Collectors are often happy to share their passion and their treasures: it is no coincidence that the largest car collections in the world are also museums or foundations to visit like a wide-eyed kid. But there is an equally fascinating world full of private collections, even if less easily accessible. We met Elia Dal Canton, a friend and outlier, as well as a promising driver, and we asked him to tell us something about the car collection that has been connecting three generations of his family's car enthusiasts: grandfather Mario Dal Canton, the first to inaugurate the collection, then his father Tiziano and now Elia. Here are a few extracts from our conversation.
Which are the first and last cars that came into the collection?
The first car to open the collection is an Alfa Romeo Duetto 2.0 last series, followed by a Mercedes SL500 R230 and an Audi RS4 B5. Instead, the latest arrivals are a Ferrari 812 Superfast and a Porsche 992 S.
Which is the jewel in the crown of the collection (and why)?
The flagship of the collection - and my father Tiziano's favourite - is no doubt the F12 Tour de France, both for its economic value and because it is the state of the art: varnished in "Giallo Modena" instead of the more common "Giallo Tristrato", even when it's turned off it takes your breath away. Not to mention when the V12 comes to life with all its 780hp...
Any other favorites?
My favorite one is the 360 Challenge Stradale: spartan, lightweight and powerful, and reeeeally noisy! What more can you wish for? My grandfather Mario loves the Huracàn Performante, which he often uses despite the uncomfortable shell seats. My dad's favorite is definitely the F12 TDF.
Is there a leitmotiv in this selection of cars?
We mainly have Italian cars with a circuit focus, almost always chosen in their launch configuration (for example the four V8 "Special Series" cars, all in Rosso Corsa with presentation livery). In more general terms, we can say that we have tried to bring together the best of each brand currently or at the time available.
How much space does Made in Italy have in your collection? And what is Italian excellence linked with the automotive for you?
Our collection is mainly made up of Italian cars, including vintage cars (Lancia and Alfa Romeo), supercars (Ferrari and Lamborghini) and motorcycles (Vespa, Cagiva and Ducati). Some exceptions are represented by Mercedes and Porsche. Let's say that Italian style and manufacturing quality are something special and matchless.
Is there a particularly present crest in this garage?
Ferrari is a predominant brand in our collection.
How do you find a new collector’s item? Is it the result of research or does it work more like love at first sight?
Mainly you let the taste and the evaluation of the investment guide you. But there are also deals not to be missed, and you learn to love what you never expected to own. In general, however, it's always a question of making sensible purchases: it's better not to be too sentimentally involved by love at first sight.
Even the garage is incredible, with meticulous attention to detail. What are the tricks to keep cars at their best?
Well, the secrets of car care aren't that secret: it's essential to keep them moving as much as possible, avoid humidity and dust (perhaps by covering them when they're parked for a long time), monitor the tyres and keep the battery charge stable. Then, going more personal, we always try to wash our cars ourselves, a bit like we're cuddling them. A sort of Sunday ritual that started a long time ago, which still resists today.