Philip Hart - loving the “F” word
Well-known Whitianga resident, Philip Hart, has had a long-term love affair with the Italian car brand Ferrari that dates back to his boyhood days when ownership of one of the high-performance cars was simply a long-held and seemingly impossible dream.
“As a young adult, I got to learn and love the long, rich history and pedigree of the Italianbased automaker whether it was on the race track or as a road-going supercar producer,” says Philip, who has owned a total of five Ferraris, including his latest acquisition, a 1998 mid-engine 3.5l V8-powered 355 Berlinetta model. “Every detail about the brand has a story to tell, including being the oldest and most successful racing team in Formula 1 history, which has long been considered to be the pinnacle of motor racing around the globe and which I have followed religiously since the early 80s. Ownership of a Ferrari for me has always been all about being connected to that past history, accepting the car’s day-to-day limitations plus the potentially high running costs, and simply enjoying the overall ownership experience.
“Even the unique emblem has an interesting story to tell. The yellow background symbolizes the colour of the Italian city Modena where the brand’s founder, Enzo Ferrari, was born. The distinctive black prancing horse is in honour of a famous World War I Italian pilot while the stripes on the top of the logo in red, white and green represent the Italian national colours. There’s an awful lot of past history in that badge alone to take in, which makes the name Ferrari all the more special and unique, I think.”
Philip’s Ferrari ownership days date back to 1995, shortly after meeting his future bride, Helen. “It was a 1978 308GTS model and renowned for its numerous quirks and good looks, much like the girl I was dating,” laughs Philip. “We used it for a trip around the southern North Island and eventually as our wedding car. In 2000, I moved on to a 1994 348 Spider model which, despite its poor reputation for handling, was brilliant, looked and drove beautifully, and never gave me any major problems.
“In 2006, I made a regretful decision to trade ‘up’ to a 2002 360 Modena F1 originally owned by former politician and Auckland mayor, John Banks. It turned out to be a horrible car, underwhelming and problematic, and I eventually sold it in 2010.
Pictured is Whitianga resident, Philip Hart, with his wife, Helen, and his 355 Berlinetta Ferrari.