Passionate owners show off Italian masterpieces

Christopher Knaus April 16, 2012

Mark McEwen with his Ferrari 512 TR at Italian Car Day on the lawns of Old Parliament House.

Mark McEwen with his Ferrari 512 TR at Italian Car Day on the lawns of Old Parliament House. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Most men would grudgingly accept socks, ties or handkerchiefs for their 40th birthday. Red Hill resident Mark McEwen got a Ferrari 512 TR.

He was one of hundreds of passionate owners showing off their Italian masterpieces at the Auto Italia festival on the lawns of Old Parliament House yesterday.

Mr McEwen's Ferrari is one of just a dozen in the country, making it a distinctive, eye-catching ride.

''In the 1980s or '90s, any kid that had a poster of a Ferrari, it was typically this car … so I've wanted one ever since I was a kid,'' Mr McEwen said. ''It was a 40th birthday thing, it was a milestone in my life, and I said 'This is the car that I want', and I got one.''

Like many at the festival, Mr McEwen readily admits he is obsessed with his car. The gleaming bodies and immaculate interiors of the rows of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeos, Maseratis and Fiats were testament to the commitment these owners have to their machines. James Hodge, who had his black Lamborghini Gallardo on show, likes to share his passion.

Mr Hodge, also from Red Hill, has no problems letting children climb into the car for photos.

He even has a booster seat on the passenger side for his two-year-old daughter Hayley, and regularly uses the $500,000 machine to take her to and from childcare.

''I'm not a big fan of the whole park it and put a sign on that says 'Please don't touch','' Mr Hodge said.

''When I was a kid, I would have loved to have the chance to run around and look at some of these cars, so it's the least I can do to come and share it with them.

''You think about what you can do with it, you can't drive it flat out on the road, you can't drive it the way it's intended, it's not practical, you can't drive it every day.

''But you can share it with people and they enjoy it, and I reckon that's half the fun.''

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