Chapter Nine: The Ferrari 360 Spider – and creating a new magazine!

(An Experience Report from 2010, my age 32)

If you had asked 8-year-old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, “an author / writer” was the answer. When one of my school friends left to go to another school in the Juniors, we became pen pals, I would make little booklets full of mini stories and she would do the same back to me. Hers were always better than my stories I thought, but never-the-less I kept at it and I always really enjoyed it.

A few years later, the dream job changed to “work with computers”, which ultimately became my career, but I always loved to write, I just didn’t have an outlet. With the arrival of the Porsches in my life, and then the experience day from the previous chapter, I wrote about those on a few forums and these ramblings were pretty well received. Those positive responses gave me the dopamine encouragement to keep going, I just needed more things to write about.

Then, not long after purchasing my Cayman, I spotted a local drive out being put together for owners of supercars and I managed to get myself an invite in the Cayman. That first meet “Supercar Sunday” was utterly mind blowing. I’d never seen so many Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches and a variety of other sports and supercars all together at the same time. The cars were all there to be driven, no trophy queens here and we all headed out to the peak district. It was an awesome experience.

And so, I wrote about it.

I did the same with the next few events, which were by then a collaboration of two different organisers joining together under the name “Supercar Driver”. After the third event, Rich, the co-founder of this club took my event writeup and turned it into a fully laid out article and put it onto the homepage of his website. It was this that turned the idea that I had floating around in my head into a fully-fledged plan of action: I wanted to create a magazine for this club.

It would be printed, not digital, because I love tangible magazines and books, and to make a printed magazine takes effort and commitment – this would be a showcase for the club. The ethos would be that it was about the members, for the members and only ever to feature articles that we thought would be interesting to its core readership – and by utilising both of these things we’d ultimately have a huge supply of content. That was the sales pitch that I put to the club founders, Rich and Adam. They loved the idea and it was a pretty simple deal “If you can make it happen, you’re in!”

What would ultimately become the first cover-shot

I don’t think I’ve EVER been this motivated in all my life. It was a tremendously exciting opportunity that had landed at just the right time. I had no idea how to create a magazine, but that was just a minor hurdle in my mind. I WAS going to do it! I could write pretty well, and I had IT skills, capable of turning my hand to pretty much anything on the computer in the past when required. Between Adam, Rich and I, we came up with article ideas. We also asked members to contribute, which they did and they were great write-ups. I also wanted a really strong feature for the first edition, the 458 was big news and we’d got a feature already in the bag for this and so I thought it would be great to get together one of all of the different Ferraris V8 models for a photoshoot and interview the owners. I had no idea if that could even happen, but Rich was confident. “I’ll find them all and I’ll get everyone there”, he said.

A few days later I had the message from him to say he’d got all the owners lined up. I couldn’t believe it; this was like a dream come true! To get to meet people who owned these ultimate dream cars, to talk to them about their cars and how they became owners, and to then write about it all – and for everyone in this process to WANT to do this as much as me? How was this even possible?!

My first major article and a dream come true!

We had also met up with a local photographer called Dom (DFishPix) who had somehow seen the events and asked if he could come along and take some photos. He did a good job at those events and so I asked if he could photo the Ferrari shoot and this was where we really got to see how good he was. As he was directing the cars into position for the shots, I watched how he operated and I thought “So this is how the pros do it”. And then when he showed me the motion shots he took whilst he was hanging out of the boot of his car, it was right then that I knew this would be a success. I knew that I could write as many articles as needed and, alongside members writing of their own experiences to keep the content and writing styles diverse and interesting, Dom could photograph them.

When you can whip out the camera and snap this on the fly, you must be pretty good at it
THE picture which told me this would be a success

Then, as if the day couldn’t get any better, Rich asked me if I wanted to drive his Ferrari 360! Whaaaaaaa?!!! Although we’d conversed quite a bit via text messages, I’d only known him in physical person for probably only a couple of hours up to this point. That was a lot of fun!

The first edition, in print!

What then followed was nine years of magazine production, starting with me as the editor-writer-proofreader-designer, until the club ultimately grew to become a significant organisation in its own right, with a full editorial team for the magazine, at which point it was a natural parting point both in terms of my involvement and what I was able to bring to the table. My job was done and I’m so very happy with how it turned out. Looking back now and those first few editions are pretty rough around the edges, but the magazine evolved significantly over the years as more people got involved and, although I am biased, I believe it is the best club magazine that you will ever find, and the quality now rivals anything you can buy in WHSmiths. And I started it.

An article in the first issue written by now-friend, Dan

There are so many stories from these nine years that it would be impossible to summarise them all here and do them justice – although a couple of these are represented on the collage poster and we’ll come to those in more detail in later chapters.

So as a summary instead, I’ll just put a couple of my favourite photos here from over the years….

One of many drives out in the early days
Visiting a members incredible house to write about….
I’ve been to visit several impressive personal collections and garages, this was one of my favourites (Although this garage looks pristine, all of the cars are used regularly).
…And even visiting a pirate island following a kind invitation from its owner!
Creating a charitable public event (we ran five events in total, which from memory I think raised more than £50,000 in total for a local childrens hospice).
Setting up one of many shoots for those magazine articles. By way of thanks to Pete, the security guard who let us use this car park, I had this photo printed on a massive poster and gave to him. He was over the moon as he loved Lamborghinis

Ten years on, I can remember that Ferrari photo-shoot day clearly. I remember the conversations with the owners, where we went, the photos we took, the stories they told. Everything. It was a phenomenal day as a car enthusiast who had dreamed of just even seeing Ferraris on the road for as long as I can remember. And then I got drive one, and to write about the whole day as well. The ultimate icing on the cake.

Looking back now, the whole experience of this first magazine, and then the nine years that followed was an incredible whirlwind of immense and often challenging hard work, but deeply satisfying on a level that I didn’t think ‘work’ could ever be. That’s nine years of my life spending my free time around dream cars and, my favourite bit of all, getting to talk to the owners about their passion, their lives and how they came to own such cars and communicate their stories to a wider audience. Some incredible people, many of whom I’m proud to now call my friends, and some absolutely unbelievable cars.

Nine years of work and collaboration

And that photo on my collage poster, which Dom took of me driving Rich’s Ferrari, getting to experience that feeling of having what seems like the whole world looking at you, whilst listening to that screaming Ferrari V8 sound and starting a new life chapter that could never be repeated. Well… How could that photo not be on there?!

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