x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Among his fleet, Pink Floyd's Nick Mason has a favourite in the 1962 GTO

Stars and Cars The drummer, and author of a book on classic cars, may have forgotten how many vehicles he owns but some of them have fantastic stories.

Nick Mason has lost track of how many cars he owns. Christophe Ena / AP
Nick Mason has lost track of how many cars he owns. Christophe Ena / AP

"I buy with my heart, not my head," says Nick Mason when discussing his remarkable cavalcade of classic cars.

The former Pink Floyd drummer has amassed a fortune estimated at about Dh316 million from his musical career and, judging by the array of cars he's collected and their price tags, much of those earnings have been spent on automobiles.

It's almost impossible to know where to start; in fact, he's lost track of how many cars he owns. But, for Mason, there is one that stands out above all the rest: his 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, one of only 39 ever built and a car estimated to be worth, even in this more austere age, something in the region of Dh90 million.

"For me, the GTO is the ultimate car, as it does everything," he says. "It's almost like two cars in one - a touring car and a racing car.

"So you can just tootle around in it all day, belt it around a racetrack or else going rallying off on some adventure in it.

"It's also visually stunning; what's not to like? It rather eclipses everything else in the collection."

That's not to say that he doesn't have a soft spot for his other cars. In fact, he has recently published a book, Passion for Speed, detailing all the cars that he owns.

Other standout contenders to rival the 250 GTO are the Maserati Tipo 61 Birdcage - in fact, he has two after what he calls "a bit of a mix-up by buying a second" - and the Frazer Nash Le Mans Replica.

Most of his cars boast a remarkable history. He has a Model T Ford with just two previous owners, both of them with a background on the silver screen. "The first owner was Senate Studios and it was basically one of the Laurel and Hardy cars complete with collapsible doors and the like," he says. "The subsequent owner, would you believe, was Coco the Clown."

The majority of his other cars are infinitely more serious. There is a 1937 Bugatti T25, which burns alcohol, the spectacular Maserati 250F 1957 Grand Prix car, which was driven by the legendary Juan Manuel Fangio, among others, and also the Ferrari 312T3 in which the Canadian F1 driver, Gilles Villeneuve, won his home grand prix in 1978.

Mason has a soft spot for Formula One and tries to tune in to every race on the calendar.

"I absolutely love F1 and also the endurance racing," said Mason, who has, in the past, competed in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

He was on the startline at the prestigious endurance race on five occasions between 1979 and 1984, what he describes as a lifetime ambition. "I actually finished my first Le Mans," he recalls. "I think we were 18th overall and it sort of went downhill from there. We finished the following year but I also have three DNFs to my name."

Predictably, there is a nod to Le Mans in his garage, the eye-catching pink Porsche 962 as well as a 1930s Aston Martin that competed in the legendary event.

But there are some that have come about by simple swaps, notably his McLaren F1 car. "I had an IndyCar that [McLaren chairman] Ron Dennis wanted, so we did a straight swap," says Mason. "I was pretty happy with the deal and so was Ron."

It would seem that, for Mason, his love of cars came even before his love of music, and he lays the blame of what he calls "a bug" on his father's head.

"Motoring and motorsport is a bit of a bug and, once you're bitten, there's no escape. That was certainly the case with me. We were a car family and my dad loved cars.

"I was brought up on the smell of car fumes, of making an Aston 7 work, of tinkering with tools in the garage and of watching him race a vintage Bentley. What's not to love? It's no surprise I became infatuated."

He has passed on that motoring passion to his four children and, at the age of 67, is looking to increase rather than reduce his already vast car collection.

"A love of cars, of buying them and driving them, is not something you can switch off," he concludes.

Nick Mason's Passion for Speed, published by Carlton, is available at amazon.com.