What Makes a Car “Cool?” – Kazuki Ohashi’s 1989 Ferrari Testarossa

-March 15, 2017-

What Makes a Car “Cool?” – Kazuki Ohashi’s 1989 Ferrari Testarossa

Mike Burroughs

What makes a car "cool?" It's a worthwhile question, but I'm rather confident it's one that doesn't have a precise answer. From style and prowess to performance and power, from concepts and ideas, to creative executions... every car we deem special is so because of its defining characteristics, both conceptual and real. A "cool" car is often more than the sum of its parts - it's an amalgam of the pieces which comprise it, and the ideas bestowed within it - be those concepts major or not. When I first saw Kazuki Ohashi's 1989 Ferrari Testarossa, it was pretty evident: it's a cool car.

That initial feeling, however, was met with internal conflict. I could clearly rationalize why I appreciated the Ferrari: to me, its a shining example of embracing style over every other aspect - even common sense, in a way. Kazuki's build may very easily be the execution of a rather nice vision, without regard to prestige, provenance, and performance. It could be the idea of "This will look good, and I will do it, even if goes against convention." And frankly, most important of all, the result looks good. Performance degradation and heresy aside, this Testarossa a real joy to look at.

On the other hand, however, I was met with the reactions of the car world at large. Kazuki's build spread like wildfire within minutes of hitting social media, and with it followed a blazing trail of comments, positive and negative. Present more often than not, though, was a permeating sense of pride from followers - pride that the car was upsetting others. For them, Kazuki's car was less about the car itself, and more about some made-up perceived value in "pissing off the haters."

From there, I questioned Kazuki's motives for the build: is it simply his take and his style put to work on an '80s Ferrari? Or is it fueled by a desire piss everyone off as a result of "ruining a Ferrari?" I bounced back and forth, before reaching the conclusion that for me, it didn't matter. I'd rather assume the former, and live in blissful ignorance.

It's easy to see why Kazuki's Testarossa has caused a stir. As Testarossa prices hover around $150,000, it's no cheap car. And while there are plenty of more expensive cars in our community, it is a member of the prancing horse family - perhaps the most heralded marque of them all. Emblazoned in bright red paint, it's as "Ferrari" as they come... and this one in particular happens to be laying flat on the ground. Air suspension gives the car practicality, and the 18/19" double-staggered wheels offer a perfectly OEM+ flair. Despite the good looks, it's quite opposite what most believe the supercoupe is meant to do. On the other hand, I'd rather see this than yet another Ferrari parked behind a garage door as a permanent fixture.

There's a valuable, yet tough to define difference between executing an idea that goes against the grain, with the inherent result of upsetting the community, and executing an idea because it upsets community. One has value as an expression, with a cause and effect - the other attempts to earn its merit on effect alone. While I speak for no one but myself, I feel there's absolutely no value in the latter. If one's sole intent is to push buttons and cause a bit of disruption, the value of the build is shallow and quickly fleeting. We much prefer a build that has been executed to realize the owner's personal dreams rather than a build that serves no other purpose than ruffling feathers in a search for attention.

So it begs the question, what makes Kazuki Ohashi's Ferrari Testarossa cool to you? Is it because it has left a wake of discontent commenters behind it? Or is it because, despite the discontent it has caused, Kazuki followed his vision and built a good-looking car? For me, it's the latter, and I hope you'll agree. But one thing I think is inarguable... It's one cool Ferrari.



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Comments on What Makes a Car “Cool?” – Kazuki Ohashi’s 1989 Ferrari Testarossa

  • Michael Burroughs

    Sorry for our comment downtime folks – and apologies it’s so late for an article that could yield some great discussion. We hope to hear your thoughts here on our new comment platform!

  • Tyler

    Awesome article guys, always enjoy these!

  • Deniss Fedotovs

    Somehow I don’t think it’s cool. It’s definitely worse than it was from factory. Any stance doesn’t make any car cool by itself, stance still must be tasteful and match the car to be cool. Here I see nice car and I see stance which is so ridiculous that it ruins the car instead of making it cooler.

    “On the other hand, I’d rather see this than yet another Ferrari parked behind a garage door as a permanent fixture.” Maybe you had seen too many Ferraris parked around if you don’t appreciate them anymore. Or I had seen too much “stance” on cars these days, that I don’t appreciate it anymore.

