Officine Fioravanti Testarossa is subtle and sensational

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In May, Swiss design and engineering outfit Officine Fioravanti showed its work-in-progress, a camouflaged Ferrari Testarossa restomod. Shy about giving too much away at the time, all we learned was that there was more horsepower and torque from the 4.9-liter flat-12, and a top speed of something like 200 miles per hour. All of those figures were healthy improvements on the original 1984 icon. The people behind the project are finally ready to show it off, and by all appearances, they've pulled off a special piece of art.

Part of what's special is that you'd have to be a Testarossa connoisseur to tell anything has been done from the outside. The most apparent change is the larger wheels, the first-gen 16-inchers replaced with a set of staggered center-lock alloys, 17 inches in front, 18 inches in back, shod in Michelin Pilot Sport rubber. The first few years on sale, the original Testarossa sat on magnesium center-lock wheels that were either 16 or 16.33 inches in diameter, a little too exotic for then, but not now. Behind those wheels sit Brembo brakes, six-piston calipers in front, four-piston in back. The other tell is the quartet of titanium exhaust tips poking out the back. The rest is by the book, down to the pop-up headlights and high-mounted driver's side flying mirror. That mirror was the ultimate in cool for anyone who didn't need to drive the car.

Upgrades are hidden under that stock-standard skin from stem to stern. The 12-cylinder puts out 500 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque, a bonus of about 120 horses and 96 pound-feet. That's thanks to changes like an improved block, new intake and exhaust systems, a new fuel injection system developed in-house, and a redline that's been raised from 6,800 rpm to 9,000. Officine Fioravanti worked with Ohlins to develop an electronic adaptive suspension with remote reservoirs and six-way adjustable roll bars, then went further with a front-lift system to get up unkind inclines. The exhaust, traction control, and ABS are also adjustable, and those latter two driver aids can be turned off. These tricks, plus a flat floor and a 267-pound diet compared to the original, increase top speed to 201 miles per hour, which is 16 mph more than Road & Track managed in 1987.

No one would accuse a stock Ferrari Testarossa interior of not being nice, but this one is much nicer. Officine Fioravanti replaced a lot of plastic with aluminum, added a lot more stitched leather, and kept the built-in Gordon Gecko phone but turned it into a Bluetooth unit. Ferrari's car in the 1980s could be optioned with a six-piece set of Schedoni lugguage, the Swiss restomodders made their own. And, yes, there's a premium audio system that works with Apple CarPlay, and built-in navigation.

Officine Fioravanti says there will be an official debut later this year. When that happens, perhaps we'll find out where this outfit sprang from. It appears to be connected to Leonardo Fioravanti, the longtime Pininfarina designer who penned so many legendary Ferraris that it would be fair to suspect he made a deal with the devil, including the 1984 Testarossa. That Leonardo maintains an office in Milan and works with automaker clients, whereas Officine lists its HQ in Coldrerio, a town 40 miles away from Milan just over the Swiss border. We should find out how much this jewel is going to cost and how many will be made, our guess as to the answers being, "A lot, and a few."

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