Car people tend to love fine mechanical watches, and watch enthusiasts equally seem to appreciate cars. It’s just A Thing: Great cars and great watches go hand in hand. It makes sense, as watches, like cars, have engines—and cars, like watches, are about design, craftsmanship, metallurgy, and the value of compelling brands.
David S. K. Lee is a keen connoisseur of both, and has gone so far as to blend his passions together. Professionally, the affable, self-made, 50-year-old Hong Kong native owns two elegant watch salons in his adopted home of Southern California. His Hing Wa Lee Jewelers (named for his father, a master gem cutter) stocks nearly 40 high-end brands: Rolex, IWC, Audemars Piguet, Breitling, Tudor, Chopard, and the rest of the best.
In his spare time, Lee does cars. He’s launched his own version of the Cars & Coffee-style breakfast cruise dubbed Cars & Chronos, which takes place the third Sunday of every month at one of his stores, and he’s a committed Ferrari collector. How committed? For starters, he’s one of the lucky few to own the “cinquefecta” of Ferrari supercars: a 288 GTO, an F40, an F50, an Enzo, and a LaFerrari coupe. (Of the five, “the 288 GTO is number one for me,” says Lee. “The twin-turbo V8 is so powerful and strong, plus it’s so handsome. I love the design and what the car represents in Ferrari model history.”)
As a car-loving youth, Lee lusted after a Lamborghini, and like so many had a big Countach poster hanging in his bedroom. However, his first exotic was an F355 Spider, which set his Ferrari heart to beating. The F355 launched a small tidal wave of hot cars rolling through his garage. He next purchased a Lamborghini, but a Diablo instead of a Countach. (He loved the Diablo’s hairy-chested V12 and thrilling performance, but was disappointed with its poor build quality and finicky nature, particularly the constant “Christmas Tree” light show of yellow, green, and red warning lights always flashing on the dash.) Lee then sampled a Porsche Carrera GT, and finally purchased his first big-game Ferrari: the aforementioned Enzo.
Along the way, Lee struck up a friendship and business relationship with Los Angeles car guru Andy Cohen. Cohen has become Lee’s muse in terms of what to buy, sell, and collect. Together, the pair put together the Ferrari super-car collection, then moved onto vintage models. Lee’s first classic cavallino was a spectacularly original 275 GTS, and in 2015 he acquired the yellow 250 GT Lusso (s/n 5847GT) shown here.
THE PININFARINA-DESIGNED LUSSO has long been hailed as one of the most elegant Ferraris ever, and it’s easy to understand why. It’s beautifully proportioned, with an airy greenhouse and slim window pillars, and features beautiful detailing with just enough chrome and brightwork to make things pop. The model was conceived as a fast and elegant Gran Turismo, but that didn’t keep various owners from hopping up, racing, and rallying their Lussos.
S/n 5847 certainly hasn’t remained stock over the years. Originally silver and equipped much like most other Lussos, it did leave the factory as one of two (at most) equipped with an ammeter instead of a clock inside. The Ferrari’s more significant changes came in the early 2000s, when it was owned by Willem Kroon of the Netherlands [“Lovely Lusso,” FORZA #96]. The Ferrari had already been painted a dazzling Giallo Fly, a rare and unusual color on a Lusso, and since it needed substantial mechanical freshening it got a performance rebuild of the original powertrain. The front and rear suspension, brakes, steering and ancillary systems were also attended to, while Tripmaster rally clocks, competition bucket seats, four-point racing harnesses, and a racing-style aluminum fuel tank were installed.