The ex-photographer who became a prestige car dealer
A prime location, a star-studded client base and back catalogue of sales comprising some of the rarest, most exotic and valuable Ferraris in the world make Talacrest a celebrated marque specialist.
Now in its 30th year, Talacrest was founded by former photojournalist John Collins. He made his name (and fortune) in the ’70s, flitting between celebrity photoshoots and warzones. The money was good and in 1976 he was able to buy his first Ferrari, a 246 Dino. In the ’80s, however, a stock market crash forced him to sell a Testarossa – and the dealer’s subsequent mark-up inspired him to hang up his cameras and turn his love of Ferraris into a business.
At this level stock is more about quality than quantity, listings at the time of writing comprising a couple of early Inter Coupés, a 250 California Spyder and an ex-Chris Evans 250 Lusso.
“I love the cars,” Collins says, “and it’s much better for people to be buying something because they love it too, not just because it’s an investment.” He admits the business has got tougher, not least because the deal-making that once went on behind closed doors is now in the public domain. “It’s like you’ve got a bug in your office now,” he says, referring to the online scrutiny of classic Ferrari values. The distorting impact of high-profile auction sales also presents a challenge. In this febrile environment, Talacrest’s expertise remains a significant benefit.
And Collins’s favourite Ferrari? “I love the California Spyder,” he says. “They’re just one of the most beautiful cars ever.”