Gemballa Testarossa is almost 12 centimeters wider than a stock Testarossa. Also new Gemballa-designed front- and rear bumpers were installed, a small roof spoiler, streamlined rear-view mirrors and a tail spoiler.
Uwe Gemballa left the engine of the Ferrari untouched but peaking through the new rear bumper of the Testarossa was a custom Gemballa exhaust with six pipes, something Gemballa had done in a similar way on the Porsche 911/930 based Cyrrus, Avalanche and Mirage cars. The Gemballa Testarossa had some new shoes in the shape of color matching 17" BBS racing wheels with tires the same size as on the Ferrari F40 (235/40ZR17 on the front and 335/35ZR17 on the rear tires).
The interior wasn't left untouched either. I mean, what could you expect from a company that was best known for it's outrageous interiors and digital gadgetry. Obvious modifications such as new leather upholstery, Recaro C-seats in black leather with yellow piping and a silly TV in the dashboard. Why would anyone put a TV in a Ferrari? Well, that's the interesting part: the monitor was mounted at such an angle that is mainly directed at the driver and this was for a good reason. The TV showed a picture sent by a rear-facing camera that was mounted to the ceiling of the Ferrari. This was a usefull gadget since the smaller Gemballa wing mirrors didn't gave the driver a good impression of what was happening behind the car once reversing. The camera could be rotated as well, making it possible to cover blind spots while driving.
The complete conversion from factory Testarossa to Gemballa Testarossa took six weeks and costed about 110.000 DM in 1988, which made a totall of 350.000 DM for the Testarossa including the Gemballa treatment. Was it worth it? Ferrari-purists probably don't think so, Enzo Ferrari didn't either but at 1000SEL.com we think it was worth every penny!
Uwe Gemballa's redisigned Ferrari Testarossa: in this picture the car is still unfinished: the Gemballa logos on the side of the car are still black and the wheel centres haven't been painted yellow yet. Also air-intakes above the rear fenders are missing
From this agle it's clear the Gemballa Testarossa was without seats at this point.
The Gemballa Testarossa one stage further. From this angle we see the new wing mirrors and the new front bumper. The split air-intake gives the Testarossa an overall different (cleaner) look but the car is still missing it's air-intakes in these next few studio photos.
Whoohaaa, Gemballa's Ferrari Testarossa in full glory. The canary yellow BBS wheels with polished lip aren't completely street legal. They are racing wheels with a center locking system.
All Ferrari and Pinninfarina logos were replaced by Gemballa ones. A quick look inside reveals the black Recaro seats.
A great studio-shot from the rear of the car. The custom 6-pipe exhaust looks spectacular.
A look from above of the car as what it looked like completely finished. The added air-intakes above the wheel arches of the rearwheels are clearly visible in this shot.
Another series of photos of the finished Gemballa Testarossa in front of Schloss Ludwigsburg.
This is the first picture to show the rear facing camera, you can see it through the rear window hanging from the cealing.
One of the very few period photos of the Gemballa Testarossa driving. Note that the steeringwheel is wrapped in plastic to prevent damage before the car has been delivered to the customer.
A very interesting shot of the Gemballa Testarossa driving. When you look through the rear window you can see the rear-view camera. Interestingly the camera's position is not faced to the actual rear of the car but more sideward to cover blind spots when overtaking other cars.
The unfinished Gemballa Testarossa at the Geneva auto show in 1988.
The (unfinished) interior of the Gemballa Testarossa with newly installed Recaro C-seats in black leather with yellow piping.
Another shot of the unfinished interior. The original Ferrari steeringwheel is still in place, but the Pioneer stereo is already installed.
Finished: the Gemballa Testarossa now has a Gemballa modified Silberpfeil steering wheel with buttons to operated the stereo and other controls. Then there's the small TV-monitor which displays the camera-view.
Text: copyright Bram Corts 2013