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Cars
07/02/2018

Jon Hunt, avid driver of Ferraris

The real estate entrepreneur pushes his cars hard, as they know in Maranello

True Ferraristi prefer not to keep their beloved cars hidden away in a garage; they drive them whenever they can. UK property entrepreneur Jon Hunt - recognised as one of the world's great Prancing Horse collectors - regularly takes his contemporary and historic Ferraris on long-distance road trips, more often than not to Maranello, where he picks up the latest addition to his collection.

 

Hunt, who made an estimated €400 million fortune when he sold his Foxton's residential real-estate agency in 2007, is not your usual car owner. His first Ferrari wasn't the more typical mid-engined V8, but the front-engined 456 GT V12. "I'd already had four children by then, so at least I could get two of them in the back," he jokes.

Hunt gives the 288 Evo a quick clean-up  Photo: Dean Smith

Hunt replaced that car with a 275 GTB/4. "I bought it in pieces," he recalls, explaining that he found the chassis in Scotland and the engine "somewhere else". All-in-all, it took him three years to assemble it.  "Then I started buying the odd car. They happened to be mostly Ferraris." Hunt came to call his collection "the Rembrandt cars". At its peak it included a very rare Ferrari 410, a 250 GT 14-louvre Tour de France, a 250 GT SWB Competizione and a 250 GTO.

 

He has fond memories of his earlier cars, in particular the GTO, which was unrestored: "It probably had seven different types of red paint on it. It still had the corduroy carpets. It was mechanically brilliant, but it was a million miles from concours. And it was fantastic," he says. He loved its drivability: "The GTO is a very easy car to drive," he enthuses. "You can feel why it did so well in competition. It is incredibly easy to handle."

On the road to Alassio, through tunnels  Photo: Dean Smith

Hunt says the family found they couldn't use the "Rembrandt cars" the way they wanted to - as road cars - so about eight years ago he opted to sell the collection. But that was not the end of the story. Soon after, Hunt and his sons - one an accomplished rally driver - started a new collection, this time very much based on vehicles that could be driven much more often. "We only wanted road cars, not race cars, because we want to drive them on the road... [Of] course the collection isn't just Ferraris, but the vast majority are. That's just how it is," Hunt says.

 

Hunt - who as a schoolboy collected stamps - says he's not even sure precisely how many cars are in his collection. He thinks he has about 30 overall and says he will probably close the collection at 40. But there are still some 'holes' in the collection. "I haven't got the F50 GT... If one came up I'd probably pay a good price for it because that's the one I'm missing," he admits.

Jon Hunt's collection of Cavallino supercars  Photo: Dean Smith

For Hunt the point of owning a Ferrari is driving it. And drive them he certainly does: his F40 has clocked up some 100,000 km and his Enzo has covered an impressive 60,000 km. His road trips are considered legendary among Ferrari enthusiasts. He once took the Enzo on a 2,500 km journey, stopping only for petrol. "It doesn't have a radio, but do you need anything else to listen to?" Another example: When Hunt collected his LaFerrari and then his LaFerrari Aperta direct from the factory, he and his sons and their friends drove all the way to Maranello.

 

When his group arrived - at 11 o'clock at night - one of the directors was waiting for them and took them all to dinner. "This just wouldn't happen at another car company," he says. "I love the passion of the people at Ferrari. That's what really gets me going."