A car fanatic has seen his dream turn into reality by creating his very own iconic grand prix racer after years of painstaking work.
Mal Nicholson’s 1959 Italian Dino has gone on display for the first time in the region, attracting interest from racing greats across the world.
The 56-year-old spent five years and many late nights lovingly building the racer by looking at photographs of the original Dino.
Mal said: “I’d be on the workshop floor for hours. Mates would walk past and peer in the window.
“It took a while but then they saw the machine starting to take shape. I would say I’m building a grand prix Ferrari and they would say ‘yeah, I’m flying to Mars’.”
Last weekend the car, along with Mal’s other baby, a stunning replica 330 P4 Ferrari, went on display to crowds at the North Lincolnshire Great Attractions Fair.
One of five generations of engineers, Mal gazes with adoration at the machines in his garage.
“The 330 P4 is timeless,” Mal muses about his red ‘beasts’. “People don’t realise the power. I’ve watched men fall back as flames leap from the exhaust.”
The number 16 on the Dino is in memory of late friend and Formula One driver Cliff Allison.
“Cliff’s name is on the cockpit. He drove it at Zandelvoort and he sat in it, beaming, two weeks before he died. He was due to take it to the Monaco Grand Prix where Bernie Ecclestone was going to let him do two laps of honour in it,” he recalled.
The pair were due to start building a replica 1958 Ferrari before Cliff suffered a heart attack in 2005. The parts are still locked away in Mal’s garage.
Mal has rebuilt his 1926 Spider T sail-powered cargo ship over 15 years. She is one of the last remaining in Europe and formed part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant, from her mooring at Keadby Lock.
This summer, the ship will leave her moorings once more for a sail up the east coast, stopping to allow visitors on board.
However, it’s not all been an easy ride for Mal and wife Val, with him having to let staff go from his Trentside Classic and Sports Cars firm because of the recession.
“Watching someone you have worked closely with for 20 years, leave the yard for the last time, is indescribable,” he says.
Mal is now looking to the future. HHe is a grandad to 18-months old Chloe. He and Val look after her while their daughter Danielle, an army dental technician, works.
He said: “I have an urgency to pass on the skills I’ve acquired, I’ve probably 10 years to retirement but I’ve got an ocean of skills in maritime, sailing and engineering to spread before then.”