James "Sonny" Crockett drove a white 1986 Ferrari Testarossa, following the destruction of his Daytona Spyder by Stinger missile fired by Eddie Kaye. The Testarossa was given to him by Castillo in "Stone's War".
The presence of a genuine Ferrari on Miami Vice is much-lauded after the car's introduction, and in the latter three seasons closeup shots of the vehicle's interior, badging and especially its manual gearbox in action are common.
As with the Daytona before it, the Testarossa was the focus of the action in several popular music scenes in the show, including:
- "Crockett's Theme" -- Crockett first sets eyes on his new car in "Stone's War".
- "When the Rain Comes Down" -- being chased across Miami by government thugs, also in "Stone's War".
- "Don't Need a Gun" -- evading Mafia henchmen in a spectacular chase in "Down for the Count (Part II)".
- "Anything" -- chasing The Savage in "Duty and Honor".
- "The Edge of Town" -- Crockett driving through the night before his confrontation with Milton Glantz in "Death and the Lady".
- "Madness of It All" -- Crockett driving through the night while thinking over the video dating killer case.
- "Dangerous Game" -- racing across Miami to save Gina before she is killed in "Blood & Roses".
- "In the Air Tonight" -- chasing Enrique Morca-Mendez in "A Bullet for Crockett"
- "Bad Attitude" -- on the way to the final confrontation with General Borbon in "Freefall", mirroring the "In the Air Tonight" scene from the pilot.
After his Daytona was destroyed, Crockett was forced to use far less exotic vehicles to conduct his undercover work, a move that he felt was seriously detrimental to his producing results. His continual complaining to Castillo eventually led to the Lieutenant handing over a new vehicle more befitting of Crockett's high-rolling drug dealer personality in "Stone's War". He later taught his son Billy to drive in the car, as seen in "Child's Play".
At the end of the series, after quitting the force and handing in most of his property due to it being owned by OCB, Crockett drives Tubbs to the airport in his "stolen car" so that his partner can return to New York -- although knowing Crockett's honest personality, it's unlikely he actually considered keeping the car for himself.
While the Testarossa was introduced solely because Enzo Ferrari was outraged that a Corvette was being used to portray a Daytona, mocked-up vehicles were still used on the show even after the Testarossa's introduction, largely due to the high cost of the real Ferraris ($181,000 in 1986, compared to some $35,000 for the McBurnie Daytona Spyders used previously). As a result, a DeTomaso Pantera with a Testarossa body kit was built by Carl Roberts, the man who had acquired the two replica Daytonas after their removal from the show. This Pantera replica was used for much of the stunt driving scenes or whenever there was a risk of wrecking the real car. There was also a defect with genuine Testarossas that caused them to stall when executing high speed spins, and the use of the Pantera allowed producers to bypass this. The modified DeTomaso Pantera can be distinguished from the bona fide Testarossas in several scenes by its higher ride height, different wheels and the visible seams on its body panels.
The Pantera stunt car had several further additions beyond those involved in making it look like an authentic Testarossa, including:
- A nitrous oxide system for quick takeoffs
- A rollbar for safety
- An aftermarket racing radiator to deal with the humid Miami air
- An enlarged large carbuerator
- A special brake wired to a separate brake booster that could lock both rear wheels, mainly for the purpose of performing impressive-looking spins. This action was used most notably in the episode "Down for the Count (Part II)".
- Notably, the Testarossa was the only one of the six vehicles Crockett drove as part of his undercover work that was not painted black -- his Porsche 911 Targa, Ferrari Daytona convertible, Ferrari 512 Berlinetta Boxer, Chevrolet Apache, and the Ferrari 328 GTS he rented while in Los Angeles, were all black. Crockett is also seen closing the driver's door of a yellow Corvette C4 in "Victims of Circumstance" having apparently driven to a meet with several suspects, but he is never actually seen driving it.
- Crockett's Testarossa appears as the "Cheetah" sportscar (and also its undercover police variant) in the video games Grand Theft Auto: Vice City and Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories, both of which were heavily inspired by Miami Vice and can be seen as homages to the show. Furthermore, when the player achieves a three-star wanted level or above in the games, they will be chased by undercover Cheetahs being driven by two casually dressed undercover cops, one Caucasian and one African-American. The Cheetah they drive is often coloured white, and features the tan interior of the car used on the show.
- Although never implicitly stated in the show, it is possible that Crockett's Testarossa is in fact Bunny Berrigan's from "When Irish Eyes Are Crying" resprayed white. This makes sense as Berrigan was killed shortly before Crockett takes possession of his new car, plus Crockett mentions that the car has "new paint" when taking delivery in "Stone's War".
- In reality, the above is in fact true as the same car was used to portray both Crockett's and Berrigan's cars. Crockett's Testarossa was originally intended to be black like Berrigan's, but producers decided it did not show up well in night scenes. Furthermore, one of the black cars was crashed before filming began, and during the course of repairs the decision was made to paint both cars white.