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There is something very special about a car enthusiast whose passion is for cars as rolling works of art, who drives his precious collectables without pretension and shares their beauty with those who appreciate them rather than basking in the reflected glory of their public display.
And when people like that are sufficiently wealthy to indulge that passion for its own sake, the results can be spectacular.
Meet Cheerag Agya (CA to his friends) born in India, raised in the US and now running the family petrochemical plant in Ras Al Khaimah, one of the seven states that make up the United Arab Emirates.
When he was a little boy, he saw a picture in a magazine of a South American football in his Ferrari F40 and instantly fell in love with the car.
“After that, I learnt a bit more about the Company and its history,” he told the official Ferrari magazine “and promptly fell in love with the Testarossa, just like everybody else at the time.”
It was only after he moved to Dubai to set up the new plant, six years ago, that he actually bought his first Ferrari, a 575M Maranello - but that was quickly followed by a 430 Scuderia followed (one of only two V8s in his collection; the others are all V12s), along with an Enzo, a Daytona, a 599 GTO and, at last, the F40 that started it all.
“The GTO is surprisingly practical,” he told the magazine. “It really is the complete package and the most beautiful car I've ever seen.
“Mine's only a year old and I've already done 7000km. I sent it to Europe this summer and drove it everywhere. The response from people is amazing. A guy started chatting with me about the car in a petrol station and we talked for ages.”
“I bought the Daytona purely for the looks.”
“I love the pop-up headlamps,” he admitted. “Maybe it's a boy thing?
“I don't actually drive either the F40 or the Daytona much, but I might give them both a run on the track later this month.
I love the classics, but they are obviously much harder to drive. My Daytona has aftermarket power steering, which makes a huge difference, but with the newer cars, you just jump in and go.”
But it didn't stop there; soon after, he bought a track-only 599XX - and that got him an invitation from Ferrari to buy a limited-edition SA Aptera roadster.
“It's great to be on Ferrari's list for new cars when they're launched,” he said. “I'm sure the Aperta is louder than my 599 GTO, but in a much more refined way. Perhaps it's just because I have the roof off a lot.”
BUILDING A ONE-OFF
But by then simply buying every new model of Ferrari wasn't enough - although he does have his eye on an FF (“but only when they add a panoramic roof”) and, of course, the new Enzo.
So he approached the designers at Maranello to build him a one-off, based on the 599GTO chassis.
“I told the designers what I wanted and they presented me with a total of 12 designs,” he explained. “I picked the bits from each that I liked until we got an idea of the car I had in mind - a bit like a wish list - and then they built a full-sized clay mould, so I have a fairly good idea of how it will look.”
“It's not a recreation of a previous model.”
“The car has a bit of everything in it, both old school and new. Once it's done, I'll keep it in Dubai, but I'll t”ake it to Europe every summer.”
And more he would not say. It's typical of the man that the teaser rendering you see at the top of this story was issued not by Agya but by the factory. We'll just have to wait until it's finished to find out more about this very special Ferrari, because it's a safe bet it won't be hidden away in climate-controlled storage - it'll be out and about on the roads of Dubai.