Article: A Car Obsessive Who Spent $1 Million to Update an Infamous Ferrari

All, here is a link to the article for what is a positively beautiful machine.  David Lee most definitely has got a Glock in his ‘rari (17 shots, no .38).  Also, check out the new Rolls Royce SUV when you have a moment – this video with Torsten Muller-Otvos is terrific.  ‘Rari article below:

David Lee, owner of the $300 million watch and investment empire Hing Wa Lee Jewelers, also owns more than $50 million worth of the world’s rarest cars.

His collection, stored in a garage underneath a nondescript shopping plaza 40 minutes outside downtown Los Angeles, includes models from Rolls-Royce, Pagani, Porsche, and Mercedes-Benz. But it is his dozens of iconic Ferraris—including an Enzo, an F50, an F40, as well as multiple F12s, 250s, 275s, and 288s—that have earned Lee the most notoriety.

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“When I was 29, I bought a Diablo VT, but it was always in the shop,” Lee tells me during an interview in Los Angeles. “I didn’t get to enjoy the car, so I bought a Ferrari 355 Spyder. Since then, I have focused on collecting Ferraris. I just had a love for them.”

An unassuming 51-year-old married father of two, Lee frequents the world’s most prestigious car shows, hosts big-spender dinners for Chopard in Geneva, jets to Asia and the Middle East to visit clients, and drives with Koenigsegg-owning friends.

He can have whatever car he wants.

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But that gets pretty boring after a while. “I thought when I get certain cars, I would be the most happy. And I was, for a few years,” Lee says. “But I started to get tired of it. With hyper-cars, if you have money and you present yourself well to the ownership, you can buy a car. A lot of people have them.” He began thinking whether he could do something grander, something that would make history. Something that would be only for him. “I wanted to own something that is not what money can buy.”

So the Ferrari fanatic with 724,000 Instagram followers committed the cardinal sin for blue-chip collectibles: He modified one.

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Traditionally, collectors of high-end cars have gone—sometimes literally—to the ends of the Earth to protect the exact specifications of the original specimen. Most car shows and historic rally races are built around the idea that the cars must remain uncompromised by modern alterations or additions, even down to retaining the original bolts. It’s how collectors protect the value of their investment, after all: The cars have to be able to be identified as authentic.

But a year ago, Lee bought a black 1972 Dino for $260,000 and then spent more than $1 million to update it—or “outlaw” it, as the practice is called among connoisseurs—with modern components and bespoke styling cues. It took him more than 3,000 hours over a year to perfect with Moto Technique, a body shop based in Surrey, England. He calls it a Monza 3.6 Evo.

Even parked by a wall of blazing bougainvillea in California, the car looks understated. But it’s undeniably arresting: The open-top roadster looks slightly more modern than the original, with flared fenders, new rims, covered headlights, and a see-through engine cover made from carbon fiber.

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Lee also replaced the original V6 with a new, 3.6-liter V8 and added a new transmission, brakes, and—yes—even a removable holder for his iPhone. The seats were redone in blazing oxblood leather; the shifter got a new, steel knob.

“I felt like it was OK to put the investment in this, because there are enough people who can accept it,” Lee says. “They are not all purists, and that is a change. That is a huge change.”

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Ferrari first rolled out the Dino in the late 1960s and early 1970s as an attempt to offer a low-cost sports car. But the original version has long been snubbed by Ferrari adherents for its relatively high production numbers, small engine, and anemic 192 horsepower. It was so ostracized that Ferrari originally decided not even to formally badge it, calling it solely “Dino,” without the official Ferrari logo of approval.

That said, Lee is hardly the first to outlaw a special car. Singer perfected the business side of it years ago when it started restoring Porsche 911s to the tune of $600,000 and up, taking cues from prolific private individuals who “outlawed” classic cars for years before. In fact, it was one such friend’s invite to join his heavily altered 1971 Porsche 911 on a run up California’s Highway 2 that jumpstarted Lee into modifying his own: “I realized I didn’t have anything from that era that could keep up,” Lee said.

His modified Dino is not super-fast, but it is quicker and drives more precisely than the original. It sits so low to the ground that it’s easy to simply step over the door to get inside; the steering and braking are eased by semi-automatic power systems. The hardtop roof, when taken off, fits snugly behind the two cockpit-style seats.

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Ferrari hasn’t seen the vehicle, officially. The brand has some history with Lee, who claims he was denied the chance to buy an LaFerrari Aperta because he wasn’t a preferred customer.

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A request for comment from Ferrari returned an emailed statement saying that, while Ferrari brass aren’t aware of the specifics of Lee’s Dino, “It is worth noting the importance of authenticity in the classic car market. The Ferrari Classiche certification process that ensures this, The Ferrari Certificate of Authenticity, protects the priceless heritage of an historic car, and generally increases sale value, while giving access to the most prestigious official events organized by Ferrari.”

