The Story Behind the Only Ferrari Testarossa Convertible Ever

Italian executives, absurdity, and the height of excess.

Artcurial Auction

Gianni Agnelli was everything you’d want the Chairman of an Italian car company to be. A style icon, one who’d been shot in a dive bar by a Nazi officer during an argument over a girl; an international playboy who raced yachts with John F. Kennedy; and, of course, the heir to Italy’s largest company. Agnelli brought Fiat into the modern era. He also amassed a truly breathtaking amount of debt.

Agnelli was the grandson of Fiat founder, and he worked at the company all his life. Early on, he’d been a dedicated Ferrari fan, signing a deal in 1969 that gave Enzo a piece of the company. Agnelli ultimately brought Lancia, Maserati and Alfa Romeo into the fold, too; by the late Eighties, he controlled almost the entire Italian auto industry.

Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images

But Ferrari, even more than Fiat, was his true love. There’s little doubt that his passion for style steered Maranello, the company’s designs becoming increasingly flamboyant during the Seventies and Eighties, culminating in the Testarossa. There was never any question that Agnelli would own one.

And if Agnelli, the ultimate Italian businessman, was going to have the ultimate Ferrari, it wasn’t going to be stock. No, the factory would build a one-off for him, a convertible. It’d be finished in silver (Ag on the periodic table, for his initials) and have a blue interior, with blue rocker panel, bumper striping and sill moldings to match. Oh, and a white roof, to complete the “V-12 EEE-width Italian shoe” look he was presumably going for.

Ferrari

So that’s exactly the Testarossa that Agnelli had the factory build for him.

Artcurial has this absurd one-off, the only factory-built Testarossa convertible in history, consigned to their February auction in Paris. Estimate? Between $750k and $1 million. It’s a ludicrously impractical car. Also: totally Eighties, and a bucket of fun. I can’t imagine how creaky and flaky it must be without a roof. But that’s the price you pay when you want to roll Agnelli-style.