At one of South Africa’s most prized private Ferrari collections, the owner guides us through his passionate affair with the Prancing Horse.

Hidden away in the sugarcane fields south of Durban, I’m shown inside a building which appears a bit dilapidated from the outside. The inside is the exact opposite; a sea of red greets me.

A separate building houses this collector’s (who requested anonymity) limited-edition models and arguably one of the largest horde of Ferrari model cars in the country. As the owner tells me, “Once a Ferrari enters through these doors, it never leaves.”

The interior of the main garage has been designed to resemble a quintessential Italian street; cars are parked on either side, windows and house details are painted on the walls and genuine street lamps add to the character. There is even a pizza kitchen where friends and family gather to watch Formula One races.

The collectable Ferraris stand out but the collection also has less popular models. The owner explains: “I became enamoured with Ferrari as a youngster and, for some reason, the brand became etched in my mind,” he says. “I had a poster of a Testarossa in my bedroom and, to this very day, its look and appeal are unique and very special for me.”

His first car was far removed from these supercars: it was a modest white Toyota panel van which he soon resprayed red. He eventually had the means to buy his first Ferrari, a 348tb, in 2004. Soon after, he bought his first limited-edition model, an F430 Scuderia. “We talk about how people become addicted to alcohol and gambling, but I have to confess that, while I’m certainly addicted to cars, I’m obsessed with Ferraris.”

One of the first cars he shows me is a 308 GT4. It initially caused a great deal of controversy when the manufacturer chose to sell it badged as a Dino and not as a Ferrari. The collector loves it. “It has a tight cockpit and I think it handles really well. It sits close to the ground and is great fun to drive. I found it in a small town in the Western Cape. I promptly bought it and it required only minor restoration work. I had the interior retrimmed in its original dark blue and attended to some paintwork to restore it to its former glory.

“These Ferraris were relatively affordable and easy to find but that’s all changed, especially in South Africa. Their value and collectability have definitely increased considerably.”

The tb isn’t the only 348 in this collection; just as he has both coupé and Spider versions of the Mondial, he’s also since bought a 348 Spider, which is something of a rarity in these parts. “I believe mine is one of only two right-hand-drive 348 Spiders in South Africa,” he says. “The F430 Scuderia was my first limited-edition Ferrari and quite a jump in terms of performance compared with the 348. I’d had it for a number of years before I drove it on Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit in Johannesburg and finally realised its capabilities.

“It’s well suited to a track and really comes into its own. You tend to underestimate this car if you drive it only on the road, although I have taken it to Johannesburg and back several times. I love that Michael Schumacher had some input in its development and it certainly feels more manageable and easier to handle on the track than my 599 GTO. The gear changes are fluid and lightning-quick, which really enhances the on-track experience.”

This collection is continuously evolving because there is a love for other brands, too, but that’s a story for another day.

The collector

Based in KwaZulu-Natal, the owner of this collection runs a successful business he started. His family lives on his parents’ original property and they share his passion for Ferraris; after hours, the running of the collection is a communal affair.