Ricci's Garage: buying a lot of cars doesn't make you a car collector | Top Gear
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Wednesday 4th October
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Ricci's Garage: buying a lot of cars doesn't make you a car collector

Mark's eclectic garage is a result of... a number of things that seem to change regularly, actually

Published: 29 May 2023

Internationally renowned photographer Mark has been working with TG for many, many years. When not taking photos he’s buying inappropriate cars. Here he shares his addiction with the world…

Recently I received a message on Instagram which read “Are you a photographer or a car collector?” and while I have quite a thick skin – both physically and mentally – it triggered me.

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The legitimacy of Vicky_Z9913’s profile is up for debate. There are many CashApp mentions, a bio stating ‘entrepreneur’ and a duplicate account named Lena_LS63 tagged in each post. Red flags aside, it did make me question what on earth am I doing with the cars I currently own.

I don’t really like the term collector, not when referring to cars. And that could be down to the culture surrounding this behaviour in recent years, with some individuals using it as a means of just showcasing their wealth or (trying) to gain some form of social following. Don’t get me wrong, there are some fantastic collections out there – and individuals – but I’d argue they tend to move in silence rather than shout at every opportunity.

It also depends on what exactly you’re collecting. If I meet someone who has a samurai sword bought during a trip to Japan, that’s an interesting topic of discussion. But if I meet someone who has an entire collection of blades, daggers, and other life ending equipment, that’s someone I want to stay as far away from as possible.

To be deemed a collector assumes you have some kind of plan or foresight into the objects you’re collecting. And that’s very admirable, but it’s also something I annoyingly lack. There are many cars I’d like to own, and if I won the pools I’d fill a barn full of sub-£10k snotters, but I couldn’t tell you what any of those would be yet.

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Because what I want from a car seems to change on a daily basis. It’s influenced by WhatsApp chats, eBay listings and everything in-between. Like the fact there’s a 1992 Lexus GS in LL Cool J’s ‘Loungin’ music video – which was suggested to me on YouTube – and a quick search shows they’re as little as £2k now for a nat-asp one. Lot of car for the money, isn’t it? And there lies the problem – there’s no foresight to my garage, just an impulse to buy anything that looks interesting and doesn’t cost more than what’s in my bank account at the time.

So no, Vicky_Z9913 from a Shanghai bot farm, I’m not a car collector. Even if that was a message just to sell me your CashApp scheme, it’s not working today. Admittedly, two months ago I did say I really wanted to find a Pajero Wagon... which I’ve now found and bought in the past 24 hours. Although it is a project in need of work and badged a Shogun, so it’s still somewhat impulsive. But just because I’ve acted like a car collector in this instance doesn’t mean I’m about to wear driving gloves and start a podcast, so providing I buy nothing else for a few months can we agree that I’m just a photographer with a (very) unhealthy hobby instead?

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