We are extremely grateful to Washington Coachworks customer Peter Saywell for allowing us access to his amazing collection of exotic supercars and hypercars. Peter’s passion for cars is recognised all around the world, and this was a unique opportunity to talk to Peter and capture the beauty and engineering perfection on display, in this most exclusive of dream garages.
A few years ago Peter’s car collection was featured on Channel 5’s Fifth Gear programme (see the video on YouTube). Since then there have been many changes: the Koenigsegg CCX and DeTomaso Pantera have gone, and additions include a one-off, bespoke Pagani Zonda PS, a Koenigsegg Agera, a Ferrari 458, and most recently the brand new Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4. The Aventador was so new that Peter hadn’t yet driven it, only reversing it out of the garage for our visit.
Standing alongside these are a Ferrari F40, Ferrari 599 GTO, Porsche Carrera GT, Porsche Techart 997 GTstreet, Ford GT, Mercedes CLK DTM, Mercedes SL65 AMG Black, Audi R8 GT (one of only 14 in the country and 333 in the world), Audi R8 Spyder, Aston Martin DBS, Bentley Continental SuperSports, and a Range Rover.
The sight of so much automotive beauty and performance in one place is awe inspiring. These are extremely valuable, highly-strung thoroughbreds. In the same way as an art collector admires his gallery of paintings, Peter appreciates the aesthetics and power of each car, but for him it is their exclusivity which has the most appeal.
Pagani Zonda PS
The one-off, personalized Pagani Zonda PS bears Peter’s initials and company insignia (Saywell International: www.saywell.co.uk). It sits on a Zonda F chassis with a gearbox from the Huayra (C9), has a large Cinque style rear diffuser, a unique horizontal exhaust cluster, and a luxuriously rich pearl-white customized paint finish. The engine bay is a feast for the eyes, and the tailpipes produce a pulse-raising howl when revved. We tried to record the exhaust sound but the levels were so high they broke our sound equipment!
Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4
The Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4 demands your attention. The angular, muscular shape of the bodywork gives the car a predator-like appearance, as if in stealth mode about to strike. The car looks like it could have just come from the set of the latest Transformers movie. The V12 6.5 litre engine starts up with a roar, yet has a very refined purr on tick-over.
Peter has been a long-time fan and collector of Koenigseggs. Voted Hypercar of the Year in the 2010 Top Gear Awards, the Koenigsegg Agera has a top speed in excess of 260mph, and comes with an eye-watering price tag of over £1 million. Peter’s car was the first to be delivered in the UK.
Le Mans 24hrs Supercar Parade
Adorning the wall on one side of the garage are commemorative placards from the Le Mans 24 hour supercar parades which Peter has participated in for many years. Each year during the Le Mans weekend up to 200,000 people line the streets of Le Mans to watch the racing drivers, supercars and their owners who come from all over the world. As a token of appreciation for his continued support of the event Peter has a trophy presented to him by the Mayor of Le Mans. For 2012 he is thinking of taking his latest white cars: the Agera, Zonda PS, Aventador and R8 Spyder in a ‘Charge of the White Brigade’ theme.
For day-to-day use Peter prefers the Bentley Supersports and Range Rover, and he says the Ferrari 458 is also a practical everyday car. As for track-day preferences, the Mercedes SL65 AMG Black handles wonderfully. Peter doesn’t have any one overall favourite within the collection as the styling, setup, and handling characteristics differ from car to car, although it’s clear he is very personally attached to the Zonda PS.
With a busy life, an international company to manage, and so many wonderful cars to choose from it isn’t surprising that Peter doesn’t always have the time to enjoy driving his cars. The Audi R8 GT hasn’t been driven since delivery, and the only outings the Porsche Carrera GT, Ferrari F40 and Ford GT get are to renew their MOT certificates every year.
As for future additions to the collection, the new Mercedes AMG Black is on order. All available garage space is currently occupied so there is just the little matter of making room, or perhaps extending capacity by building onto the garage.
Supercar Charity Track Days
Peter organizes frequent supercar track days in aid of local charities at Goodwood motor circuit. He takes along several of his cars and the driving lineup is always oversubscribed. Starting at 8am, the events are free for spectators and all are welcome to watch the action at close quarters.
The next trackdays are on:
31st March 2012
26th May 2012
8th September 2012 (Not 29th September as mentioned in video)
Photos by Paul Halliwell, 07917 667657.
Video by Millstream Productions.