If there’s one thing you can count on in Cape Town, it’s a breathtaking sunset. It’s also the only time you can drive a black Ferrari Testarossa on a hot summer day, so join us as we attempt to outrun the sun in search of the best view the city has to offer.
It’s mid-afternoon driving down Rhodes Drive in my less-than-exciting MK7 Golf, but luckily that communal or garden hatchback isn’t what I’ll be pointing my lens at today. today. As I pulled off the street, I just spotted an all-black Ferrari Testarossa pulling into a parking spot with a familiar face behind the wheel. In Aaron’s footsteps which you may remember from our 996 GT3 RS article from earlier in the year. He is not only the caretaker of this car, but also the man responsible for introducing the Deus brand to South Africa, which is not by chance our starting point today.
Located in Hout Bay, Deus Cafe is more than just a place to grab a croissant and a coffee. “We brought the Deus brand to South Africa from Australia in 2015 and launched this site just before COVID hit in 2019,” Aaron tells me as we stroll through the many rooms inside the old Dutch building. “Deus is a lifestyle brand incorporating motorcycles, cars, surfg, cycling, art and of course the restaurant and bar, bakery and hair salon here in Hout Bay.” The interior is an eclectic mix of art, antique furniture and endurance bikes, all giving the place a distinctly cool and relaxed atmosphere, making it the perfect starting or ending point for a good behavior.
Aaron is clearly ahead of me on this front: “We do the Parking Lot d’Elegance here, usually themed around a specific country or manufacturer. We can accommodate around 30 cars which creates a great atmosphere, and we also do a special menu around the event – we have just hired a fantastic new chef so our evening business has exploded! As much as I’d like to stay and laze around Deus Cafe until evening, there’s a Testarossa waiting outside and a sunset to catch, so I suggest we hit the road.
With Aaron in the Testarossa ahead of us, soaking up the sunlight like a black hole shaped like a rolling door stopper, it immediately strikes me that my ten-year-old Golf isn’t exactly left in the dust. Obviously, though, Aaron hadn’t put his foot down yet, because as soon as we reached the bend for Ou Kaapse Weg and a relatively straight piece of tarmac, the Ferrari disappeared down the road – incredibly fast, I thought, for a car it’s push 40. Steenberg Mountains ridge, we stop in a parking lot dust bowl for some beauty shots.
Although the heat isn’t quite as searing as the day we shot the Porsche down, the high winds quickly highlight one of the challenges of owning a black car in South Africa. Turns out the mirror finish, fresh from the detailing booth, does a fantastic job of magnetizing dust, quickly giving the Ferrari a matte finish. I don’t want to dwell too long on the paint, but the sight of a black car in South Africa is almost as startling as the Testarossa itself – generally darker hues turn your car into a mobile oven under the African sun in moments. minutes. “You have to choose your days, hey!” Aaron laughs. “The air conditioning is great, but it can’t extract as much heat, so it’s not the one I tend to drive in the middle of summer.”
On our way through Constantia, we stop at a traffic light, where I stand in disbelief as a group of cyclists arrive in a swarm of thumbs up – signaling their approval of the Testarossa. Above all, the most striking conclusion of the day is how literally everyone we meet seems delighted at the sight of the Ferrari. Much like Aaron’s GT3 RS, this ’80s supercar has managed to shrug off all pretensions with age. Unlike the frosty reception a dubiously acquired acid yellow Urus or McLaren might receive, the Ferrari is greeted with nothing but smiles as we drive through Cape Town.
This warm welcome only seems to build as you approach the colorful streets of Bo Kaap. Here, one of the Testarossa’s flaws is highlighted, as we quickly realize that this ’80s Ferrari wasn’t built with the narrow lanes of Signal Hill in mind. As I try to help Aaron navigate the maze of one-way roads, he admits that the Testarossa isn’t the most frequently driven thing in the garage. “I drive it about once a month, it’s probably the most intimidating of all my cars as the visibility isn’t the best and neither is the steering at low speeds. Getting out of the garage takes the most effort, and it’s a bit difficult for me, but it’s also the most rewarding.Meanwhile, the slow progress through Bo Kaap has given the local Rugrats enough time to get their BMX team together and rally around the Ferrari More than anyone else, these youngsters light up at the sight of the Testarossa and quickly assume the role of bodyguard, escorting us to the nearest main road.
Back on the highway and with the Sun sinking towards the ocean, we aim north, continuing towards Blaauwberg and what promises to be one hell of a view. As the Ferrari’s 180-degree V12 gallops in, I ask Aaron how he came to own such an immaculate example. “I’ve had it for about 5 years,” he recalls, “I saw it in a collection, and the guy who owned it was changing gears to Porsche, so I actually traded three cars for it !” A 3.2 Carrera, a 930 Turbo and a convertible from the same period. It was at the height of the Porsche craze, and I was buying them cheap, so it was a good deal for me.” As for what drew Aaron to the Testarossa in the first place, I probably could have guessed the answer: “I’m 47, so I’m from the exact era of the Testarossa and the Countach. I had both on my wall as a child so it’s a dream to own today – it’s the iconic Ferrari of that era.
The Table Mountain-esque backside of Testarossa almost completely distracts me from the task at hand as we approach our destination, but the sight of dozens of cars parked along Blaauwberg beach brings me back to reality – clearly finding amazing views of Table Mountain might be harder than expected. Luckily, Aaron’s local knowledge points us to the perfect spot – a completely empty parking lot by the water.
With swarms of kitesurfers fluttering in the high winds and the sun beginning to kiss the horizon, Aaron and I enjoy a view that could have been ripped straight from the posters in his childhood bedroom. Sometimes a car is just right for its surroundings, and while I had my doubts about the functionality of the classic black Ferrari in the South African heat, there’s no denying that a Testarossa by the sea at sunset, no matter where you are in the world, looks just right.
Photos and lyrics by Mikey Snelgar © 2022