Not that Lee seems to care. He frames it as if he is righting a long-held wrong. “With the Dino, there was always the question of: What if this car was more powerful? What if it looked like it did—beautiful—but had more power?”

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The V8 engine in Lee’s Dino now produces 400 horsepower, compared to the 192hp that Ferrari boasted in the original version. And auctions experts such as Hagerty’s Jonathan Klinger have argued that the Dino has more investment potential than, say, the sexy and popular Ferrari 308.

Lee plans to show it on the lawn at the Quail this August, prior to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance—where, incidentally, it would not be welcome.

Of course, that’s kind of the point.

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“People are trained by the traditions and the car culture of the concourses,” Lee says. “The concourses are judging your car to say it is acceptable if it’s done this way—and anything far from that, you’re somehow lesser. You haven’t made the grade; you didn’t get the A on the report card. But you can have the cleanest and best Ferrari, or the latest and greatest supercars, and nobody is going to feel anything special.”

Lee believes that his Dino is so special that others will want one, too. “All these Saudi guys and guys from Europe and Asia are saying, ‘David, I want one! This is a great idea.’” He plans to make and sell 25 more at the rate of five per year. Order-taking will start this summer.

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Song of the Day (12/16/2017)

Sup, brah! Today’s song of the day is…so-so in terms of the actual song…but the old cowboy is FUCKING EPIC! It’s Big Enough by Kirin J Callinan. If time is in short supply, go directly to minute 1:45. He wrote us this bigggg sexy hook that he knows we’re really gonna dig. And if you don’t have time for the full video, here’s a 30 second clip for your (re)viewing pleasure. Reminds me of the cat herding commercial from EDS (who?).

What’s that? Not entertained by my malodorous bullshit? Well then check out the following photo:

Looks like the City of Chicago Transportation Department has partnered with Mirena, maker of intrauterine devices (IUDs). That’s the black version.

Keeping the car theme going, check out these mofos:

White socks and dad jeans aside, these puppies are hot, Hot, HOT! Next is a bottle opener that you may or may not recognize:

Come on, tell me you get it. It’s an obscure movie. Rachel Weisz. Brendan Fraser. You must have this by now. Brendan narrows it down to what, two movies?

Well, I’m off to take the dog to the bark park to see if I can help him get some strange. After that, it’s back home where I’m gifting a friend an Echo for Christmas. It’s funny, I sort of feel like we gave Arianna Huffington an echo when we let another skirt onto the Board at Das Über.

Speaking of which. Start your timers…how many years before the “accused” overcome all of this adversity, return to the workforce, and become Time’s Man of the Year?

And finally, a great series of texts from a couple of weeks ago:

D-Trump Dropping it Like it’s Haute (and Song of the Day)

If you haven’t seen it, Donald Trump took precious moments away from his 2020 campaign to shower Puerto Ricans with American generosity.  Nothing says “White America is here to help you” like mushroom tipping a bunch of Puerto Rican Oompa Loompas in the face with the Brawny Man.  Who cares about delivering internet and power, I won’t sleep until we’ve cut down the entire Amazon Rainforest to get these mother fuckin’ Puerto Ricans, on these mother fuckin’ paper towels.  Those are going to be some chaffed assholes down there and they haven’t even digested their pension obligations yet.  Oh it’s going to be a surprise, A RUDE, PAINFUL SURPRISE.

Now time for some self awareness:

Are you fucking kidding me?  These guys couldn’t land a touchdown with their wives.  Or side pieces.  Speaking of having a main bitch, and a mistress, and a couple of girl friends, being so hood rich, today’s song of the day is Head of the State by Baracka Flacka Flames.

An image for my girls still at the office tonight:

And finally, the McLaren P1, because a girl can dream, right?

Roping off a $1.2 million car with a plastic barrier chain?  Nice, McLaren.  Maybe it’s time you Brexit from the auto industry and focus on pushing cheap hats and questionably sourced keychains like Ferrari.  AHHH SKEET SKEET SKEET!

And finally, Chick-fil-A has been rubbing off on Jimmy Johns (assuming the Bible says that’s okay):

Nothing bespeaks “thank god we live in America” like a black guy desperately trying to strip himself of ownership-administered shackles.  I don’t know, that meat and bread on the right looks a little gay, over under Chick-fil-A walks from the deal?

Song of the Day (10/2/2017)

Salutations!  It’s my fancy way of saying…hello!  Today’s song of the day is a new one: it’s What Lovers Do by Maroon 5 and SZA.

