Ferrari FAQ – A Guide to the Daytona and Testarossa of Miami Vice
by Jason Hatakeyama, original version 2/6/97
Please feel free to send comments and criticism
this same Ferrari FAQ with pictures, used to be available at the Ferrari Club of America’s Northwest Region website:
What Ferraris appeared on Miami Vice?
(link no longer works – http://www.ferrariclub.com/faq/miamivice.html -)
Detective Sonny Crockett was granted a number of undercover props to augment his identity as a high rolling, fast dealing drug runner. At the start of the series, he drove a midnight black Ferrari Daytona Spyder, Florida license plate ZAQ178, on loan to him by the Metro Dade County Vice Department. The Daytona was Crockett’s prized “possession” and served as the perfect complement to his low key, yet high living identity. While more exotic cars such as the Lamborghini Countach could have been selected, the Daytona proved to be a wise choice by the producers.
Crockett’s Daytona was an important visual part of the show. The sleek, mysterious Ferrari was integral to the undercover role of ultra cool Sonny “Burnett”. A more exotic car would have been too conspicuous for his underworld drug running role, although many of his nefarious contacts preferred the flashy cars. The Daytona also provided a large dose of V-12 muscle in the high speed pursuits through the streets of Miami.
More formally known by Ferrari aficionados as the 365GTB/4, the Daytona was not well known to the general public. In fact, when the pilot episode aired, viewers were confused by the relatively obscure Daytona, and mistakenly identified it as a custom Corvette (although ironically, they were correct — read on).
The original Daytona was introduced as a Berlinetta (coupe) model in Paris by Enzo Ferrari in 1968. Production continued in the U.S. for ten years until it was discontinued in 1978. The 4.4-liter V-12 (60o slant) was one of the last front-engined production models in the Ferrari stable. Today, all Ferraris are rear-engined. A 1971 road test review proclaimed the Daytona as the “fastest production car of all time.” The 352 bhp engine was housed under the shapely front hood and provided spectacular performance in both the standing 1/4 mile (13.7s @ 104 mph) and 0-100 mph (12.6s). For comparison with other sports cars, the Daytona reached 0-60 mph in 5.4s. The Aston
Martin Vantage and the Porsche 911 were contemporary cars with similar performance.
The Spyder was a convertible version which was originally made by the Scaglietti house in Modena, Italy prior to the alliance of Ferrari, Pininfarina and Scaglietti. Original Scaglietti Spyders are quite rare, especially in the U.S., and most conversions are performed by custom car companies specializing in exoticar restorations. Berlinetta models were transformed into Spyders by sawing off the roof and remanufacturing the entire rear end. European Auto Restorations in Costa Mesa, California reworked Berlinetta models in 1979 for $15k and delivered a Daytona in three months.
Car design genius Pininfarina was responsible for the sharp, angular lines of the Daytona which was in marked contrast to the rounded shape of vintage Ferraris. The clean aerodynamic lines of the long-nosed Daytona allowed Group 4 racing without major modifications. Spoilers were not used at all. Early models were manufactured with unique Plexiglas fairings which spanned the entire length across the headlights. Later models, designed for the U.S. market, had retractable headlights.
Crockett’s Daytona Spyder was actually a look-alike replica, built using a 1980 Corvette chassis with Ferrari-designed body panels and real Ferrari hardware inside. According to Popular Mechanics, the original replica was “spotted on a lot in Newport Beach by the show’s producer.” Motor Trend magazine, however, claims the two show cars were bought at an auction. Al Mardikian, an auto importer had the two replicas built by Tom McBurnie, but he found himself in legal trouble and the two cars were confiscated by the Feds. The producers in turn purchased the cars from the government.
In 1986, McBurnie Coachcraft and California Custom Coach both offered Daytona Spyder kits for building replicas, and turn-key models built on a Corvette chassis were available for $45k.
By the start of the third season, Ferrari executives were getting miffed that the ersatz Daytona was gathering so much attention. The television audience was unaware that the show cars were fake. The producers intended for the car to be treated as a genuine Ferrari and Crockett never hints that the Daytona is a replica. Given the constructed reality of television, it is no wonder that the fake car was treated as real. In any event, Ferrari North America offered to provide two bona-fide Ferraris for Miami Vice, and they chose their flagship model, the 12-cylinder muscle machine, the Testarossa.
The Testarossa debuted in the 1986 fall season opener as a black version driven by IRA gunrunner Sean Carroon. The exoticar was a fitting image for high rolling terrorists dealing in hand held Stinger missiles. Although the episode credits read “Crockett’s Car Furnished by Ferrari North America”, Sonny was yet to drive his new car.
