Pistons, Passions, Pleasures - A Sicilian Dream


Interview: NICK MASON by Matt Dawson


(Photo credit - Cristina Massei)

Prior to the premiere of A Sicilian Dream - a documentary that encapsulates the history of the Targa Florio which ran until 1977 - we caught up with Nick Mason (Pink Floyd, Ten Tenths) whose father was known for making documentaries about motor sport and motor racing.

In this preview of the interview (the full chat will be in our upcoming issue) we discuss his father’s work plus Nick’s own passion for motor sports and the history behind it.

What was it that got you interested into motor sports/motor cars specifically? I know your father made some documentaries.

Basically it was my father that got me into it, he was a filmmaker – he did documentaries for Shell primarily about motoring , motor sport and mechanical things, he made a film on the Mille Miglia, on Le Mans and eventually a five part series on the history of motor racing but he also used to race himself so for me as a kid the big treat was to be taken to Silverstone when he was racing.

I believe you have a 1930 Bentley that he used to race at Silverstone.

That’s right. We’ve had it in the family for nearly seventy years.

It was also due to Enzo [Ferrari]’s invitation your father took part in the Mille Miglia.

Absolutely, he had actually gone there to film it but he came up with driving the car and it was Enzo that facilitated that, it wouldn’t have been possible without Enzo sort of making it happen.

I presume then you and your father knew of the legacy of the Targa while growing up – I suppose a similar feel would also come in the case of Le Mans in France where you’ve been a few times with the Ten Tenths team.

I did the real race in the eighties then I did the historic race sort of recently but Le Mans slightly different because it’s still an active event whereas I think the Targa there’s this sort of nostalgia that applies to some of the great races that no longer exist: the Nurburgring thousand kilometre race, the Carrera Panamericana, that sort of thing. It’s sort of keeping history alive I suppose.

Would you say those are your favourite races historically?

For me my favourite races are long distance sports car races full stop, Le Mans was always the ultimate goal of where I wanted to get to but the cars I tend to like particularly tend to be those sort of cars and the events that go with them, the heritage of the events.

What was the first car you had?

My first car was an Austin 7 Chummy 1927, cost twenty quid and it was very much what my father thought should be part of my education which was something very simple that could be fettled at home, that’s where I learnt the basics of looking after a car, I mean the funny thing is now that no longer exists really because virtually every car now arrives now with a plate over the engine saying if you touch this you will die and you will invalidate your guarantee so those days are over more or less of actual tinkering but that was very much my sort of introduction to cars and eventually to more sporting cars, the Chummy gave way to the [Austin Seven] Nippy then a pre war Aston Martin.

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