Perhaps the most fun you can have with an electric motor, glorious attention to detail
Far from cheap, anyone over 6ft 4 might be disappointed
What is it?
It’s a Scaglietti-bodied Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa – perhaps one of the most beautiful V12-engined racing cars of all time and technically a four-time winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans – although the absence of exhaust pipes (and the fact that this thing is 25 per cent smaller than it should be) will tell you that all is not as it first seems…
In fact, this is a Testa Rossa J, built by The Little Car Company at Bicester Heritage in Oxfordshire under full licence from Ferrari itself. They’re not easy to impress over in Maranello, so that’s a fairly large seal of approval.
What is The Little Car Company?
You’ll know TLCC from their Bugatti Baby and Aston Martin DB5 Junior creations. You can even have a James Bond-spec DB5 now with fake gatling guns behind the headlights, changeable numberplates and a smoke screen/oil dispenser. Yes please.
Bond’s DB5 will set you back £90,000 plus tax and the Testa Rossa J starts at €93,000, so neither is what you’d call cheap. Then again, TLCC buyers are likely to have an original Bugatti Type 35, an Aston DB5 or a 250 Testa Rossa in their collection already. That means this will either sit as a piece of art to reflect the same spec as the original, or it’ll be offered to kids, teenagers and untrustworthy guests who might otherwise prang a priceless classic. Every TLCC car is completely hand built and exceptionally finished, too. You can see where the money is spent.
Tell me more about this particular car…
Well, Ferrari itself has been heavily involved with the development of the Testa Rossa J. The Classiche department supplied The Little Car Company with original design drawings, so the tubular chassis has been faithfully reproduced at 75 per cent scale. Centro Stile then helped to design the two-person seat, and both the paint and the leather is the same as Ferrari uses on its current crop of road cars.
The badges are shipped straight from Italy too, and the pedals are lifted from a 488 Pista. Nice. Heck, even the suspension and final setup was signed off by actual Ferrari test drivers. We’re told they enjoyed the Testa Rossa J as much as we did…
It’s also worth noting that the all-aluminium body is hand-beaten into shape, using the same techniques deployed by Scaglietti in the late 1950s. In fact, it’s done to such a high standard that one of the first buyers has specced theirs without any paint at all.
What are the specs, then?
Big news up top: the Testa Rossa J is an EV. Yep, Ferrari’s first all-electric car (no seriously, you get real Ferrari chassis plates) is a teeny 16bhp replica racer. Who saw that one coming?
There are some serious names in the list of parts suppliers too. The springs are from Eibach, the dampers from Bilstein and the brakes are Brembo units nicked from a Ducati.
How big actually is it?
Very good question. Despite the name of the company, we’d almost forgotten to mention measurements. The Testa Rossa J is 3.1 metres long, 1.1 meters wide and just 70cm tall. For context, that makes it a little longer but slightly narrower than a Citroen Ami. Cute!
What's the verdict?
There are two little nuggets of info that should help us convey just how brilliant The Little Car Company’s Ferrari Testa Rossa J is. The first is that, despite working on this project throughout the pandemic, when the prototype was sent off to Ferrari for approval, the only real request that came back was for the TLCC badges to be removed. That’s how highly Maranello rated it.
There’s no parody to the Testa Rossa J and nothing fake about it. It pays homage to one of the greatest racing cars ever made by looking utterly fantastic and being a joy to drive. Plus, you can do as many miles as you like free in the knowledge that you’re not harming the environment or your investment in a ridiculously expensive classic.
And that leads us nicely on to our second point. The development car that you see above has just ticked over 3,000km (1,864 miles). You wouldn’t ever want to get out of it.