The world's biggest car collectors and their fleets

The world's biggest car collectors and their fleets

For some of the world’s wealthiest people, collecting motor vehicles is more than just a hobby; it’s an obsession. These top collectors pour millions of dollars into acquiring, maintaining and showcasing their prized rides.

While these lucky few have the funds to take the art of collecting classic cars to the next level, even the average car aficionado could learn a few things from the best; from storage to buying suitable car insurance.

With a reported 5000 cars in what may be the biggest car collection in the world, including more than 500 Mercedes-Benzes, hundreds of Bentleys, BMWs, Ferraris, Jaguars, Porches and several Lamborghinis, the Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, holds the Guinness World Record for the Largest Private Fleet. Also to his name is the world’s most expensive Rolls-Royce – a 24-carat gold-plated number, which was used as his wedding vehicle.

American comedian and TV host, Jay Leno, has more than 400 cars of all makes and models, including a series of restored steam-powered cars from the start of the 20th century. Leno understands the importance of maintaining his fleet, with four full-time staffers to keep his cars in drive-ready condition and a website to showcase his full collection.

Member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, Sheikh Hamad Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan has an enviable fleet with more than 200 vehicles, including rare Mini Coopers, Lamborghinis and novelty cars. He is reportedly nicknamed the “Rainbow Sheikh” for owning seven Mercedes-Benz S-Classes, each in a different colour of the rainbow.

While the Sheikh has a fondness for Mercedes, for comedian Jerry Seinfeld it’s all about Porsches. He is rumoured to have one of the biggest Porsche collections in the world. While there is no record of exactly how many cars are in his “garage” – a California aircraft hangar – we’d guess it’s a substantial number. 

Fashion mogul Ralph Lauren has more than 60 exotics (mostly red), including rare and valuable Ferraris, Bugattis and Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia Roadsters, among others. Lauren’s prized possession is a 1938 Bugatti Atlantic Coupe with a reported value of more than £19 million ($29.6 million). His impressive collection is housed in an equally impressive garage, with a full-time curator, lobby, library and workshop. According to Forbes, Ralph Lauren has a net worth of around $6.6 billion, which places him in the top 200 richest people in the world. If we had $6.6 billion, we’d definitely have a nice car collection, too.

However, if a full-time curator seems excessive or you can’t afford a hangar to store your prized possession, it doesn’t mean you love your car any less than these collectors.

A number of specialised car insurance companies exist to suit almost every aficionado’s expectations – from collectors to young drivers with modified vehicles, to older drivers.

So whether you’re considering installing a fish tank into your Hummer just like ex-Fugees frontman Wyclef Jean, or you simply have a car that you treasure, it’s vital that motorists do their homework and compare car insurance to ensure their wheels are well taken care of.

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Learn more about car loans

What is dealer finance?

Dealer finance is a car loan organised through a car dealer – as opposed to car loans organised by a finance broker or directly by the lender.

What is CTP insurance?

CTP insurance, also known as compulsory third-party insurance or a green slip, is compulsory if you want to register a vehicle in Australia. If you’re responsible for a car accident, your CTP insurance will be used to pay any compensation due to anyone who might be injured or killed. However, CTP insurance doesn’t cover you for vehicle damage or theft.

What is a dealership?

A dealership is a car yard or a place where cars are sold.

What is proof of income?

Before giving you a car loan, lenders will ask for proof of income – documentary evidence that you earn as much as you claim you earn. Lenders will typically want some combination of tax returns, pay slips and bank statements. The reason lenders want proof of income is because they want to be sure you have the means to repay the car loan.

How much is your car worth?

If you already own a car, you could potentially bring down the cost by selling your car in the process. Before that happens, though, you’ll need to find out how much your car is worth.

One of the first places to find this value is to research the value of your current car, giving you an idea of roughly how much it’s worth in its peak condition.

There are plenty of websites that offer a free online valuation, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with results listing a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Of course, dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it, making it highly unlikely that you’ll get the same price selling a car to a dealer as you would selling a car privately.

However, private car sales can be costly and can take months to sell, making car trading more convenient with a guaranteed return, even if you may not be able to realise the total value of your car’s worth.

