Building Classic & Supercar Collections, Where DO you Start?
My task: To build a Classic & Supercar collection to rival the best in the World and the infrastructure to be able to correctly manage each car.
Where to Start?... Purchasing the first car of course!... and what better car to start with the 1st real supercar and arguably still the most beautiful the Lamborghini Miura, in this case the SV. Ok we now have the car to source, not just any car but a $1m+ car to start with (in 2008). I better not get this wrong!
How to source such a car? With no contacts or idea! A connection to my F1 past came to light. The collection owner had built the first F1 circuit in the Middle East (Bahrain international circuit) and was in the process of building Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. In doing so had dealings with a British F1 World Champion from the 1960’s & 70’s who was working as a consultant to the circuit owners. From this connection we were put in touch with an swiss based but British classic car dealer who had been sourcing cars for the rich and famous around the world for many years, A Muira expert (supposedly) ….Perfect! Said dealer just so happened to know of a Miura SV that had just been restored in the US (more on the US restoration later). This was not just any Miura SV, this was 1st owned by the Shah of Iran, giving the car excellent provenance. History tells that the Shar & his wife personally visited the factory to Spec the car (as normal it was the wife that actually chose the colors). Once we had looked at the history a price was quickly agreed for the car subject to inspection, the dealer claimed to have inspected the car with a nice invoice & good report coming back to prove it, contracts where duly signed, and the car paid for. Within 2 weeks the Miura SV was looking amazing in the collection if not lonely at this point, however!
Problems!! With the Muira sitting in the newly built collection building on a nice shiny tiled floor it was easy to spot fluid that had found its way out of car (normal for an old car some would say), within less then a day we had a nice pool of oil under the engine, Great!!! After you had just paid a large bill from the dealer for the pleasure of them to inspect the car - Lesson number 1: NEVER have a dealer inspect a car or take their world that a car is mechanically sound, very few dealers have any mechanical knowledge at all!! From that day forward part of my job was traveling wherever in the World to inspect and report on any cars of interest, we therefore never had this issue again. I now offer inspection services though CLASSIC HANGAR, piece of mind before you buy! The Muira with its V12 engine basically has the same engine gearbox layout as a classic Mini with the gearbox under the engine and with this shares the same issues with oil leaking from where the gear selector shaft goes into the gearbox. With no Lamborghini specialist in the Middle East and a dealer with no clue at all and little in the way of facilities at the time it, I replaced the rouge seal that to this day is still good, welcome to the world of classic Supercars!
Back to the US Restoration. A few years after we purchased the car, the Lamborgini legend Valentino Balboni paid a visit to the collection, paying particular attention to the Muira of course. Without me saying a word he turned to me not looking very happy and said” Americans!!, they cannot restore Lamborghinis” then proceeded by spending the next five minutes pointing out all the incorrect bits on the car. Over the next weeks / months I then non Americanised the car bringing it back to how it would have left the factory (just one extra was left however, the built in fire system for very good reasons)! As Muira history shows they like to catch fire due to the fuel line running above the exhaust manifold.
Valentino saw the car again last year, this time I am happy to say, he was very happy… and so was I!