Passion

One man, seven V12 Ferraris

One man, seven V12 Ferraris

Peter Holloway owns a unique collection of Ferraris: seven V12 GT cars, each with a manual gearbox and its engine in the front. Just as Enzo intended, he says
Words

Richard Aucock

“From the very beginning, Ferrari was famed for its V12 engines. It was Enzo Ferrari’s logic from the start – sell something unique”. Like many Ferraristi, Peter Holloway is in love with the Ferrari V12 engine. “It’s all about the purity: I believe this is what a Ferrari should be. There’s nothing else like the power and torque delivery of a V12, and I don’t think anything sounds as beautiful”. Particularly if that sound is controlled by a manual gear lever.

So committed is Peter to his passion, he has assembled a unique collection to celebrate the Ferrari V12: seven front-engined, manual GT cars, representing every era from the very beginning of Ferrari, right up to the millennium. 

Peter's 250 GT Coupe is called Ellie, in honour of the place 'she' was built in, Carrozzeria Ellena <em>Photo: Harry Grindrod</em>
Peter's 250 GT Coupe is called Ellie, in honour of the place 'she' was built in, Carrozzeria Ellena Photo: Harry Grindrod

“I have owned a Ferrari since 1980; I bought a 308 GT4 Dino, which I drove for more than 25 years. But it wasn’t until 2006 that a long-held curiosity got the better of me. I test-drove a 575 Superamerica. And my goodness, it was fabulous. It did everything I expected a V12 would do. It simply felt right”. Peter bought that car on the spot. His collection had begun.

“The point of the set is for each car to represent its era”, he explains. And where else to start, but with the 166? “Without this car’s success, there would be no Ferrari”. Peter’s car is actually the very first Ferrari sold in the UK (and the ninth Ferrari ever made), further enhancing its provenance. However, as with all his cars, this does not put him off using it. “I consider myself the custodian of these cars. I don’t think that I should hide them away, so I’m very active with the cars – and if this means I get mud on the carpets or dirt on the bodywork, then so be it. I’ve even taken Lizzie shopping, with granny in the back”.

Yes, Lizzie: Peter names all his cars. “Bessie, the 575, was the first. I actually used her as my commuter car between Norfolk and London for many years. That’s why she has a higher mileage than most, and I loved every minute”.

It was when he retired in 2014 that Peter started to build the collection. “Ellie is the 250 GT Coupé - Ellena. She took two years to buy, but was worth the wait". One of just 50 cars built by Carrozzeria Ellena, Peter’s car is among less than 20 remaining. He remembers taking Ellie to CarFest, a big UK festival organised by Ferrari fan and celebrity Chris Evans. “When he saw us, he gave us a big thumbs up!”.

Silvie is Peter’s beautiful 1968 365 GTC. Ferrari made 150 in total, and this is the 26th car built. Like Ellie, Silvie spent a large proportion of her life in the United States, which is why she is in such immaculate condition, despite not being restored. And representing the 1970s is Poppie, a 365 GTB/4, more commonly referred to as 'Daytona'.

"She has already been in several magazine features, of which I’m very proud. The Daytona was the first Ferrari I really fell in love with, back in the early 70s. Seeing one on the road led to me buying the Dino in 1980”.

The beautiful 250 GT Ellena Coupé, a rare collectable which Peter drives regularly <em>Photo: Harry Grindrod</em>
The beautiful 250 GT Ellena Coupé, a rare collectable which Peter drives regularly Photo: Harry Grindrod

The final two cars acquired by Peter were a 1980s 412 GT and 1990s 456 GT. “I am proud to own the 412, as it was the model Enzo Ferrari chose to be driven in during his later years. The 456 GT was its replacement, and I find it a very deceptive car – a true gentleman’s express. It is a full four-seater that’s also capable of nearly 190 mph”.

Their names? Wedgie refers to the 412’s distinctive profile, although Ginnie isn’t a portmanteau of ‘GT’ but, “on my partners’ suggestion, named after the drink ‘gin and tonic’ – G&T”. Peter is immensely proud of his V12 Ferrari collection. “I recently thought of the perfect name for the collection: ‘Twelveolution’. Such is the connection I now have to each one, I think it’s a collection that’s definitely here to stay”.

 

Ferrari