There is no car that can do everything well, even if there are a few great all-rounders out there. This was a constant concern for me when I lived in Aberdeen; I would want a sports car for making the most of the open roads in the summer but would require a 4x4 to help me survive the winter. I could only have one car practically-speaking so I ended up changing more often than I would have liked.
There is the experiential side of things to consider as well, something that is probably exacerbated by reading too many car magazines in my case. I don't always want to drive the same car, in the same way that I don't want to eat the same thing every day, or wear the same style clothes every day. It's boring. If you like cars and you like driving then you want to have different experiences and will probably appreciate that a given car might be more fun (or practical) in a given situation.
For example, I would love to have a Renaultsport Clio as I know that they are great fun on normal roads and on track, and I have fond memories of driving them. Having seen a Caterham scythe through the countryside at the classic car rally in Scotland the other week, and knowing how highly they are rated by the motoring press, I can't help but want to have one of those at hand as well. Of course a capable and luxurious car that is capable of sprited and comfortable driving on a jaunt to the south of France would be great; maybe a Bentley Brooklands or even the unloved Ferrari 612 Scaglietti.
It is no surprise then that wealthy people often have a number of cars; after all, they have the money and the space to own multiple cars of their choosing. However, what does surprise me is that many people take such formulaic and obvious choices as to what to buy. It's a matter of taste at the end of the day but I would always prefer a more eclectic mix; something that takes in old and new and has a focus on the fun of driving. I've become quite attracted to the idea of modern classics lately, not least for the benefits that they offer in avoiding any kind of depreciation - something that you think would appeal to people astute enough to make themselves lots of money.
To be fair, you get a bit spoilt living in central London. The latest Ferraris and Aston Martins are all over the place so it becomes a greater novelty when someone tells me that they have a Lotus Esprit or a classic Porsche 911. These cars stand out and give you the impression that the owner really put some thought into the purchase, even if value was a primary consideration.
I recently attended a charity garden party knowing that the host would be displaying his cars on the lawn but not knowing quite what to expect. I wasn’t sure whether he was a wealthy guy that simply liked having a few nice cars or a true enthusiast with a well-considered collection. In the past he had owned a Ferrari F430 and an Aston Martin Vanquish but that was all I knew, so I was pleasantly surprised to see that this guy is a pretty serious collector.
The first thing you saw was a row of motorsport cars, all Ferraris, some GT cars and then two F1 cars which had been driven by Alain Prost and Rubens Barrichello. The Ferrari theme continued with the road cars, with two 550 Barchettas (one left-hand drive which is being shipped off to California), a 599 and an F40. There were even two Jaguar XJ220s, one for the road and one motorsport derivative, alongside a couple of vintage Jaguars and a Honda NSX. However, there was one car that really stood out - the Ferrari FXX.
There were only 29 of these track-only cars sold to Ferrari's most loyal customers (and one made for Michael Schumacher), at a cost of €1.5m plus taxes each. The cars were based on the Ferrari Enzo but utilised F1 technology much more heavily. 'Client Test Drivers' would take part in a series of track events over three continents over the course of two years, supported by Ferrari engineers, technicians and test drivers, as to gather data that would help develop future 'extreme GT cars'. Delivering 800bhp from its 6.3 litre V12 engine (or 860bhp with the Evoluzione upgrade that was developed based upon the initial two-year programme), a gearshift time of 80ms (60ms in Evoluzione form), and bespoke Bridgestone tyres and Brembo brakes it must be unbelievable to drive; it certainly looks like it as you can hear here.
As far as I'm concerned, a guy that owns one of these is truly passionate about cars. It is certainly a connoisseur's choice.