Me And My Car

Ferrari first love

Mr Roy Teo drives his Ferrari 328 GTB occasionally and has barely added 5,000km to its mileage even after a decade.
Mr Roy Teo drives his Ferrari 328 GTB occasionally and has barely added 5,000km to its mileage even after a decade. PHOTO: E.K. YAP

Interior designer ends up buying the very 328 GTB that captured his heart more than 20 years ago

Interior designer Roy Teo is sought after by high-net-worth individuals when they want to do up their bungalows or penthouses.

The design principal of Kri:eit Associates is known for his taste for the finer things in life - be it an Old Pulteney single malt whisky, a vintage Rolex Daytona "Paul Newman" Rolex Cosmograph Oyster or a pair of Kardinale custom loafers by Fernando Pensato.

It is the same with his cars. His collection includes a Ferrari 328 GTB, a Porsche 964 Carrera 2 Cabriolet and a Porsche 993 Turbo.

"I appreciate iconic designs and craftsmanship, yet I also require cars that are drivable and reliable," says the 40something.

He considers the mid-1960s to early 1990s the golden era for cars, as many were still handmade then.

  • What's in the boot:

  • •Spare wheel

    •Tool kit, car jack, car cover and charger

"I like them handmade rather than robotically assembled," he says. "If there is a fault or flaw, I tend to be more sympathetic to human errors."

The Ferrari 328 GTB holds a special place in his heart. It has been part of the collection for a decade now, but its spell on Mr Teo was cast more than 20 years ago.

A friend of his older brother had bought a new 328 GTB. Knowing how much Mr Teo loved cars (his ambition then was to become an automotive designer), his brother took him to see the shiny ride.

Mr Teo recalls the owner educating him on Ferrari's legacy, how the 328 was "an engineering leap from the highly successful 308 series", and how he considered the 328 as Ferrari's best - "even better than the 12-cylinder Testarossa" back then.

The ride in this Ferrari - his first ever - sealed his love for the Prancing Horse brand.

"I was a couple of years shy of the legal driving age and you can imagine how desperate I was to turn 18," he says.

It must have been fate that reacquainted Mr Teo with his first love. He chanced upon the 328 GTB at a dealership 10 years ago and recognised the registration number instantly.

"In the two decades that my brother's friend owned the car, he barely clocked 30,000km in it. It was pristine," he says. "I took it for a test drive and I knew that I had to have it."

He says he could not recall how much he paid for the car.

He babies it as much as its first owner and drives it only on occasional Sundays. Since he bought the car, he has barely added 5,000km to its mileage. The car is into its fourth decade, but remains in immaculate condition.

"It has never needed surgery, only rejuvenating treatments at the auto spa," he jokes.

As a designer, he looks at cars with a critical eye too. He believes that cars are an expression of one's persona - much like a suit or a timepiece.

He says: "With accessories, it is important to find the right look and fit. It is the same with cars. Wear the car well and not let the car wear you."

• The writer contributes to Torque, a motoring monthly published by SPH Magazines.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 10, 2016, with the headline 'Ferrari first love'. Print Edition | Subscribe