Though it has been quite a long time, I sometimes wonder whether there are people at Ferrari who still have complicated feelings about the show Miami Vice. On the one hand, it was good publicity for a Testarossa to appear on such a massively popular show, and the 1984-1991 Ferrari Testarossa was indeed a huge sales success, selling in unprecedented numbers for a flagship 12-cylinder model. But on the other hand, it probably also contributed to the car as being seen as silly and dated before it otherwise would have. Although there is always the chance that that was just the side strakes.

Whatever Ferrari’s feelings on the matter, one of the two actual Testarossas from Miami Vice is going up for auction after sitting in storage since 1989. It was only removed from storage earlier this year, and was worked on extensively to bring it back to showroom quality, all of which was certified by Ferrari Classiche. Most of this work was mechanical, making sure all of the moving parts still worked as they were supposed to after sitting for so long. It was otherwise pretty close to new as it was, having just 16,124 miles on it.

Continue reading for the full story.

Why it matters

The white Tesarossa came to be used in Miami Vice as the result of a series of strangely intense negotiations between the show’s producers and Ferrari. For the first two seasons of the show, as well as the first two episodes of the third season, Detective Crockett drove a replica 1972 Ferrari 365 Daytona Spider GTS/4.

Ferrari then turned to the show's producers and offered them two new (and authentic) Testarossas if they agreed to destroy the replica Daytona.

The car was built on the chassis of a 1980 Corvette. As the show became more popular, Ferrari got more and more annoyed, and eventually sued the maker of the replica to get him to stop making them.

Ferrari then turned to the show’s producers and offered them two new (and authentic) Testarossas if they agreed to destroy the replica Daytona. So the Daytona got blown up in the beginning of season 3 and Crockett got a new Testarossa.

The Testarossa was a supremely ’80s car, possibly more so than any other car during that decade. The Tesarossa was an excellent machine, one of Ferrari’s best. It was also the last Ferrari to use a flat-12, as Ferrari switched to a front-engine layout and a V-12 for its flagship GT cars after that.

This is a shame though, as the exhaust note of the Testarossa is truly a marvel. This is a fine example of the breed, and a rare example that came from the factory with only one wing mirror. You’re likely to pay a bit extra for the celebrity connection if you buy this particular Testarossa, but you will also be getting a great car.

1984-1991 Ferrari Testarossa

Read our full review here.

Press Release

The star of the ‘80s-era television series “Miami Vice” is coming to the Mecum Daytime Auction in Monterey this Aug. 13-15. No, not Sonny Crockett and Ricardo Tubbs—the flashy detectives played by Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas who fought episode-after-episode against the seedy underworld of Miami—but their 1986 Ferrari Testarossa. This iconic supercar with its signature side strakes was one of the quintessential poster cars that found itself plastered on many a teenager’s bedroom wall in the 1980s, and it will now be offered for sale at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa – Del Monte Golf Course this Aug. 15.

Miami Vice "Hero Car" Ferrari Testarossa Will Be Auctioned In August High Resolution Exterior
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It was rumored that Enzo Ferrari himself proposed that the Ferrari factory could supply two black Testarossas for use on the show. From that day forward, it was this Testarossa that became the show’s signature car. The only significant change came when the Ferrari was repainted white at the behest of Director Michael Mann for better visibility in night scenes. This Testarossa quickly moved into cult status along with other series props such as Ray Ban sunglasses, Armani jackets, Scarab speedboats and enough firearms for a small army.

The Testarossa sports a 4.9 liter, 390-horsepower flat-12 engine, a traditional five-speed manual gated shifter, beige leather, power windows, power locks, power seats, cruise control and air conditioning. After “Miami Vice” ended its series run in 1989 the car was placed into storage until earlier this year.

Miami Vice "Hero Car" Ferrari Testarossa Will Be Auctioned In August Interior
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Now showing 16,124 miles and authenticated by both Ferrari North America and Ferrari Classiche, with documented service records from Shelton Ferrari in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., this exotic recently received an engine-out service at a cost of $8,000. The sun may have set on Crockett and Tubbs, but the “Miami Vice” Testarossa remains an enduring icon.

To view the “Miami Vice” Ferrari Testarossa or to register as a bidder, visit Bidder registration is $100 and can be completed in advance online or on-site at the auction. The Mecum Daytime Auction in Monterey is open to buyers, sellers and spectators with general admission tickets available at the gate for $25; children 12 and younger are admitted free of charge. Portions of the auction will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network with a stream of the entire event presented on Mecum’s website. For more details on the auction, to consign a vehicle or to register as a bidder for this and all Mecum auctions, visit or call (262) 275-5050.

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