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Drivers who value making an entrance in a shiny sports car or an extravagant luxury vehicle have lots of options in addition to purchasing one of their own. They can rent one for a day or two, but even better, they can become a member of a “club” with exclusive perks that add to the experience. There’s no need to worry about depreciation, maintenance, storage, and other costs that come with ownership, and vehicles from convertibles to exotic cars and decked out SUVs are available. Why get “married” to one vehicle when you can choose one based on your mood or driving plans?
Memberships take many forms, including fractional ownership, sharing an owned vehicle, rental access, and monthly subscription. Most companies offer several membership levels based on anticipated usage, with costs depending on the value of the vehicles. For example, with Fast Toys, based in Los Angeles, five tiers plus corporate memberships are available, starting at $8,000 annually for the “Discovery” level which provides 700 miles and ten credits per year. Vehicle usage costs range from 0.25 credits to two credits per day based on value, with two credits covering cars worth $400K to $500K.
Club Sportiva, serving the west coast, gives members a few options with their CarShare program plans. Through LeaseShare, members can add their own vehicle to the fleet and earn some income to help cover the costs of ownership. With PointShare, their most popular plan, sharing a personal vehicle earns points to be used for driving other cars. With InvestorShare, members invest in a car for a guaranteed rate of return along with access to the investment vehicle a few times a month.
Luxury sports car fans in the nation’s capital can join Drive Society for a $500 initiation fee and $7,999 a year, which provides six driving days per month and the ability to buy more if desired. In Switzerland and the United Kingdom, P1 Supercar Club offers various membership levels for vehicles than can be driven in all European Union countries.
Exotic Car Share members pay a one-time fee of $250 which is valid for five years, allowing them to drive one of their cars for a three-day weekend for $990 or $1280 for a week. Ferraris are more expensive, and the fee includes 500 miles that can be driven in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, or Wisconsin. Their sister company, Curvy Road, with cars in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Naples, Florida, offers fractional ownership. Shares start at one-tenth for about $5800 for four weeks in cars like Corvettes and Tesla Model S. A membership fee of $1,250 is payable upfront.
Gotham Dream Cars, a luxury car rental company operating in several east and west coast cities, offers a membership program through DreamShare. Members buy rental credits based on expected usage, and the credit lasts until it runs out as long as the member uses it at least once a year. For example, $18,000 paid upfront buys $20,000 in rental credit.
Driving enjoyment and impressing friends, dates, and business associates with your cool wheels are great benefits, but a few membership organizations go even further. Classic Car Club in New York offers a Clubhouse set on Manhattan’s Pier 76 with a waterfront terrace overlooking the Hudson River, restaurant, bar, and simulator room where members can participate in “synthetic races.” For $180 a month, anyone can join the club, but a driving membership is separate, and there’s currently a waiting list. Club members have priority when driving memberships open up, and they can have lots of fun in the meantime with events like comedy night, clambakes, and film showings.
Club Sportiva members have access to several clubhouses in the San Francisco Bay area and Los Angeles with game rooms, bars, cigar lounges, and even temperature-controlled wine storage. Lou La Vie in Miami boasts a Clubhouse that members might find hard to leave, even with a classy car waiting for them outside. With a cigar and wine lounge, on-call barber and hairstylist, cinema, pool table, rooftop lounge, and library for car lovers, it’s the perfect hangout.
Some clubs provide track days for members with a need for speed and a desire to satisfy the urge legally. On track days, Fast Toys members can drive their own cars on a race track or rent a race car for even more thrills. For a more leisurely way to enjoy a special vehicle, Fast Toys creates group driving tours on scenic roads with stops along the way for lunch and photos. Drivers can even switch cars if they wish, allowing them to drive up to six different ones that could include a Corvette, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche 911 convertible, and Mustang Shelby GT350.
If the lifestyle and access to these exclusive automobiles sound appealing, the first thing to do is some research on availability in your area. Most of these membership organizations are located on the east and west coasts, with a few in other major cities. With all the membership models available, a close look at the best plan from a financial standpoint, the company fleet, availability, and perks would be a good place to start. From there, it might be time to picture yourself behind the wheel of a sporty convertible, top-down, negotiating a hillside road or rolling along a coastal highway on a sunny afternoon.