Collector shows off his Ferraris

FABULOUS FERRARIS: Two of collector David Lee's eight Ferraris - a 1990 F40 (left) and a 1995 Ferrari F50.
FABULOUS FERRARIS: Two of collector David Lee's eight Ferraris - a 1990 F40 (left) and a 1995 Ferrari F50.

Standing next to his five brilliant red supercars, David Lee is the perfect example of how Ferrari's unrivaled racing history translates into sales.

The Los Angeles-based businessman got into car collecting several years ago, and soon a Ferrari Enzo, Porsche Carrera GT and Lamborghini Diablo VT 6.0 graced his garage. He then sought out a classic car and became smitten with what the Ferrari brand stood for.

''I really fell in love with the passion of the Ferraris and the heritage and everything about the racing history,'' Lee said during Monterey Car Week in California.

''And there's the investment value of these cars that's so strong. So I sold my Porsche and sold the Lamborghini, and I started buying only Ferraris.''

Lee now owns eight of the prancing horse exotics. Some are classics from the 1960s, like a 275 GTB Short Nose and a 330 GTS. Others are Ferrari supercars from the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.

Lee has what many people consider the first supercar, the Ferrari 288 GTO, and its four successors: the exceptionally rare 288 GTO Evoluzione, the F40, the F50 and the Enzo.

Lee's daily drive is a Ferrari FF, though he says he takes the others out every weekend. ''Every one is a different feeling,'' Lee said.

The only one that he hasn't driven hard is the Evolutione. Lee has only owned it for a few months, and it's not street legal. There are only six in existence, built by Ferrari in the 1980s to comply with racing regulations. But after several drivers died in competition, the series was cancelled before Ferrari could race these GTO Evoluziones.

''To have this special one, this really was the icing on the cake,'' Lee said.

With a lightweight Kevlar and carbon fibre body, the car weighs just around 1000kg, or about half your average crossover SUV. A twin-turbocharged V8 puts out 650 horsepower.

''And it's the coolest thing to look at,'' Lee said smiling.

Forced to pick a favourite though, Lee says it would have to be the 288 GTO.

''Like a lot of people, it was the car that really stuck with me the most as a kid," he said. "And it was the hardest one for me to get.''

-MCT/Los Angeles Times