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Car condos bring motorsports, collector car culture home


Some car Condos offer space for collectors to entertain | Iron Gate Motor Condos.

Nearly every car collector longs for more garage space to house their precious vehicles. Specialized condo developments now cater to those who want to fully embrace the collector car lifestyle.

New communities are springing up around the country that not only store cars but offer owners inclusion in a fraternity of passionate automotive enthusiasts. Some condos are purpose-built around track activities. Others target parking solutions for urban enthusiasts with a social-club setting.

And a few are developed in proximity to road racing tracks to offer both motorsports and a vacation home to their clients. Collectors living in the Upper Midwest can indulge in all three types of car condo communities.

Autobahn Country Club provides trackside custom condos | Autobahn Country Club

One of the first developments in the country was the Autobahn Country Club, situated on 350 acres in Joliet, Illinois, about 45 miles southwest of Chicago. Built around a dedicated 3.5-mile race circuit, the club is home to four professional race teams that can store, build or prep your competition car for track action.

The club maintains a fleet of more than 20 manufacturers’ demonstrator cars for members use on-track. A half-mile karting track invites family-friendly racing with karts available for rent. A 10,000-square-foot clubhouse, classroom, bar and restaurant feature deck views of the course, and a helipad facilitates resident’s fly-in commutes.

There are three options of car housing at Autobahn Country Club: prebuilt garage rentals, prebuilt lofted two-bedroom condo garages, and private lot sales that allow one’s own architectural vision to be realized. The club currently boasts more than 400 members and regularly hosts club conventions and driving schools.

If track driving is not your thing, Iron Gate Motor Condos in nearby Naperville, Illinois offers an experience focused on street cars and social activities. A large campus with a planned 200 units and an auto-themed retail mall, the development is meant to offer customizable man-cave (and she-shed!) space to suburban Chicagoans. Slated to join the units are a muscle car dealership, a full-service detail center, a stereo installer and a high-end sales and service facility.

The race shop at Motorsport Villas | William Hall

Residents try to outdo each other in creative design and décor of their space, and doors are often thrown open to stage communal cookouts and impromptu car shows. Besides consolidating their collector car storage, owners often find the space a family-friendly location for everything from birthday celebrations to charitable fundraising dinner parties. While the sales office acts as a special-event venue, there is no central clubhouse or club membership fees.

Motorsport Villas of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin was designed as a second vacation-home location as well as a private paddock for nearby Road America. It has a 32-unit development midway between the track and the quaint resort village with restaurants, cafes, spas and gift shops.

About three hours from downtown Chicago, the lakeside village in the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine State Forest has been a vacation destination since the Victorian era. Known as one of America’s original road-racing towns, it features one of the country’s longest road courses and accompanying racing history, as well as golf, watersports and hiking within the friendly hamlet.

An onsite race-prep shop offers concierge service for the condo owners, and the units can be sublet for vacation rental. Clubhouse accommodations are left to the dozen or so restaurants and bars within walking distance of the development.

As urbanism and congestion grow, car lovers increasingly can retreat to car-condo communities to fully enjoy their prized vehicles. Some buy in because they want to upgrade their current car storage, while others look to enjoy their valuable collector cars on winding rural roads or controlled race courses rather than city traffic.

Enthusiasts who choose the car-condo lifestyle rather than hauling their cars around the country can fly in to a facility where they can house, operate and service their cars while enjoying a family vacation, whether sharing time together in a party room or on a karting track.

William Hall
William Hall
William Hall is a writer, classic car broker and collector based in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. He has spent the whole of his professional career in the automotive industry, starting as an auto-parts delivery driver at the age of 16 to working for some of the nation's premier restoration shops. He is a concours judge and a consultant to LeMay-America's Car Museum in Tacoma, Washington.

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