1986 Ferrari Testarossa Straman Conversion

Five Speed Manual
Re-imagined and converted by Richard Straman at R. Straman Classic Automobile Restoration and Coachworks
Fresh major service by Norwood Italia





Model Variant

Testarossa Straman Conversion

Current Mileage

10,024 miles



Engine capacity

4.9 liter, Tipo F113, Flat 12 cylinder / 350BHP

exterior color


Interior color



Five Speed Manual

Top speed



Leonardo Fioravanti, Ian Cameron, Guido Campoli, Emanuele Nicosia, Diego Ottina at Pininfarina. Re-imagined and converted by Richard Straman at R. Straman Classic Automobile Restoration and Coachworks

Years produced

1984 - 1992

Total production


More details

Perhaps one of Ferrari’s most recognizable production models was the Testarossa (literally translated “Red Head” for its famously red colored valve head covers) an homage to the famous 1957 World Sportscar Championship winning 250 GT Testaroassas which solidified Ferrari as a premier sports car manufacturer.

The Pininfarina designed Testarossa was dramatic, long and wide, with a 4.9 liter V12 mid-engine and became theflagship of the Ferrari brand from 1984 until 1996 under different guises (Testarossa, 512TR and 512M) but staying true to its original wedge shaped design which served as the basis for other models to follow, particularly its smaller V8 engined brothers the 348 and 355.

The Testarossa made its public debut at the 1984 Paris Auto Show and immediately reset the design standards for V12 sports cars across the segment, a two-door coupe with mid-mounted engine and gear box out the back keeping the center of gravity near the middle of the car,five speed manual transmission in the familiar Ferrari gated shifter, the signature straked door mounted air intakes and, of course, well just look at them, they’re simply magnificent cars which have wonderful presence and remain a Ferrari icon to this day; everything a Ferrari should be, dramatic, low slung and 12 cylinders.

Richard Straman Coachworks
Richard Straman’s R. Straman Classic Automobile Restoration & Coachworks was a custom conversion specialist shop located in Newport Beach, California. The company hit its stride during the 80s and was best known as a Daytona and Testarossa Spider Conversion specialist. However, Straman also did custom coupe to convertible conversions on other Ferraris such as 275 GTB/4, 365 GT 2+2, 512 BB, 400i, a supercharged 456 (which was used as his personal car) and 550 Maranello among others.

Straman also did conversions on popular sporty coupes for other brands, notably Dodge Stealth R/T, Mercedes-Benz SEC, Nissan 300SX, BMW 740i, Rolls Royce Silver Spirit and Volkswagen Beetle. The quality of Straman’s conversions was exceptional and very difficult to differentiate between his conversions and original factory examples. Thus, there were plenty of takers locally and from around the world that desired the wind in their hair driving down the Pacific Coast Highway or on the Riviera at the time willing to plunk down their money on Straman’s conversions which developed a cult-like following.

In 1981 Straman, a master restorer and metalworker, ripped the top off one of Chevrolet’s hot-selling Camaro sports coupes and, with parts engineered and fabricated in his shop in Newport Beach, turned it into a convertible. Straman, an auto designer by trade, had done a few Ferrari conversions for enthusiasts since opening his shop in 1969. He started working on a domestic conversion soon after Cadillac dropped the Eldorado.

“When Detroit got out of the business,” he said, “I knew it was time for me to get in.” Straman told the Los Angeles Times in 1998. Because a coupe’s frame and body can get awfullyflexible when the stiffening effect of an integral steel roof is lost, Stramanfirst had tofigure out how to reinforce the cars he was converting.

“People think it’s just a matter of cutting off the top and putting on a canvas one. But, it’s not that simple. Half the work is in re-engineering the structure so the resulting convertible is a safe, drivable car”. Straman assured customers that in terms of fit, finish and structural rigidity, his crew’s work held up to factory standards.

Straman was best known for his great Daytona and Testarossa conversions however. Since he never kept records (or at least kept them out of public view) the best estimates were that he converted some 100 Daytonas and thirty Testarossa coupes to Spiders but we may never know the exact numbers.

Straman’s adventures with Volkswagen Beetle conversions landed him in the crosshairs of the German brand as he was actually producing Beetle convertibles before the company which didn’t go down well back in Wolfsburg. Legal shenanigans ensued which threatened to shutter Straman’s shop but that’s a story for another day.

According to accounts, around or about 1999 or 2000, Straman had shut down his operation, jumped on a yacht called Astor and set sail for an around the world trip. Having stepped away from his public life, Straman enjoys time on his yacht and still resides in Southern California.

0479 History
Spider conversion completed in 1990, offered by Walnut Creek Ferrari. Red with black leather. Straman conversion. 2,200 miles. Display ad only (FML 1502). Seen Aug 1994 at the Blackhawk Collection, Danville, CA/USA. For sale. Red with black leather. (GLR). 1995 offered by Blackhawk. Red with tan leather. 1986 Tools and books. 2,600 miles. Straman conversion. (FML 2002).

Offered Jan 2004 at RM Auction, Scottsdale, AZ. Lot No. 52.
November 2013 inquiry placed by Michael Barber, New York, NY/USA –
Dec 2013 Purchased by Michael Barber, New York, NY.
March 2014 offered by Barber. Commissioned by Blackhawk Museum founder Ken Behring and converted by Straman in 1990. Fully sorted high mounted mirror cabriolet. All engine services less than 18 months ago. All records and CarFAX intact, no accidents, no rust, California car. Beautiful. 9,500 miles. (FML 3907).
May 2014 offered by Autosport Designs, Long Island, NY/USA. Red with black interior. Black top, single mirror. Straman conversion commissioned by Ken Behring, founder of the Blackhawk Museum and on display in the museum prior to being sold to a Southern California owner where it spent most of its time to date. Recent major engine out service, in superb and in ready to use condition. 9,500 miles. (FML 3911).
Oct 2014 per Tom Papadopoulos at Autosport Designs, car sold to Miami, FL
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