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.