    I know I will not be in majority on this site with my opinion, but I still want to leave it here. Different opinions makes people think.

  • Antti Eskeli

    It is cool alright… And it hits my personal taste like nothing else. I know it is a rare classic and “should” not be hassled with but wouldn’t that make the whole car enthusiasm thing boring? Great easy article, great car and a great vision from Mr. Ohashi. Thanks guys! That rear shot is pure desktop material.

  • Eno Bull

    It’s definitely a cool car! I definitely like it and I have since I first saw it on IG. I mean seriously, what’s not to like? Air suspension? 3 piece split wheels? Ferrari!? Yes please!

    I can understand why people feel it’s “Ruining a Car” but when it’s all said and done I feel everyone is entitled to build their car how they feel. Kudos to Kazuki!

  • Caleb

    I think viewing the rationality of the car with two mindsets doesn’t do justice to the fact that part of its coolness could come from the fact that its a “ruined” Ferrari. Basically, both mindsets you mentioned attribute to the awesomeness of the car.

  • K Steele Striebel

    Hey Deniss,
    I agree with you. My friend has this exact model car and I feel the same way about the stance. Stance is too much for this car. Feel the car is over tired also. Thanks, K. Steele

  • JakeThePeasant

    The thing is: the car is on air.
    It’s not like it’s static and going around rubbing holes through the floor pan. The touch of a button and the car is back to standard ride height.
    The wheels are great and I’m sure most would agree whereas the stance is debatable – but air solves most arguments against the low height anyway.

  • Classicollector


  • Martin

    Actually I really like this car, because it’s like showing a middle finger to all of those Ferrari collectors. It’s his car and he can do whatever he wants with it. Like it or not, he’s kind of a rebel and that’s what I love the most. Ok, I would not make those changes on a classic 60s Ferrari, but the Testarossa is not that rare. Nice car!

  • Jaime

    If the rear wheels sat just like the front ones, it would be magnificent.

    As it is, it’s just awful.

  • Knut Baardsen

    Beautiful car, but in this case – destroyed by negative camber obsession!

  • Kev025

    I’m surprised at the amount of people who don’t like what was done. Is it because it’s a classic Ferrari?. I think if bringing a car like this up to todays look is possible then do it! This car looks so much better than the original. Shedding the “Miami Vice look” was the best thing for this car. Man I just can’t stop staring. Air works when engineered correctly and doesn’t tarnish the sacred Ferrari status. I am definitely not against keeping classics in original form as they should be but how many of this model are “preserved” in garages or showroom collections. They were built to run hard and fast and this one looks as mean as heck and if it’s driven daily and shown more power to the owner!

  • Ricardo Fonseca

    Nice wheels, nice car. Very stupid stance! Not cool, not cool at all.

  • Mike Burroughs

    That subtle difference changes it from “magnificent” to “awful?” That’s impressive. You’re very, very, very selective.

  • Gerald77

    Agreed with that. It’s a cool car yes, but to be honest these slammed and stanced cars are getting really overplayed and redundant and are totally losing interest. They are everywhere, and I honestly don’t see why this one would piss off purists? It calls for indifference if anything. Plus honestly thinking a car is cool only because it pisses someone else is… totally childish and stupid. Come on guys, a 14 years old kid does think that way and does silly stuff to piss off his parents. But when grown up guys do that it’s just ridiculous. Not to mention yeah it’s low… when it’s parked and static, so it’s a bit absurd to complain about Ferraris being permanent fixtures when you have one here that’s only cool when static. And that’s just my personal opinion, but stance does not look great on all cars and on this one it does look quite ugly.

  • Gerald77

    ^ That being said though, only money was hurt in the process ;) If the builder likes it that way and can afford it, then that’s good. To each their own.

  • gan

    Love it. If you think this stance is ridiculous you clearly have not seen the extremes. I think this is tasteful and beautiful compared to a lot of the DIY garbage out there.

  • Moses

    I just think it looks really cool

  • evil-G-nius

    Love this! It is very unconventional for a Ferrari…but it works!

  • Bomb Blonzo

    Let the hating begin, i would rather see no more than 1 1/2 to 2 degrees of neg camber max, BUT, i still like the way it looks alot. Ride height doesn’t bother me at all since its adjustable, not a fan of extreme static drop.

  • Ricardo Fonseca

    I see everything and this stance remains stupid.

  • Ricard Lopez

    I wonder what Enzo would think.

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