Julian Rees meets Ian Wilding and his Lamborghini Diablo

Julian Rees meets Ian Wilding from Wilding Motors near Paignton and talks about his diverse car collection - from a Lamborghini Diablo to a Fiat 500

An Italian Love Affair

Julian Rees meets Ian Wilding from Wilding Motors near Paignton and talks about his diverse car collection 

Ian Wilding’s father pointed his son in the direction of electronic engineering, sighting it as the future of most things. However, after study and time spent in technology retailing, Ian found his true calling, one that gave him an instinctive desire to understand everything mechanical – to disassemble, diagnose, resolve, repair and reassemble – and cars provided that opportunity. A self-confessed ‘petrol head’ with a diverse collection of classics, Ian favours cars from an era where traditional engineering and character were the essence of success on four wheels. He runs an independent service station in Torbay that focuses on supply and maintenance of quality modern cars, Mercedes Benz in the main, and believes in looking after every aspect of his returning customers’ needs.At the pinnacle of his collection, mainly through size and certainly not practicality, sits a 1994 Lamborghini Diablo 5.7ltr V12, next a Ferrari 456 5.5ltr V12 (with four seats for family practicality!) Ian also has three classic Fiat 500s, comprising two saloons and a rare micro-estate model, the Gardiniera, all having been carefully restored.A diverse collection indeed, the common thread being Italian design - Ian tells me that the Fiat 500s turn almost as many heads as the supercars. As far as practicality goes, the Diablo at 6’ 8” wide with a thirst for a gallon of petrol every 10-12 miles and a top speed in excess of 200mph, a quick trip around town has its difficulties. Driving from home near Paignton to Torquay requires no more than first gear and the thighs and arms of a power lifter to cope with the weighty clutch and unassisted steering. Despite his love of the small Fiats in his collection, the Lamborghini will always be the car that gets most attention. The Diablo is Ian’s second Lamborghini, the first being the legendary 1970’s Countach. He was inspired to find a Diablo after seeing one in a music video by pop singer Jamiroquai years ago, and his search took him to both ends of the country and as far afield as Gibraltar. That’s just part of the commitment that owning such a car brings with it, and although Ian believes that cars should be driven and not just polished, he knows the value of good automotive husbandry. All his cars are regularly maintained, despite the fact that annual usage clocks up as little as 3,000 miles. He says: “You might spend as much time just looking at a car like this as you would driving it.” I’d have to agree. Every line, angle and handcrafted component are a joy to behold, but it’s when the V12 roars into life that you really understand why it’s a Diablo - the howl of the four exhaust pipes, the minor earth tremor – one might expect the devil to make an appearance at any moment!When Ian drives his Diablo you’ll probably find him on the coast road between Dartmouth and Torcross but he asks you to please concentrate on the road ahead and don’t reach for your phone to take a picture.

If you’d like to see Ian’s Diablo and other supercars, superbikes and superyachts then visit the Super Weekend 2012 at Torre Abbey Meadows in Torquay from 14-15 July.

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