car club membership

You should give a high-end car club membership a spin

Got your heart set on a new supercar? Here’s why you should step away from the dealerships and steer toward a supercar club membership

Talk about first world problems. You’ve just collected the keys for your dream supercar — paperwork signed and every optional extra added. You’re driving it out of the dealership when, out of nowhere, a sleeker, sexier sportster rolls by. Heavy of heart and light of wallet, you drive on and try to save face. But face reality: confronted by better, your new supercar has suddenly lost its highly polished, custom-coloured shine.

It’s a dire, uptown dilemma. Thankfully, around the world, there are a number of high-end car clubs just waiting to speed to your rescue. The preserve of ultra-wealthy motoring enthusiasts, these exclusive, expensive clubs offer an alternative to buying just one supercar — by giving you subscription-only access to a stable of the most unique wheels on the planet. Looks like it’s time to trade in those keys.

How do high-end car clubs work?

You pay a subscription. You choose a supercar. You drive that supercar. Most high-end car clubs are that simple. Of course, each institution has slightly different rules, but that’s the general gist. And, in order to reach as many automotive aficionados as possible, you can find the majority of car clubs in large cities.

Auto Vivendi is based in London and operates the world’s largest private members’ supercar club. Pay an annual fee (more on that further below) and you’ll have access to a fleet of cars and a full concierge service. Similarly, in New York, Classic Car Club Manhattan encourages you to live your life loudly — and has a revolving line-up of around 40 cars in its enviable garage at any one time.

What cars do you have access to with a membership?

Again, this obviously changes depending on the club — but there’s a similar pedigree wherever you choose to pump your membership money. Auto Vivendi currently has everything from an Aston Martini Zagato Shooting Brake to a Rolls-Royce Wraith in its stable — with a Lamborghini Aventador SVJ Roadster and McLaren Senna GTR soon to roll into its ranks.

Classic Car Club Manhattan’s offerings is a little more varied. Want retro off-roading? Try the 1994 Land Rover Defender 90 or 1969 Ford Bronco. Looking for sheer vintage power? Get behind the wheel of a 1968 Dodge Charger. Or hoping to try out more obscure modern marques? There’s everything from a 2018 Karma Revero to a 2017 Acura NSX on offer. Each car club caters for a different kind of customer — and many organise their offerings into different groups or bands. 

What makes it better than owning a supercar?

car-club-membership

Aside from the obvious — whatever wheels you choose, it’ll always be a bang-up-to-date speedster — there are myriad reasons why high-end car club memberships are better than forking out on one car alone.

Auto Vivendi hosts frequent parties and events, from test drives to decadent unveilings of its new automotive offerings. The London-based club even organises luxury drive tours, and has road-tripped across New Zealand’s South Island, driven down California’s Big Sur and wended through the winding vineyard lanes of Champagne in recent years.

But Classic Car Club Manhattan has the best offering of the lot. On the Hudson Riverfront, the Pier 76 Clubhouse is a 3,200 square foot haven featuring a terrace, private lounge, restaurant, bar and simulator room. It’s a paradise for any motoring enthusiast; decked out with decadent automotive objet d’art, furnishings and a car-themed art gallery. And all this for cheaper than a supercar…

So how much are high-end car club memberships?

And so we come to the bump in the road. All of this access and special treatment doesn’t come cheap — but the pricing is still nothing compared to actually stumping up for a supercar. At Auto Vivendi, the membership model starts at £12,500 per year for ‘Silver’ level, and accelerates up to £33,500 if you want to be a ‘Carbon Black’ member.

Classic Car Club Manhattan is a little different, where you pay $180 per month for access to the Clubhouse, and then pay-as-you-drive for experiences with the cars.

Whatever way you look at it, these aren’t memberships for everybody. They won’t offer day-in day-out benefits for the aspirational everyman. But what they have done is finally offer a salient alternative for supercar aficionados who live in constant fear of depreciation and obsolescence. So, next time that man drives out of a dealership and spots a newer car, you can be sure he’ll wish he subscribed to the idea.

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