Ian Boyd was born a fortnight before Australian troops landed on the shores of Gallipoli.
He went on to serve in the Australian Artillery during WWII and survived. His brother Neville, who joined the RAAF, was not so lucky.
Ian went on to have a distinguished military career, becoming the Regimental Sergeant Major at Sydney’s former School of Artillery at North Head. His mates from the 2/1 Medium Artillery Regiment, RAA, folded up their colours for the last time following the 2011 Anzac Day march.
When he turned 100 last year, he received the obligatory letter from the Queen, but the one that impressed him most came from the governor-general, Sir Peter Cosgrove. Ian felt it had a more personal touch.
Nowadays he lives at home on his own, reading voraciously, having lost his wife of 65 years, Elva, a few years ago.
Ian has a bung knee that gives him plenty of grief, and he needs a walking frame to get around.
For a bloke who loved walking everywhere, it’s a bit frustrating. He doesn’t go out much now. It’s a bit of a struggle.
But all that changed a couple of weeks ago, just before his 101st birthday, when Business Insider turned up at his house with a California T, Ferrari’s curvaceously sexy, two-door hard-top convertible with a twin-turbo V8.
It’s a car with an appeal that spans the generations. Ian’s great grandson, aged 11, broke the news that the car was parked outside.
Ian’s response tells you everything you need to know about the allure of Ferrari’s new $400,000 “affordable” convertible.
“Let’s go!” he said.
The man born just 17 years after Enzo Ferrari rose from the chair like someone half his age for his first ride in Italy’s most famous car brand.
While the California T is a four-seater, there was barely enough room to fit his walking frame in the back seat, and the leg room in the rear is about the right length for a pre-teen boy. The boot space is pretty good, but reduces to space for a couple of laptops if you want to drop the roof.
It was pretty cool cruising along Sydney’s northern beaches and we managed to find a stretch where we could legally take the car all the way up to 100km/h – less than a third of the 316km/h it’s capable of.
The 3.9-litre twin-turbo V8 slingshots the car from 0 to 100km/h in around 3.6 seconds with the loud and proud roar you expect from a Ferrari.
We all held on tight, dizzy from the thrill, conscious that car will all too easily slip above the legal limit.
Ian turned to me with a grin.
“Wow!” he said. “That must be how it feels when they launch you into space!”
Ian Boyd might be 100, but a Ferrari is a fountain of youth on four wheels.
* The Ferrari California T Business Insider drove came courtesy of Ferrari Maserati Sydney.