When it comes to retirement, people often jet-set overseas or hop on to the nearest Caribbean-bound cruise ship, but not so Mark Ryan.
After serving 30 years as a police officer, he retired in 2010 and bought his lifelong dream car – a Ferrari F355GTS.
The seeds of Mark’s interest in the marque were sown at a young age, watching Ferraris compete on the race track and build exotic cars off it, and the 1995 F355’s iconic shape cemented his passion.
“I knew that, even if I only owned it for six months, I could say I’d lived the dream. I never thought I’d have one,” he explains.
Mark held on to the F355 for two years before replacing it with a 360 Spider, which was later sold to make way for an Aston Martin V8 Vantage.
He then found his way back to Ferrari by purchasing a Mondial, which was soon traded for a 308.
The 1978 GTS underwent a detailed four-year restoration, complete with custom luggage, and now sits tucked away in his garage.
“I had the land available at the back of my house, and I knew I wanted a wooden garage that would effectively be a showroom,” recalls Mark.
“It started out with custom flooring and spotlights, but it’s now a proper man-cave.”
Joining the 308 within the immaculate space is a 100-strong Ferrari memorabilia collection, consisting of everything from caps signed by Michael Schumacher to miniatures and models paying homage to some of the machines Mark has previously owned.
Canvases and pictures on the walls document memories such as when he visited the Ferrari factory in 2009, or his years of membership of the Ferrari Owners’ Club GB.
“I just stumble across things and add them to my collection,” he explains.
“For instance, I walked into my local tearoom and spotted a chocolate Ferrari 308 – so I just had to have it.
“The Ferrari radio, the branded fire extinguisher and the nifty Ferrari 250GTO barn-find diorama I found online.”
Mark’s favourite piece is a set of framed envelopes that detail the story of Count Baracca and the origins of the iconic Prancing Horse.
“I spotted those online and went for them,” he recalls.
“They were flown directly from the Ferrari factory in Maranello and come with a certificate of authenticity.”
Tucked alongside the 308 is Mark’s latest purchase, a Ferrari-branded oil drum, cut out and converted into a chair, and accompanied by a matching table.
Towards the rear of the garage is a tiered glass display cabinet: one shelf houses 20 different-generation Formula One cars, another has models of production Ferraris, a diorama of the Ferrari Cavallino restaurant and a rare Ferrari mobile phone.
“The production models were part of Shell’s V-Power promotion and just had to be added to my collection,” smiles Mark.
“The phone came from a friend who no longer wanted it.”
A small glass cabinet tucked in a corner contains Ferrari golf balls, a limited-edition F355 model, a package of branded hand-wipes from his visit to the Ferrari restaurant and a factory tour book.
But with the compact space now packed to the brim, Mark won’t be adding to the collection: “I’ve run out of room, and I certainly don’t want to be putting anything on the roof!
“Things would need to come down off shelves and walls for new items to go up, and I don’t want to do that.
“Sometimes I just bring out a flask of tea, put on some music, and sit and admire the car and the memorabilia.”
Images: Matthew MacConnell
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