ACT News


Our dream machine runabouts

WITH a top speed that sits north of 200km/h and an eye-watering price-tag to match, these super cars may look about as far from the family runabout as a car can get.

But according to the owners of some of Canberra's most exclusive auto-exotica, the idea that luxury cars are all about ''look, don't touch'' doesn't always ring true.

The blokes behind the tinted windows of these Maseratis, Porsches and Lamborghinis have revealed their expensive rides often double as the family car.

Ferrari owner Dennis Toulis - a self-described ''Greek with an Italian problem'' - lets daughter Kathryn, 19, drive his $120,000 hardtop stallion with the L-plates on.

''I'm happy to share the experience,'' said the 49-year-old cafe proprietor.

He bought the 2000-model car outright with less than 50,000 kilometres on the clock a year ago after trading in his Ducati motorcycles.


''I really should have put this money into superannuation but I'm happy to have a modest retirement to live the dream,'' he said.

Accountant Michael Papandrea loves taking his children, Ella, 16, and Max, 13, for a ride in his $364,000 GranTurismo Maserati, despite the fact it's a depreciating asset.

''It is the best sounding sports car on the market - the kids love the sound,'' said the man whose car can go from 0 to 100km/h in 4.8 seconds.

''And it doesn't stand out like a Ferrari or a Lamborghini - you can sit under the radar.''

Outside Old Parliament House earlier this year, James Hodge told The Canberra Times he had a booster seat on the passenger side of his Lamborghini Gallardo for daughter Hayley.

He said he regularly used the $500,000 machine - one of only four of its kind in the ACT - to take her to and from childcare.

''I'm not a big fan of the whole park it and put a sign on that says 'Please don't touch','' Mr Hodge said.

Businessman Richard Luton, father of three, uses his Porsche Cayenne, valued at more than $100,000, for his duties as a real estate agent. ''I've always liked fast things, including fast cars, and this is my fourth Porsche'' he said.

''While I always talk about investing money in property, I think you're allowed some expensive tastes.''

The most valuable high-performance cars on territory's roads may be the two Ferrari 458s, worth between $550,000 and $600,000, according to a Ferrari Club Australia spokesman.

But don't think these cars are the most expensive in Canberra.

The spokesman said he believed there were vintage cars in the ACT - not Ferraris and perhaps 70 or 80 years old - worth more than $1 million.

These are rarely, if ever, seen by Canberrans, he said.

These vehicles often spent their lives in the secure garages of the super rich.