Gallery: inside Nick Mason’s toybox
We catch up with legendary Pink Floyd drummer and his rather wonderful car collection...
Posted: 04 May 2012
In a top secret shed hidden on the dark side of the moon, there's a man quietly surveying a very splendid collection of cars. His name's Nick Mason. He's the drummer from Pink Floyd. And the man bleeds 98 RON.
"Mechanical things are just... brilliant," says Nick, gently tapping on a Ferrari that falls closely to hand. "You can fettle and tune and take them apart - but in my case I usually have to get someone else to put them back together again. Then the little adjustments you make turn into tangible things like faster laps and higher top speeds. I'm very grateful to have a passion for cars."
There ‘s categorically no denying the man's enthusiasm. - it's palpable and infectious. Even more palpable when he's surrounded by the cream of his 40-strong car collection, which includes a McLaren F1 GTR, Bugatti Type 35, Birdcage Maserati, 512 Ferrari, and a...
"1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. It's the most important car here. It's raced every year of its life, and you can still drive it to the supermarket. But my favourite driver is the Maserati birdcage. I've never had a hairy moment in it - even if you get it out of shape you can collect it," says Nick.
"I've had some dramas in that, though" he says, pointing a finger towards his Ferrari 512 S. "They got the power right, but they hadn't quite mastered the downforce... It was used in the filming of Le Mans, the film by Steve McQueen, and it was accidentally set on fire before getting restored. It's had an interesting life.
"And so has this one," he says, ambling towards an ex-Carrera Panamericana 1953 Ferrari 250 MM Berlinetta racer. "I'm taking it on its first road rally soon. I'm only going to Cornwall though - not quite sure it's ready for Mexican roads just yet."
Shimmying between the McLaren, Nick nods at an utterly beautiful and almost priceless Type 35 Bugatti. "This is a great little thing. It's faster through the corners at Silverstone than a Porsche  GT3." Which sounds utterly terrifying. And considerably quicker than Nick's first car. "I bought an Austin Seven Chummy - it taught me a lot about mechanics. Well, how not to do it. I didn't understand tapping [threads], so I repaired the cylinder head using Araldite. Terrible, really...
"My first band-paycheque car was a Lotus Elan. It was a new car at the time, but I bought it second hand. Its numberplate was 21PF, which seemed very appropriate.
"I've always liked cars with racing in mind," says Nick, looking over a Ferrari FF, which has joined his collection for the day to showcase its JBL Professional sound system.
"My idea of in-car entertainment's a racing helmet and a set of Nomex underwear." Which begs the question - when's he joining Jeremy at Dunsfold? "Top Gear's great - I even lent Jeremy my Ferrari Enzo once. But I won't go on, just in case. If I was lining up for a race and someone reminded me that I was slower than a celebrity chef and a comedian it would be bad for my morale..."
Pictures: Rowan Horncastle