The master of luxury toys

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I have known Patrick since we were teenagers and from a very young age he stood out from the rest for his class and the continuous search for detail and passion for luxury toys.

Who is Patrick Burke?
A descendent of old and notable Irish families that dates back from the 12th century, a true European citizen by way of his diverse and international background. Brought up in Italy, Switzerland and in the UK, he is fluent in many languages and at home in many countries. Patrick is co-founder of the HERO Group: a multi services platform dedicated to historic motoring with activities spanning from a televised championship to comprehensive classic car hire programs, online retailing, insurance solutions, mechanical assistance and storage/transport logistics and more. He is also a co-founder of The Classic Yacht Experience, the owner and operator of a fleet of classic sailing yachts from 1911 to 1937 that not only preserves the heritage, but also encourages the intergenerational handovers of the necessary skills and traditions to preserve them for the future generations.

Which are your favourite luxury toys?
I always had a passion for classic cars… So much so that my first car when I was 18 was a classic car – a Triumph Spitfire in “conservative blue”. That said, I clearly remember the first time I sat in a classic car. I even remember to this day the distinct smell of the aged leather, the walnut dashboard…. And appreciating that aesthetically, classic cars had something individual about them in those days as designers could pen their shapes on paper free of any legal directives and regulation. I am in fact not passionate about luxury toys, I am passionate about historic toys for the legacy they represent to our generation

Which are your favourite luxury toys?
I am lucky enough to spend my life surrounded by classic cars and yachts, so it is hard to pin-point a preferred “toy”. That said, if I were asked to pin-point a favourite driving experience, it would have to be driving a 1936 BMW 328 Fraser Nash, a car that in my view was at least 15 years ahead compared to other cars of that era.

How did the decision to dedicate yourself to this fascinating world arise?
As a classic car aficionado and collector, it was only a matter of time before cars were not enough and I had to look at the industry as a whole and see if I could not only help through my previous experiences in finance, but also if it was possible to turn a hobby into a proper business. The classic car industry in 2009 was what we call a “cottage industry”, it was fragmented, disorganised and dysfunctional… Yet alongside this lack of proper service, the classic car prices were continuing to rise and it was only a matter of time before the “services” attached to the industry had to step up to the game.

Which dream do you see coming true for you in the not too distant future?
Every dream begins with a dreamer and mine remains to share the meaning and mission of HERO and the Classic Yacht Experience and to promote the importance of keeping us linked to our heritage and making sure that future generations protect and safeguard this heritage.

by Deborah Martinelli Bonavia

Fotografie restauro, interni, regate, charter di S/Y Orianda 1937
Aprile-settembre 2010

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