Skip advert
Advertisement
Features

The story of the Out Run Ferrari

The only official Testarossa Spider

Only one of the following elements from 1980s computer game Out Run was in evidence at Windsor Castle over the weekend. It wasn’t the palm trees, it wasn’t a six-lane freeway, it wasn’t a sky that changed from blue to purple to orange in quick succession and it wasn’t a constant Passing Breeze soundtrack. It was a Testarossa Spider.

Advertisement - Article continues below

It was one of the most amazing cars on display (amongst lots of amazing cars) at the Concours of Elegance, held at the Queen’s home. The car was originally built by Ferrari in 1986 (the same year that Out Run was released by Sega) as a present for Gianni Agnelli, the famously wealthy head of Fiat. It was to celebrate Agnelli’s 20th year as head of the company, but was one of a succession of gifts to thank him for persuading Fiat to take a 50 per cent share in Ferrari at the end of the ‘60s.

Apparently his name inspired the colour of the car as well as the solid silver badge that replaced the usual aluminium one (if you’re puzzling over that, then take his initials and look at a Periodic Table). There was a mechanical curiosity engineered in specifically for Agnelli as well. In his thirties L’Avvocato (The Lawyer – his nickname) suffered an accident on a road near Monte Carlo that severely damaged his right leg. He had been caught in flagrante with a young woman by Pamella Churchill (who he was then living with) and after a blazing row he was driving the girl home, reportedly touching 140mph in the process, when he hit a lorry. To help with the quirky logistics of driving only with his left leg, a Valeo system was installed in his Testarossa. At the push of a button this system took over the operation of the clutch when changing gear. The same system was fitted, somewhat incongruously perhaps, into the F40 that replaced the Testarossa Spider.

There were many other requests for a Testarossa Spider, but this remains the only one officially built by Ferrari. Some coupes were converted to spiders by Pininfarina (mostly for the Sultan of Brunei), others by German company Lorenz & Rankl and others by California-based Straman (who did the Black car driven by Michael Jackson in a 1987 Pepsi commercial). Most of these unofficial cars have the hump in the middle of the rear deck that you can see in the car in Out Run.

Agnelli eventually sold the Spider to a friend who had admired it and the car was sold at auction earlier this year by Artcurial in Paris (the auctioneer was Hervé Poulain – he of BMW Art Car fame) for just over £1,000,000. It is nice that it has gone to an owner that is happy to bring it out in public, and it was undoubtedly one of my highlights of the Concours of Elegance. 

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Ferrari’s new factory will produce its first EV in 2026
New Ferrari factory
News

Ferrari’s new factory will produce its first EV in 2026

A new €200m e-building will produce Ferrari’s future sports cars – including its first EV
22 Jun 2024
The £315,000 Ford Mustang GTD is a GT3 car for the road
Ford Mustang GTD
News

The £315,000 Ford Mustang GTD is a GT3 car for the road

A collaboration between Ford Performance and Multimatic, the GTD is the most extreme road-going Mustang ever produced
18 Jun 2024
How to win the Le Mans 24 Hours: we consult 2024’s winners
Le Mans 24 Hours 2024
Features

How to win the Le Mans 24 Hours: we consult 2024’s winners

evo sits down with veterans of the Le Mans 24 Hours and winners of the 2024 race, and asks them what it takes to win racing’s ultimate prize
17 Jun 2024
McLaren Artura Spider 2024 review – Ferrari 296 rival just got a whole lot better
McLaren Artura Spider
Reviews

McLaren Artura Spider 2024 review – Ferrari 296 rival just got a whole lot better

More power, comprehensive chassis updates and a new Spider model has resulted in McLaren’s Artura being impossible to ignore for those in the junior s…
16 Jun 2024
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Alfa Romeo 4C – the car world's greatest misses
Alfa Romeo 4C
Features

Alfa Romeo 4C – the car world's greatest misses

It had stunning looks and promising hardware, but somehow the 4C didn’t add up to the sum of its parts
20 Jun 2024
Cupra Leon Estate VZ3 2024 review – Cupra’s rival to the Mercedes-AMG CLA35 Shooting Brake
Cupra Leon Estate VZ3
Reviews

Cupra Leon Estate VZ3 2024 review – Cupra’s rival to the Mercedes-AMG CLA35 Shooting Brake

The Cupra Leon has been updated to match its Golf GTI and Audi S3 cousins, bringing more power, a refreshed design and a welcome dynamic edge to the h…
23 Jun 2024
Bugatti Tourbillon revealed – the 1775bhp, V16-engined Chiron successor is here
Bugatti Tourbillon – front
News

Bugatti Tourbillon revealed – the 1775bhp, V16-engined Chiron successor is here

With a naturally aspirated V16, a new carbon chassis and a 273mph top speed Bugatti’s latest hypercar has the GMA T.50 in its sights
20 Jun 2024