Mike Salomon built a man cave and started filling it with cars. The sportscar enthusiast kindly opened the doors to his collection...
We caught up with Mike early one morning before he headed to work in his 2016 Alfa Romeo 4C. His garage is spotless and all the cars are perfectly reverse parked. It’s a welcome sight.
Early in our conversation, Mike sums up his approach to car collecting: “I buy only cars I’m absolutely in love with. It all started as a teenager when I found my first car, a Volkswagen Golf. I did a lot of things to it; some I am proud of, others not so much.
“While studying finance and accounting, I managed to convince my dad to do a straight swap of my Golf for a 1968 911 S Targa. Unlike today, nobody wanted these old cars. I decided I wanted to go racing, so I traded in the Targa for a 911 SC and converted it to a racecar.
“Then, I got a 1973 Carrera RS replica. At varsity I started reading about cars and I bought a book, Porsche 911 Story by Paul Frère. After reading it, I knew what I wanted and that included 911s.”
Of his current 11 cars, Mike has owned a 1981 Ferrari 308 GTSi the longest. “This is the injection model, the least desirable 308 with the lowest power. In my opinion, there is not that much difference in power when you drive the modern carb and injection models. I adore this car and I even have the original delivery slip. It was handed over to a buyer in Düsseldorf in Germany on 7 July 1981.” Three years ago, Mike took a 1 600 km road trip in the Ferrari for the summer holiday. He drove it from Johannesburg to Cape Town, roof off, in 37 °C heat...
A 1995 Lamborghini Diablo VT is the true supercar in this collection. It’s fitted with a Tubi exhaust and the front driving shafts are no longer in place, so it is similar to an SV’s setup.
“I don’t drive cars for other people. I’m a true enthusiast and don’t care what people think. Some people have preconceptions when they see you in certain types of cars.” This doesn’t bother Mike at all, as he drives the cars for the experience they offer, not the image they portray.
There are no fewer than three Porsches in the collection: a 1981 930 Turbo, a 2000 911 GT3 Comfort and a 1970 911 2.2 E. “I will never sell any of them but my favourite is the 911 E. Mainly because it is such a genuine sportscar offering the most undiluted, pure driving experience. You couldn’t live with it every day – it can’t be your only car – but to me it is the perfect driver’s car and beautifully designed with clean, simple lines.”
Mike drives his cars regularly but that doesn’t mean he is not pedantic about maintenance. “They all have to go on the track at some time; it is one of my favourite places to properly experience these cars. I’m fanatical about warming up a vehicle before driving it hard. I think this practice along with regular driving, combined with preventative maintenance, is what keeps these things on the road.”
He was involved in the design of his man cave, a project that was finished in early 2018. On one wall leading up the stairs, visitors have signed their names, while memorabilia and photos depict various anecdotes of motoring-related trips over the years. Mike is always keen to invite friends over after hours to talk cars and acknowledges he has been fortunate to never have had to sell a single car since 2006.
Accountant Mike Salomon’s day job includes running a successful clothing business. He often scours the classifieds and discusses future purchases with friends. He has plans to add memorabilia to the cave, as well as installing lifts for possible additions to the collection.