As far as hobbies go, collecting V12-engined Ferraris certainly beats golf or fly-fishing – provided, of course, that you have the means. Cheerag Arya, or CA as he prefers to be called, is one of the lucky few.
CA, who was born in India, has spent much of his time in the US and for the last six years live in Dubai where he has established a new manufacturing plant at Ras al Khaimah, one of the seven states that constitute the United Arab Emirates.
The 32-year old businessman has a real passion for cars built in Maranello, and although he owns two V8-engined prancing horses, one of them a 430 Scuderia, V12s are on the top of his list.
That’s because, unlike many Ferrari owners, he really gets his kicks out of driving his supercars day-in, day-out. His one-year old 599 GTO already has 7,000 km (4,350 miles) showing on the odometer – way more than the average Ferrari, never mind such an exclusive model.
“Gran Turismos are more spacious and easier to use on a daily basis, especially when wearing a suit”, he tells the Ferrari Magazine. “It’s hard to turn up to a meeting in the Scuderia without getting dusty and with your clothes getting all creased.”
Yes, we can hear you bemoaning the man’s problems, but don’t be quick to judge him because he is a true petrolhead with a fixation for Ferraris and a racer in the Maserati Trofeo Middle East when he has the time. Although he does own other cars, he says they just don’t “push the button” the way Ferraris do.
The funny thing is that he wasn’t drawn by the kudos of the brand, but by a specific model: “It wasn’t Ferrari, but the F40. I’d wanted one since I was a child,” he says. “I saw a South American football player driving one in a picture in a magazine and decided that was the car I wanted.”
He started with a 575M Maranello and, from that point on, it was all downhill – or, shall we say, uphill… He subsequently bought, among other cars, an Enzo, a Daytona, the aforementioned 599 GTO and, of course, the one that started it all: the F40.
Maranello also called to ask him if he was interested in acquiring one of the 80 “SA Aperta” open-top 599s it would build. “I was invited to buy it as I own a 599XX”, CA explains. “It’s great to be on Ferrari’s list for new cars when they’re launched.” We bet it is…
The problem with fulfilling your childhood dreams is that, at some point or another, you are bound to want something more. Arya is considering both the FF (only once it gets a full sunroof, though) and the upcoming “new Enzo“, but he has already gone one-step further.
He convinced Ferrari to build him a one-off supercar based on the 599 GTO. The Ferrari “special” will retain the running gear of the donor car but will have radically different bodywork.
“I told the designers what I wanted and they presented me with a total of 12 designs”, he recounts. “I then picked the bits from each that I liked until we got an idea of the car I had in mind.” Arya recently visited the factory to view a full-size clay model of his custom-made Ferrari.
He isn’t willing to discuss details, though. He merely states that “it’s not a recreation of an old model. The car has a bit of everything in it, both old and new.”
If everything goes according to plan, Arya will get his hands on his one-off supercar early next year. He plans on keeping it in Dubai but taking it to Europe every summer.
“I won’t be showing it to the world, as it’s a personal thing to me”, he deadpans.
We suspect that CA will have trouble keeping this a secret for long. After all, a one-off Ferrari that is regularly taken to the streets is a real camera magnet, if ever there was one…
By Andrew Tsaousis