In the end, he was in the US for a decade and, while still Ferrari-less, owned several superbikes and a Mercedes-Benz 280SE 4.5-litre … a specification of the W116 S class that we didn’t get and which was unique to the US market. “Man, that thing used to take off. If the fuel tank was close to empty it would spin the wheels between gear changes,” chuckles Brian. “There was one night on Sunset Boulevard when I was coming home at 2am and two kids in RX7s tried to dice me off the lights but I left them standing.”
Back in Cape Town, Brian got his performance fix from a succession of superbikes including an Aprilia 1000 that he raced at Killarney for a season to mark his 50th birthday. “I won Class B one day which was my best achievement with a 1.21.1 lap which felt pretty good! I spent most of my life on motorcycles because I realised early on that you could get Ferrari performance for very little money.”
On the classic front he enjoyed driving a 1968 Rolls-Royce Drophead (or Corniche as the model was later known) “It was a lovely one-previous-owner car but it was horrendously heavy on fuel. I took it to George Car Show one year and even with gentle cruising it did 22 litres per 100km!” Brian also struggled with the sheer size of the car in the narrow streets of Sea Point and he wanted something more manageable. Ideally something Italian and carb-fed. “From a purely mechanical point of view, Italian cars are just so well balanced – the gear ratios are always spot on. And there’s a certain charm about them.” This time a 1750GTV Alfa on sale up in Polokwane fitted the bill and Brian had it extensively worked on once it was back in Cape Town.
But he still hankered after something with the Cavallino badge. “Over the years I agonised about buying a Ferrari 308 but you don’t know the history and don’t know the problems.” He eventually opted for something more contemporary: a 430 coupé but it left him underwhelmed. “I was never really into it and it was expensive to run. I used to say it was the quickest way to burn a R1 000 worth of fuel,” muses Brian, who had to stomach some eye-watering bills. “A month after I bought it the clutch went and it was R95 000 to fix it.”