Ferrari Brings Back The Testa Rossa, But You May Not Fit In It
Images: Courtesy Ferrari
Finally, a Ferrari that is almost affordable… at a bare €93,000 (Rs 81 lakhs). The catch is you may not be able to fit in it. Designed for early teens, the all-new Ferrari Testa Rossa Model J was created for anyone over 14 years of age, but it is not homologated for road use.
It was only a matter of time before Ferrari was expected to launch a car for children (of very wealthy parents), a proper Italian riposte to the French Bugatti’s Baby II. To celebrate Automobile Bugatti’s 110th anniversary, the rejuvenated French marque unveiled a two-thirds model replica of the legendary Type 35 for teenagers, at a relatively reasonable €30,000 (Rs 26 lakhs!).
With the success that Bugatti has seen with the Baby II, it was not all that surprising that Ferrari would follow-up with a similar two-thirds scale children’s car based on a legendary model from yesteryear.
Ferrari chose the seminal 250 Testa Rossa from the late 1950s, of which barely 33 were made, but which won Ferrari the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times, in 1958, 1960 and 1961. The Ferrari Testa Rossa J is described as a 75 per cent scale replica of the renowned classic but powered by an electric motor.
Ferrari’s press release says that “the car is a faithful reproduction of the 1957 250 Testa Rossa, one of the most iconic and successful cars in Ferrari and motorsport history. A limited run of just 299 vehicles will be built.”
The pricing is an eye watering Rs 81 lakhs, three times that of the Bugatti. Yet it is less than half the price of a Portofino (in Europe), Ferrari’s least expensive sports car on sale today.
A firm that specialises in the production of junior cars, the The Little Car Company, which also made the Buggati Baby II, is making the Testa Rossa J. We are a bit mystified by the gap in pricing between the Testa Rossa J and the Baby II, given that they come from the same manufacturer.
Incidentally, Ferrari’s Styling Centre in Maranello were involved in supervising and validating the proportions and the liveries. The chassis and other components were designed using original drawings. Apparently, the l’il car retains the same steering and suspension geometry, so that the car can replicate the handling characteristics of the original.
Some very fine quality details are to be seen in the interior. The high-quality leather-covered bench seat can accommodate an adult and a teen, and it faithfully incorporates the piping motif of the original. Nardi, the same specialist company that supplied the 1957 model, makes the steering wheel, and it features a quick-release system to facilitate driver entry, not unlike the original.
The classic dials have been remastered and repurposed for their new role in an electric car, as they retain the original design and fonts. The oil and water gauges now monitor the battery and motor temperatures, while the fuel gauge is now the battery gauge, and the tachometer has become a speedometer. There is even a power gauge, which also shows the level of regenerative braking being deployed.
The pedals are from the current Ferrari F8 Tributo, and Pirelli supplies the tyres. These are fitted on handmade 12-inch wire wheels. Bilstein coil-over dampers and custom springs address suspension needs and have been “fine-tuned and signed off by Ferrari’s test divers at the Fiorano test track in Maranello,” claims the press release!
Three batteries provide the juice for the electric motor, giving the car a range of 90 km. Four driving modes are provided by a e ‘Manettino’ dial: Novice mode (1kW/20 km/h max speed) is for rookie drivers; 4kW and 45 km/h top speed are for the more experienced, who can then decide on Comfort, Sport and Race modes, as acceleration becomes more rapid.
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