Exactly who, I wondered aloud, are the customers of a company that peddles toys for boys in the shape of supecars, including Porsche, Ferrari, Bentley, and Maserati?

Surprise, surprise, many are women, according to Tobin Jenkins who last year started up Nought2Sixty, a Witney firm that supplies such dream machines by the day, weekend, or week.

He said: “Many customers are women. They hire cars for their partners.”

He added that the fast car hire business had accelerated away from a standing start in February, apparently unaffected by the economic slowdown, and his wife and partner in the business, Emily, said that even now, with the recession beginning to bite, there were only a few signs of brakes being applied.

Both agreed that for some time, as with other luxury trades, jewellery for instance, their cars had defied gravity, perhaps because punters were simply determined to live the life of a conspicuous spender despite all woes — even if only temporarily.

Mr Jenkins, 31, said: “Most of our customers are pretty well-off anyway, and of course it is better to have a car like one of these exactly when you need one, than to leave it in the garage to depreciate.

He added that a Ferrari, for example, might depreciate by as much as £40,000 in one year.

A self-confessed fast car fanatic, his business came into being in classic fashion. He and his family hired an Aston Martin V8 Vantage as a 60th birthday present for his father, David.

“Getting behind the wheel of such a car was one of the best presents ever, he told me. And I got to thinking that here was a way to further my keen interest. And so the fast car affair was born.”

He added that many customers also came from overseas, often VIPs who are being given the star treatment by British host companies.

Now the company is the proud owner of a Porsche 997 Turbo — yours for the weekend for £1,595 with 450 miles included, provided you are over 28 and happy to leave a £3,500 security deposit — as well as providing access to a pool of other supercars — which may be drooled over on the Nought2Sixty website —personally I would go for the convertible Ferrari in red; you can always dream.

Nought2Sixty currently employs just Mr and Mrs Jenkins and has grown out of the family business, Sign Language, which operates in a slower lane of the motor trade, namely ‘wrapping’ vans — which in everday parlance means colouring vans in the livery of large fleet operators, such as ROC Construction, owner of 1800 vehicles.

Mr Jenkins said: “Van sales may have fallen off overall recently, but fleet operators still need their vehicles wrapped.”

He added: “I have absolutely no regrets about starting up Nought2Sixty. In fact I shall devote more time to it next year and have great hopes for it, particularly as we are forming a link with Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons in Great Milton, whereby guests receive a package of flowers, Champagne — and a car from us.”

Contact: 0845 475 0260 Web: www.nought2sixty.com