1988 Ferrari TestarossaTestarossa
Year of manufacture1988
- Presented as a gift to Nigel Mansell following the Formula 1 driver’s switch to Scuderia Ferrari
- Delivered to Mansell ahead of his first season as a Ferrari driver
- A plaque in the inner-door jamb notes the car’s close connection to Mansell
- Retains its matching-numbers chassis and engine
- A rare example, having been built in right-hand-drive configuration
- Accompanied by a six-item set of fitted luggage embossed with Mansell’s initials
- Also supplied with period correspondence between Maranello Sales and Ferrari headquarters to arrange for the car to be supplied to Mansell
As the 1980s drew to a close, a power struggle emerged among the great Formula 1 drivers of the era. Alain Prost and Nelson Piquet were each three-time Drivers’ champions by the end of the decade, while the threat of Piquet’s compatriot, Ayrton Senna, became obvious after the Brazilian’s first tilt for the title in 1988. By comparison, Scuderia Ferrari could only wish for better luck; one solitary race win in the 1988 season forced team bosses to make drastic changes, and Michele Alboreto’s contract was not renewed for the following campaign.
Desperate to improve its fortunes, the Scuderia looked to motorsport’s brightest talents to fill its vacant seat for the 1989 season. Nigel Mansell had earned an encouraging reputation with Williams with successive 2nd-place Drivers’ Championship finishes in 1986 and 1987, albeit followed by a 1988 campaign beset by bad luck and early retirements. The Birmingham-raised hotshoe was thrust into the limelight as the last-ever Ferrari driver personally appointed by Enzo Ferrari, who sadly passed away only weeks after rubber-stamping Mansell’s move to his team.
Mansell’s reception with the Italian team was rapturous. While he missed the 1988 Italian Grand Prix through illness—still a Williams driver, but with his move to Ferrari already confirmed—the Englishman hit the ground running with a 1st-place finish on his Scuderia debut at the 1989 Brazilian Grand Prix. The driver earned the nickname of Il Leone among tifosi thanks to his fearless determination behind the wheel, and his exploits with Ferrari brought great reward. Just before Christmas 1988, Mansell was presented with the gift of a Ferrari Testarossa—the car offered for sale here.
Thought to be one of around 500 examples of the Testarossa to leave the Maranello factory in right-hand-drive configuration, the car was imported into the United Kingdom by Maranello Sales, the official Ferrari dealer based in Egham, Surrey. Noted as first being supplied to Gestions Sportives Automobiles SA of Geneva, Switzerland, on 23 December 1988, Mansell took delivery of the Testarossa shortly afterwards, as verified by period correspondence (available to view on file) between the dealership and Ferrari headquarters. It is believed that Mansell retained the Ferrari until December 1993. The car’s odometer reads 10,227 miles at the time of cataloguing, though its original odometer was replaced while reading around 4,700 miles. The Ferrari retains its matching-numbers chassis and engine.
Bearing a commemorative metal plaque honouring its close connection with Nigel Mansell, and accompanied by a fitted luggage set proudly embossed with the Scuderia Ferrari driver’s initials, this storied Testarossa presents as the ideal collector’s item for any Ferrari or motorsport fan.
To view this car and others currently consigned to this auction, please visit the RM website at rmsothebys.com/en/auctions/lf23.