Nick’s Boogie

Pink Floyd’s Nick Mason talks about his collection, his love of Ferrari and the dark side of the 275 GTB/4.

September 2, 2011
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Nick Mason, now 67, found fame and fortune as co-founder and drummer of the iconic rock band Pink Floyd. While it would be hard to find someone who hasn’t heard his music, even die-hard fans might not know about his other life-long passions: Nick Mason is both a racer, with five entries in the 24 Hours of Le Mans to his credit, and a tifosi.

He currently has eight Ferraris, including a 250 GTO he has owned for nearly 40 years, a Sebring-winning 512 S and an ex-Gilles Villeneuve 312 T3 Grand Prix car. There are many other marques represented as well, ranging from a 1901 Panhard B1 to a 1935 Aston Martin Ulster (his first race car), from a 1957 Maserati 250F to a 1983 Tyrrell 011, and to modern supercars such as a McLaren F1 GTR and an Alfa Romeo 8C.

“There’s certainly a competition element running through the collection, particularly the sports GT cars,” says Mason. “The rest are just cars that I always wanted to race myself, which is why there are cars like the Birdcage Maserati, Bugatti T35B and so on. Some cars have history, some don’t, some came ready to roll and some took five years to build. I have always liked the thing of using the cars myself.”

Mason thinks his love for Ferrari came from watching the Prancing Horses race at Goodwood when he was a kid. “They had that magic, they just seemed so special and just that much more exotic than Jaguar or Aston Martin or any of the others,” he remembers. “Years later, at Goodwood, I remember seeing something like a ’64 GTO, and I looked in the back and saw some luggage and realized that someone actually had this car and used it. I thought, ‘What sort of life is that, and how do you get there?’ I just couldn’t quite connect how one ever got to the point where you had one of these cars and drove it.”

He also likely picked up a few motoring genes from his equally enthusiastic father, Bill, who was a vintage-car competitor and motoring film maker for Shell. In the latter guise, the elder Mason rode shotgun in a Ferrari 166 in the 1953 Mille Miglia, movie camera in hand.

The son went a different route, studying to become an architect. Then, in 1963, Mason and classmate Roger Waters heard about someone wanting to put together a band.

“I had been playing the drums since I was 13 or 14, and Roger played guitar,” says Mason. “So we put this band together just to do one thing, but ended up doing something else.”

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