Remember that everything is negotiable. If the dealership is offering you less for your trade than you wanted, try to negotiate elsewhere to gain that money back. Start by negotiating on the price of the trade and then ask them if they can give you a further discount on your new car.

Can I buy a car as a student?

Buying a car is a huge financial decision, and shy of marriage and purchasing a house (or perhaps around the world travels), it may be the biggest financial decision you make. But if you’re looking at your empty pockets, don’t despair! Your dream of owning your own car could become a reality, if you look for and compare the right car loans for your circumstances.

How much is my car worth?

If you own a car, it may be something that can help you bring down the cost of your next vehicle purchase through its sale. However, before you can do that you’ll want to find out how much your car is worth.

Your car’s worth can depend upon various aspects, including:

  • Age
  • Condition
  • Model and make

A great starting place for aspects of this includes websites that offer online valuations, allowing you to enter your car’s make, model, year, badge and description, with the listed results displaying a price guide based on both selling your car privately and through a dealership.

Both have pros and cons, as cars can be very profitable, something that will no doubt impact any chance you have to make the most of your car’s value upon sale. Dealerships will try to profit on your trade-in by buying it for less than they can sell it for, so you shouldn’t expect the same price selling a car to a dealer that you would necessarily get selling a car privately.

What is a car loan?

A car loan, also known as vehicle finance, is money that a consumer borrows with the express purpose of buying a vehicle, such as a car, motorbike, van, truck or campervan. Car loans can be used for both new and used vehicles.

What is a secured car loan?

A secured car loan is a loan that is connected to a form of security, or collateral. Generally, the security for a car loan is the car itself. If you fail to repay the loan, the lender might seize your car, sell it and then use the proceeds to recover their debt.

Where can I get a student car loan?

Student car loans are not a necessarily a product in and of themselves, but what you may be looking for is a guarantor car loan.

A guarantor car loan has a third-party act as a form of guarantee for your loan application, telling the bank or lender that if you default on your loan, someone will pay the loan repayments.

Going guarantor on a car loan is no new thing, and before internet-based credit scores, guarantor car loan applicants would apply for loans with a guarantor or property owner who could vouch for the person borrowing the loan.

To get a guarantor car loan, you’ll need someone willing to act as a guarantor for your car loan.

How do you get a car loan?

There are four different ways you can get a car loan. You can go straight to a lender. You can get a finance broker to organise a car loan for you. You can get ‘dealer finance’ – which is when the car dealer organises a car loan for you. Or you can organise your own car loan through a comparison website, like RateCity.

Whichever method you choose, you will need to provide proof of identification, proof of income and proof of savings. So you may be asked for any combination of passport, driver’s licence, bank statements, payslips, tax returns and utility bills. You might also be asked to provide proof of insurance.

What is a guarantor on a car loan?

A guarantor on a car loan is a third party, usually a relative or friend, who guarantees to meet the repayments of a loan for the purchase of a car, if the borrower/owner of the car defaults on the loan.

Guarantor car loans can be useful for people who would otherwise struggle in being accepted for credit to purchase a vehicle. These may include people with bad credit, students and young people who may have no credit history, as well as some pensioners.

Many lenders offer guarantor car loans, guarantor personal loans and guarantor home loans, because of the significantly reduced risk to the lender.

What is the luxury car tax?

The federal government imposes a luxury car tax of 33 per cent on the value of a car above a threshold. As of the 2017-18 financial year, that threshold was $75,526 for fuel-efficient vehicles and $65,094 for other vehicles. So a fuel-efficient car worth $80,000 would be taxed only on the difference between the threshold and the value of the car ($4,474), rather than taxed on the entire $80,000. Similarly, an ordinary car worth $70,000 would be taxed on the $4,906 above the threshold, rather than the entire $70,000. The luxury car tax is paid by dealers that sell or import luxury cars, and also by individuals who import luxury cars.

What is an unsecured car loan?

An unsecured car loan is a loan that is not connected to a form of security, or collateral. Not all lenders provide unsecured car loans – and if they do, they generally charge higher interest rates for their unsecured car loans than their secured car loans.