So we all know of Martin Shkreli (aka Pharma Bro) and how much of an anus he is, but did you know that he has two unexpected doppelgängers?  The first being American conservative commentator Ben Shapiro:

And the second being Steve Burns’ replacement on Nick Jr’s Blue’s Clues, Donovan Patton:

Eerie, isn’t it?  Moving right along to this:

Are you a self-proclaimed coffee aficionado?  Lover of chocolate chip cookies?  Well!  Then you’ll detest this shit.  Admittedly, I’m one for the flavored creamers – some of them are too good not to enjoy.  But this chocolate chip cookie shit is disgusting.  Don’t buy, don’t try.  Speaking of not trying, make sure you don’t try to go to key west in the next two weeks.

Unless you’re looking to go south, see some sparks fly, and get wet.  Am I right, girls?  And finally, some car stuffs for my autophiles.  The first is a Ferrari with some epic decals (remember, racing stripes make a car go faster):

And a final thought for my AD thrill seakers:

GTA Real Life: The Faggio Chronicles

Who here remembers the GTA series from our youth?  If so, you will remember the Faggio: a parody of both Vespa and Piaggio.  Here’s a photo from the game:

Cool, right?  Well I came across the ULTIMATE Faggio last weekend.  Huge faggio move.  Big league faggio.  Thanks, guy.

Dick move when I’m desperately searching for parking.  The guy is probably in the bar, sipping on a tall cool one:

Book plug time.  I read/listen to a book every two weeks and have been experimenting lately.  One that HAS to be on your list, even if you have but only the faintest interest in this stuff, is Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Astrophysics for People in a Hurry.  Run to your library (or use the free Hoopla app for your phone) and get this book.  When Amazon recommends “Origins” by NDT, don’t worry, you basically already read it if you got through Astrophysics for Hombres in a Hurry.

Oh!  Is anyone up for a game?  Back, wayyyy back, before The Cookie Monster gave up carbs (cookies) for…well for other carbs (fruits and veggies), and before Mitt Romney threatened to put a bullet in Big Bird and cut funding, there was a game Big Bird played that he/she/it called One of These Things (although not every episode centered around him playing with his “yummy yummy bird seed,” even going as far as burying his/her/confused/undecided/but likely his nose in it).  Now I leave it to you: which one of these things is not like the others:

It’s hard to find so I’ll give you a hint: it’s in the middle up near the top, it’s small and undistinguished, it’s pink, and sometimes it can be hard to find in the broader sea of undulating movements.

And finally, food porn time!!!

Random Bidtits (8/30/2017)

Banging through some life observations and cool shit from the last few weeks:

1)  Here is an article from the Wall Street Journal with some stunning photos of undersea life: Into the Deep: The Underwater Photography Awards.

2)  Here is an article from The New Yorker that is absolutely worth your time but will take a while to get through: Donald Trump’s Ghostwriter Tells All.  You won’t find a single surprise throughout the article.  Orange you glad I found this?

3)  Incoming book recommendation!  As a rule, I typically don’t read self-help books but this one came strongly recommended and I pass that on to you.  It’s: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson.  It’s a quick read and worth your time if you’re open minded.  Check out the Amazon reviews in the link.  I finished this last week after reading four Agatha Christie books last month.  Yes, Agatha Christie is the Goosebumps of adulthood but it’s easy and light and quick.  I did see a great Arrested Development shout out in the back of one of her books (also, look at those prices!):

And the Arrested Development connection:

4)  Quick, somewhat terrifying side note.  I cringe when I see the words “clinger” and “loosening” used in the same sentence:

5)  I spent last weekend in the back country of Virginia and West Virginia and it was absolutely gorgeous.  World renowned white water rafting, spelunking, The Greenbrier (including A TRUE CROQUET COURT!!!), the Omni and it’s surrounding thermal springs, and the New River Gorge Bridge (as seen on the back of the West Virginia quarter).  The Greenbrier is well worth your time.  However, there was some subtle racism under the banner of “southern charm”:

Which in reality looked like this:

There was also a memorial highway in honor of the armed forces…sponsored by the one and only West Virginia Garden Club, Inc.  You know, that’s an obvious overlap.

Also came across a new food group that may need to replace pork rinds at our next bro-get-together:

As well as a gas station WITH RACING FUEL:

And the nerdiest corner I’ve ever walked into:

My neckbeard grew three sizes that day.

6)  And finally, I saw the license plate below which reminded me of a terrific scene from Family Guy.

The 2017 Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 Cabriolet

Cabriolet!  Cabriolet!  Cabriolet!…  It’s only a model.‘  Yes, indeed, I made a reference to Monty Python.  And indeed, it’s only a concept car.  But it’s a fantasy car that has 750 fake horses under the massive hood, an all-electric, all-fantasy 200 mile range, and a look that is absolutely stunning.  Brace yourselves, the Germans are coming.  The following photos represent beautiful works of art. And just like the Germans, I shamelessly stole these pieces of art, mostly from Google Images.