To hear Rob Ferretti, COO of New York’s Gotham Dream Cars, tell it, there are very good reasons why people choose to rent the exotic car of their dreams rather than buy it.
Take, for example, the car enthusiast who buys a $450,000 Lamborghini. Ferretti says that they perhaps “drive it four or five weekends a year, and because there’s a lot of depreciation in exotic cars, sell it after a few years for $275,000. Eventually they’re going to figure out that they don’t need to have the car sitting in the garage. They’re better off renting cars for those weekends. They can be in different vehicles for those drives.”
Renting—rather than owning—the car of your dreams has a practical side, Ferretti says. Renters get an unhurried 24-hour (or much longer) test ride that will help them decide if they really want to take on ownership down the road.
Gotham launched in 2004, when founder Noah Lehmann-Haupt noticed that it was easy to rent a PT Cruiser, but the market fell short if you wanted a Lamborghini or Aston Martin instead. A very fast Lamborghini Huracan Spyder, available in New York, Boston, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Philadelphia, rents for $1,950 a day from Gotham (more on weekends). A $5,000 security deposit is required.
Today, Gotham customers (if they’re over 21) can head to the racetrack for the $449 Dream Car Dash, where they can hit speeds of more than 100 miles per hour. There’s also the Dream Car Sprint, which allows renters to take a supercar through a specially designed autocross course, and the Dream Car Tour, a convoy of exotic vehicles on a course through country roads and mountain passes, with drivers switching to a new ride every 15 miles.
“People rent exotic cars for the thrill of it,” says Jack Nerad, the editor of DrivingToday.com. And a new approach to access high-end cars is via subscription. Freedom Supercars of Houston and Dallas offers four plans, with 15 to 100 days per year of seat time. Prices start at $1,000 per month and go up to $3,400. Part of the charm is being able to swap vehicles regularly. Available vehicles currently include the Maserati Ghibli S Q4, McLaren 600LT and 675LT, and (for formal occasions) a Rolls-Royce Ghost.