Sometimes it appears as if the 1980s were the ultimate times for coachbuilding companies that specialisted in convertible conversions; demand was high and the subsequent availability of companies willing (not always able) to do a roof-top-removal was also quite big. Many car companies didn't offer a convertible / cabriolet version of their two door coupes and so there was a huge space for creating them in aftermarket shops. Coupes like the Mercedes-Benz SEC, Jaguar XJ-S, Ferrari 400i, Porsche 928 all were opened up by companies like Styling-Garage, Straman and Lorenz und Rankl. Even the very expensive excotics weren't spared from the open-air treatment; the Ferrari Testarossa was offered as a convertible by at least half a dozen companies, inspired by the one-and-only Pininfarina-built Testarossa Spider for FIAT-boss Giovanni Agnelli.
Coach Builders Ltd
Coach Builders Ltd was a coach building company from High Springs in Florida; basically a company similar to Straman with their prime occupation making convertibles of cars that OEM didn't suply as soft-top. Their early 1990s Testarossa Convertible was a pretty one, looking much like the Straman conversion but with interesting differences that set it apart.
Koenig-Specials (Coachbuilt by Lorenz & Rankl)
Koenig-Specials from Munich, Germany made an outrageously powerfull Ferrari Testarossa called the Koenig Competition, an 800hp monster with a Turbo- and Supercharged V12. The Koenig Competition was also offered as a convertible, the world's fastest convertible at the time. The actual conversion to soft-top conversion was done by cabriolet-specialist Lorenz & Rankl, who also built Testarossa Cabriolets under it's own name.
Lorenz & Rankl
Convertible conversion specialist Lorenz & Rankl didn't just build the soft-top versions of Koenig's Testarossa based "Competitions", it also made far more subtle convertibles of the "standard" Ferrari Testarossa under their own name, from 1988 onwards. Lorenz & Rankl were no strangers to chopping tops of Ferraris; before 1988 they already had convertible models of the Ferrari 400i, 308GTB and the 512BB(i) in their portfolio.
Italian Coachbuilder Ernesto Pavesi from Milan also made various open top version of the Ferrari Testarossa, most of them in the 1990s.
A Carozzeria Pavesi Ferrari Testarossa Spider on the Autostrade, somewhere in the early 1990s.
R. Straman Co
Los Angeles, California- based convertible specialist Richard Straman also made various Ferrari Testarossa convertibles. One of Straman's soft-top Ferrari's was shown in the 1988 "Chase" Pepsi TV-commercial featuring one Michael Jackson....
Styling-Garage / Design+Technik
German coachbuiling company and convertible specialist Styling-Garage (by then operating under the Design+Technik name) also offerede an open-air version of the Ferrari Testarossa; one of which was fitted with a super complicated fully retractable hardtop, something nobody else even dared to engineer. The Design+Technik "St. Tropez" was introduced in 1991 and was easily the most expensive Testarossa Convertible available, the construction and engineering behind the car just a tad more high-tech than that of the other companies that offered a similar conversion.
Ernst Berg, a Dutchman with a coach building company in Belgium, dreamed up this Targa version of the Ferrari Testarossa and built it at his EBS company as early as 1985.
Text: copyright Bram Corts