Chances are that anyone who’s reading this had available to them at least some kind of ride-on car toy when they were young. We say “available,” because often these toys were and are expensive—even some pedal- and kick-powered cars from decades past cost the equivalent of a few hundred bucks today. But the ultimate, at least for kids growing up in the later half of the 20th century and on, would be a powered ride-on toy. Power Wheels are just so common, though, and who wants just any faceless go-kart? No, the pinnacle of kid transportation has to be a lifelike, miniature re-creation of the hottest cars on sale—like this Ferrari Testarossa Junior.
If you were a kid in 1987, and one of these glinted at you from a parking spot near the Christmas tree, consider us jealous. Indeed, a mini Ferrari with all the bells and whistles surely is one of the most decadent children’s toys ever. Sold by Agostini toys, an Italian company, the Testarossa Junior came with a radio, functioning pop-up headlights (!), radial tires, and a real Momo steering wheel. The rear disc brakes were hydraulic, and a Briggs & Stratton gas engine sat beneath the rear deck. Power levels varied—we’ve seen 8 hp listed in some places, 11 in others—but what counts is that this roughly 2/3-scale Ferrari was capable of serious (scale) speed. Rich kids could whip it up to 30 mph.
Richie Rich would sit in real leather chairs, working the rack and pinion steering via that hot Momo wheel, and probably feel like a total boss. The little Ferrari had a four-corner double wishbone suspension, forward and reverse gears, and a racy tube frame chassis with fiberglass bodywork. Even the wheels are lifelike Ferrari five-spokers, cast from aluminum.
The era in which this Ferrari Testarossa Junior was offered was chock full of absurd miniature re-creations, many of which were still available well into the ’90s. Agostini appears to have also offered a Ferrari 308, Porsche 911, and Lamborghini Countach of similar quality. This author remembers lusting after an R129 Mercedes-Benz SL in an F.A.O. Schwartz catalog, as well as a Land Rover Range Rover go-kart in the same publication. The Testarossa Junior was offered for sale in the same forums, said to have landed in both the F.A.O. and Neiman Marcus catalogs; three appear to have been sold through Harrods of London, too. All were sold at insane prices—like close to $50,000 crazy—and occasionally today they come up for auction (like this one at a since-passed Bonhams sale) and sell for even more. Okay, so maybe a Power Wheels Jeep ain’t the worst thing in the world … especially since it probably won’t bankrupt your family.
Photos courtesy of Bonhams.