The 1980s really were a high point in car design. During that decade several wild automotive shapes appeared, from the garden variety Ford Sierra and Citroen XM all the way up to the Lancia 037 and possibly the wildest versions of the Lamborghini Countach, like the LP500 S, the LP5000 QV and of course the last of the Countach breed, the 25th Anniversary. But that other Italian car maker also had the 80s firmly by its hair and kept pulling till the bleach blond extensions started going to shreds. When the Ferrari Testarossa was first unveiled in 1984, the world gasped at its sheer width, awe inspiring look and of course at its magnificent 4.9 L. flat 12. Everyone was just waiting for a convertible Testarossa, it was the next logical thing to do with this mad wedge supercar; the next attack on Lamborghini's insanity. But a convertible, or to stay Italian, Barchetta variant was never officially released, with only one official Testarossa Barchetta made for Fiat godfather, Gianni Agnelli. But in 1989, Ferrari gave the 80s one final kick to the stomach with the Mythos concept car, effectively the Testarossa Barchetta everyone wanted but with the insanity dial turned all the way up to 11. Let me explain.
The Mythos was designed to be a testament to what Ferrari's designs where going to look like in the future. Designed by Pininfarina, it was a clear view into the future of the prancing horse, and while there are certain hints of the Mythos on the 456 GT that was released in the early 90s, what Ferrari made was basically the ultimate Testarossa, aside from the Koenig specials of course. It was sleeker and more rounded than the actual Testarossa but most importantly it was a Barchetta. It was shortened by six inches, lowered by three and was five inches wider than the car it was based on. Like the garden variety Testarossa wasn't wide enough...
But the Mythos wasn't just a Testarossa dressed in a nice dinner jacket. It also had some pretty radical technology for its time. For example, the front overhang could be raised by as much as 30 centimeters to allow for more downforce at any given time, while a retractable and rotating panel at the front allowed for even better use of the rushing air that hit the already very slippery body. While no official review or test of the Mythos was conducted, it's safe to say that the 4.9 L. Testarossa-derived flat-12 that sat in the rear, could have been used at its fullest in it. Makes you wonder why they never actually made the Mythos.
Actually, that's a lie. Apparently a certain individual ordered two Mythos, a red and a turquoise one. That individual was none other than the Sultan of Brunei, known for his outstanding and actually reality bending collection of cars. No one knows if the cars were ever made or delivered, but there's no way it would have been cheap for the Sultan to have them made. Goes to show that money really can bring you anything, even unattainable Ferraris.
The Ferrari Mythos then is exactly what its name suggests. A legend. Something that was made for the sole reason of wowing everyone and then quietly disappearing back into the shadows that gave birth to it. It was indeed the very definition of a concept car, but it was the right car for Ferrari to leave the 80s and enter the new era of the 90s, where it innovated and created more strongly than ever. A true automotive hero then, even if it's forgotten most of the time..
So what do you think of the Ferrari Mythos? Share your opinion in the comments!