Fantasy garages. All car enthusiasts have them-five, ten maybe even 20 cars that, in an ideal world, would be residing in a purpose-built hermetically sealed garage, a mental selection of classics and supercars linked by their desirability and high cost.
The problem is that for, most of us, these fantasy garages remain just that-a fantasy. Even with the funds at your disposal, it is unjustifiable on economic grounds to tax, insure and maintain more than a few cars at a time. Also, when you think about it, how many truly memorable journeys do you really make? Of course, it would be great to take a Ferrari to the local supermarket, but when you finish your weekly shop, you have very little boot space in which to store your purchases and someone will have left an expensive dent in both your door and your wallet. It is around this point of contemplation that one realises that there is not necessarily a want to own such a fleet but merely to experience the thrill of driving them.
Which brings us neatly to car clubs, the next best thing to owning your very own slice of classic or supercar motoring. For a relatively nominal sum, a club will give you the keys to a whole fleet of some of the most coveted metal, without having to spend months on a waiting list or wasting hours trawling the classifieds for that perfect classic motor.
As costly assets to maintain, car clubs tend to adopt the asset-sharing model-the shelf-life of individual cars is relatively short in order to keep fleets fresh, resale values as high as possible (the market for high-mileage Lamborghinis is near non-existent!) and maintenance and consumable costs to a minimum. Also, it allows for a greater range of models to be purchased by the club.
The standard format is one of membership costs covering points and mileage values that can then be 'spent' throughout the year across the fleet, with the points of each hire being dependent on the grade of car, time of year and weekday or weekend use. How your points are used is down to you, but generally between 35 to 50 days use per year is the norm, obviously less if you want the top-ranked vehicles only for weekend use during the summer and more if you opt for off-peak weekdays in lower band cars.
But not all car clubs are created equal and each offers something slightly different from the next. There are the obvious differences such as different cars and some even offer a a range of classic motorcycles alongside their classic / super car collection.
Although it is fair to say that club representatives are inclined to represent the concept in glowing terms, there is also a whole host of satisfied car club members ready to offer testimonials, so we will leave the last word to a club member, Richard Fischer. It was the cost of running his Porsche 911 Carrera 4 that prompted Richard to join a supercar club. The City executive spent £55,000 on a one-year-old 911. He sold it after less than two years of ownership for £38,000, having spent annually about £1,600 on insurance, £1,000 for replacement tyres and between £250 and £1,000 on servicing. "I only did 5,000 miles a year," says Richard. "The novelty was beginning to wear off. A club is the ideal solution-you can get the latest models so you never get bored."
How much would it cost to do 4,500 miles in your own Ferrari F430 Spider F1?
- Cost of finance (£138,500 at 7% APR): £9,695
- Insurance (35-year-old, clean license): £4,200
- Yearly service: £2500
- Set of tyres: £970
- Depreciation: £19,920
Total: £34,384 or £6.88 per mile.
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