► An £80k Ferrari EV?! Bargain…
► Only there’s one, quite large catch
► It’s quite a lot smaller than your average car
Ferrari’s first ever EV looks like a £30m classic icon but costs an incredibly modest £79,000. There’s one (small) catch…
A new, fully drivable Ferrari for less than £80,000? And it’s an EV?
That’s the long and the short of it. But very definitely skewed towards the short. The Testa Rossa J is a perfect scale replica of an original 1950s Ferrari Testa Rossa, licensed and approved by Ferrari, but built by The Little Car Company in the UK.
That name sounds familiar. They’re the people behind the Baby Bugatti, right?
Yes, the Bicester-based company started out making Type 35 Bugattis, which are proving so successful it’s now churning out 5-6 per week. It then added the Aston Martin DB5 Junior and a gadget-equipped No Time To Die 007 version of the same, before announcing the Testa Ross J.
Why the Testa Rossa?
It’s only the greatest Ferrari sports car of all time, winning Le Mans and Sebring three times, plus a bunch of other big titles. Ben Hedley, CEO of the LCC suggested the TR, a 250 California Spyder and a 330 P4, and Ferrari picked the Testa Rossa, though others may follow.
To build the scale version the LCC had access to the original 1950s blueprints, meaning that without the context of a person standing nearby, the Testa Rossa J looks identical to the real thing. And the detailing is lovely. The body is made from hand formed aluminium, there’s a real Nardi steering wheel, and there are disc brakes from a Ducati motorbike hiding behind 12-inch wire wheels, with genuine Borrani wires available as an upgrade.
But it’s just for kids, surely…
If you’re well over 6 ft 2 you might struggle to find space for you left knee between the wheel and the chassis tubing, but it’s surprisingly roomy inside, with enough space for an adult and child to sit side by side.
You can limit the motor’s power output to 1 kW or 4 kW via the manettino driving mode selector borrowed from modern Ferraris if you’re planning on letting kids take the wheel. Then when it’s dad’s (or mum’s) turn, an extra click from Comfort to Sport ups power to 10 kW, and eventually Race mode will unleash 12 kW giving a top speed of around 50 mph.
That sounds like fun! Is it?
Absolutely. The 4 kW Comfort mode soon gets boring, but the 10 kW available to us made the J feel fairly peppy, though we imagine you’d soon want more than even the 12 kW that’s coming. The big surprise was the chassis. There’s a little bit of understeer when you push really hard, but it’s got a nice neutral balance and great steering. It doesn’t seem to take kindly to attempts to drift, snapping back into line pretty quickly, so you soon settle into perfecting those turn-in points instead. And with a 55-mile range, you’ve got plenty of opportunity.
Any V12 sound effects?
No. The LCC did consider it, and Ferrari found an owner of an original Testa Rossa willing to have his car recorded, but both parties decided against adding anything fake.
And though owners could theoretically make their cars road legal under quadricycle rules, when the LCC offered Ferrari the chance to make that an option at the point of purchase, Maranello demurred.
Sounds like it would make a great basis for a race series, though…
Funny you should mention that. Hedley is working on it.
Little Car Company Testa Rossa: verdict
As a normal non-rich person it’s easy to think the idea of paying almost £80k for a glorified toy, but you’ve got to get into the mindset of the kind of person who already has a $40 m original Testa Rossa or a fleet of modern Ferraris. To buyers like that, finding the money to buy a fun Ferrari EV, or space to use it is no problem. But this feels like so much more than a toy. It looks and drives every inch, the proper small sports car.