And there it is

We all knew this moment was coming. If the magazine was in my pile, I’d eventually be showing off the issue of Road & Track in which the Ferrari Testarossa (the cover text is wrong – it’s just one word) would appear.

Here you go. December 1984.

Ugh. The 1980s, with the glorious exception of the GTO and the F40 were a bad era for Ferrari styling. Gnomes such as the Mondial and the 348 were foisted on an unsuspecting public. But worst of all was the Testarossa.

The 12-cylinder flagship of the line couldn’t be that ugly, could it? Not after the sublime BB, surely.

But it was.

And it was a pity, as the TR was always a highly capable performance car that didn’t deserve to look this way.

Ferrari, of course, was lucky. The car was launched in the 1980s which, though good for music and individuality was not necessarily a mecca of good taste. So a wildly over-the-top sports car not only worked, but was revered by those people who couldn’t get enough of Porsche Turbos with the whale tail and Lamborghini Countachs. If you recall, the 80s were the decade of the Vector, too.

So they sold a ton of these, and a ton of posters and lunchboxes featuring these. They had Miami Vice tie-ins and… well, you get the idea. Ferrari sold every one of these they could produce.

And it all started here, with this misspelled cover.

Other great features of this mag, apart from the f1 race coverage were articles on a rakish US-bodied Rolls and a comparison between Trans-Am racers from 1969 and 1970, a Camaro vs. Mustang feature (the Mustang had already been tested in it’s own era here).

But the overwhelmingly most significant and memorable vehicle is that bestraked monstrosity on the cover.

Gustavo Bondoni is a novelist and short story writer whose latest novel is entitled Lost Island Ramapge. It’s a fun, action-packed thriller in an Indian Ocean paradise… with monsters. And maybe some cannibals. You can check it out here.

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