Hubert Burda Media

Classic car collectors: Leslie Kuek (4of4)

Our final collector talks about how how important it is for him to keep all his car in great condition.


With the 1968 Alfa Romeo Spider

Dr Leslie Kuek’s interest for cars only came about when he started working and “could make some money of my own”. His passion for classic cars came even later. “I was influenced by a friend who owns many old cars. I looked at them and said: ‘These cars are so full of character,’” he shares. “An old car maintains its allure and charm forever because it’s never going to change. It’s not like a new car that goes out of fashion every few years.”

That’s when he started his own collection, with a 1973 Alfa Romeo Spider. It has since grown to six, including a Ferrari 328 GTS, a Porsche 911T and the 1968 model of his first classic car.

His profession as a plastic surgeon has also fuelled his passion. “We appreciate beauty and the perfect line and symmetry. The fact is I appreciate the design, the beauty, the lines, the curves…in a way that has something to do with the work I do,” he says.

His taste is also eclectic. Other than colour — most of his cars are red — each has different features. So it’s hard to pick a favourite. “It’s like how you love all your children. Each has his own special qualities,” he says. With the 1968 Alfa Romeo Spider, he loves its design and shape. “It’s so perfectly symmetrical in the front and back, like a torpedo,” he describes. “Historically, that’s the oldest car I have. This particular Alfa was the last model designed by [Battista] Pininfarina before he died. So it is special because of that attachment to the designer. It was also immortalised in the movie, The Graduate.”

It’s important his cars are in good shape because he enjoys taking them out with him either to work or on weekends. “I have to go to work so every day there’s a car to be driven,” he says. “I try to keep them all running. No point owning a car that doesn’t run.”

Though Kuek has no plans to add to his collection for now, he admits there’s one he has his eye on: A BMW 2002Tii. “That’s a nice car, so I wouldn’t mind buying that one day when I have space.”

Classic Car Tip:

“You need a very, very robust list of mechanics who can do all this work for every car.”