Michael Mann needed a plot device to introduce the Testarossa, so he had the gunrunners launch a Stinger missile at Crockett’s prized Daytona and blew it up before his very eyes. A month later (the next episode), Lt. Castillo told a still-grieving Crockett to check out back for his new car. Sonny was greeted by a white Testarossa, Florida license plate ATF00M. He proudly recited the specs of his new toy to Rico, “345 hp and 180 mph!” Much like his treatment of women, Sonny soon forgot about his past relationship and eagerly moved on to the new.
Two show cars were provided by Ferrari North America and were originally delivered black, but were later repainted white for better contrast at night. In addition, a stunt car was created by the Roberts Motor Co. by beefing up a 1972 DeTomaso Pantera chassis with salvaged Testarossa body parts. The mid-engined Pantera replicated the Ferrari much closer than the Corvettes which were used to create the Daytona look-alikes.
The Testarossa was the first Ferrari built expressly for the American market. Introduced in late 1984 at the Paris Auto Salon, it was brought to the U.S. in 1985 with a sticker price of $87,000. A waiting list was immediately created, and deliveries were back ordered through 1986.
Rather than follow the traditional Ferrari numbering scheme, this new model was simply known as the “Testarossa” in reference to former Ferraris. Testa Rossa, or “Red Head” (the cam covers were painted a bright red, hence the name) was the original name of the 1956 4-cylinder racers and later used for the 1958 250TR race car which used the trademark V-12
Although it followed the earlier 1984 introduction of the limited production GTO250 model, the Testarossa was designed as the replacement for the 12-year old BB512i Berlinetta Boxer. The new Testarossa included an improved 5-liter Flat-12 Boxer engine and early European models generated 390 bhp, more than enough power to rocket past the 180 mph barrier. A 0-100 kph (0-62 mph) time of 5.8s was the rated acceleration.
The sleek, low profile was enhanced by garish side rakes which were actually aerodynamic vents feeding air to the side mounted radiators. The dividing fins were added to meet specifications precluding the use of open air scoops. The engine was mounted at the rear, and coupled with the side vents created an extremely wide aft body (77.8″). The rear track spanned 65.4″ and sat atop
Goodyear Eagle 255/50VR-16s. The side vents also provided cooling air to the massive 12.2″ disc brakes. A single driver side mirror was positioned high on the front pillar and added an odd, yet striking sense of non-symmetry. The Pininfarina design was either loved or hated by both critics and car designers.
The performance, however, was undeniably superb. The American model top speed was just under 180 mph, 0-60 in 5.3s thanks to a 48-valve, 380 hp 5-liter engine which could propel the Testarossa to 100 mph in 12.2s The 1/4 mile was accomplished in 13.6s, an improvement over the BB512’s 14.2s performance. This bettered the Lamborghini Countach (5.6s), but couldn’t quite out muscle the classic Porsche 911 (5.1s).
Other Ferrari models were woven throughout the various episodes. During his brief marriage to Caitlen Davies, Sonny visited Los Angeles and drove around in a rented Ferrari (probably from Budget Rent-a-Car in Beverly Hills). This Ferrari was a black 308GTB16, the same model (in red) driven by actor Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. One must admire the “sacrifices” he made in the line of duty.
Ferraris are continually sought after by car enthusiasts and investors alike. To buy a new Ferrari, one must pay to be placed on a several-year waiting list. Speculators will often sell their place in line for an outrageous sum, nearly the price of the car itself.
 The Ferrari identification began as the individual cylinder displacement (365 cc) followed by the body style, “GT” – Gran Turismo, and “B” – Berlinetta (Coupe). Later models adopted the engine size/number of cylinders nomenclature, as in the BB512, which stands for Berlinetta Boxer-engine, 5 liter, 12 cylinders.
 A red Daytona Spyder was raced cross country in the movie, “Gumball Rally”.
 Autocar, w/e 19 August 1978.
 352 bhp @ 7500 rpm, and 318 ft-lb torque @ 5500 rpm.
 0-150 mph in 31.5s
 The requisite 400 production models required for Group 4 racing status were built by 1971.
 Popular Mechanics, July 1987.
 Motor Trend, August 1986.
 When Irish Eyes are Crying (1986).
 There is some discussion as to the original sequence of the third season episodes.
 Stone’s War (1986).
 Popular Mechanics, July 1987.
 Road and Track, December 1984.
 The engine can be thought of as two opposing in-line 6-cylinders mounted together at 180o.
 Road and Track, August 1986.
 Motor Trend, March 1988.
 Rock and a Hard Place (1988)