Long before he was a rock star, Nick Mason knew that life in the fast lane was the way in which he wanted to exist. The drummer for Pink Floyd is a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer who’s always felt the need for speed.
The money he’s earned by being part of the one of the most legendary bands in music history has enabled Mason, 77, to satisfy his need, and then some. He owns some of the finest racing machines ever created.
A fan of all things racing, Mason embraces everything from Formula 1, to IndyCar, to vintage race cars. He probably can even quote you the latest MotoGP betting odds. But he’s much more than a mere fan of motor sports. Mason is a participant.
A Natural Embrace
While rock stars and fast cars go together as smoothly as peanut butter and jam, it could be correctly stated that Mason inherited his passion for cars. Being a rock star had nothing to do with his love affair with everything on four wheels.
Mason’s father Bill Mason raced the family Bentley. More than that, though, he travelled the world while filming the Shell History of Auto Racing. And Nick, a young, impressionable lad at the time, tagged along on many of his father’s journeys during the filming of the documentary. It was love at first sight . . . or should that be fast sight?
“We went to tracks all over the world,” Nick Mason recalled. “It was a wonderful experience for a young boy.”
The six-volume series, directed by Bill Mason, covers the history of motor sports from 1902 into the 1960s. It’s considered by many to be the most comprehensive documentary covering that era of auto racing, if not the best film ever compiled on the history of motor sports.
A rare find these days, the series is hugely popular with auto racing enthusiasts and copies generally sell for a pretty penny on sites such as eBay.
Like Father, Like Son
Just as his dad gravitated to the race track, it was apparent that Nick Mason would as well. His fame from the association with Pink Floyd opened doors to opportunities for him to race at the highest levels of the sport.
In 1979, Mason raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. His team finished second in their class in what would be the first of five starts he’d made in the legendary race. He raced for several years on the World Endurance circuit when time and breaks in Pink Floyd’s schedule permitted. Mason spent the 1984 season as part of the Rothman’s Porsche team, working alongside teammates Derek Bell and Stefan Beloff.
Mason’s son in law is race car driver Marino Franchitti, the brother of Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti. Marino Franchitti won the 12 Hours of Sebring in 2014. He’s married to Mason’s daughter Holly, who like her dad races vintage cars.
Mason houses a vast array of race cars of all vintage, but he doesn’t acquire these unique vehicles in order to polish them up and put them on display. He races them.
Among the legendary cars in Mason’s collection are a 1925 Bugatti Type 35B and a 1935 Aston Martin Ulster. He also owns one of just 26 Maserati 250 F’s that were constructed. It’s the same make of car that the great Juan Manuel Fangio drove to the F1 driver’s title in 1954 and 1957.
He’s also the proud owner of a 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO. Only 36 were built. They sold for more than $50,000 off the production line. Today, the value of the car is estimated to be in excess of $40 million. Yes, Mason has raced the Ferrari many times in vintage events during England’s Goodwood Festival Of Speed.
Mason owns all the cars he piloted himself during his racing career, including a white Lola T297 that he drove at Le Mans. He purchased the Ferrari 512S Le Mans that was used in the Steve McQueen film Le Mans.
He admits to not understanding why people collect classic cars, yet choose not to drive them
“I don’t buy cars to look at them,” Mason said. “I buy cars to race them.”