HomeCar CultureWho are they? Age 72, 96 percent male, average worth of $800...

Who are they? Age 72, 96 percent male, average worth of $800 million


Their average age is 72 (though some are in their 40s). Only 4 percent of them are women. Slightly more than half of them are American citizens. One more clue: Their average net worth is $800 million. 

Who are they?

According to a new annual publication — The Key – Top of the Classic Car World — they are the top 100 car collectors on the planet. They are revealed in the inaugural issue of the magazine from The Classic Car Trust, which is based in Liechtenstein.

Think of this as the Fortune 500 or the Forbes 400 of the classic car world, though with one proviso. The news release regarding the inaugural issue notes that the list will need to be updated annually, “not least to account for the many collections that are currently unknown or intentionally hidden, but that might one day come to light.”

According to that news release, “The Key emphasizes the fundamental role that collectors play in preserving the cultural heritage and history of the automobile.”

Peter Mullin (with coffee cup) checks in on the recent Citroen exhibit at his museum in Oxnard, California

So who are these top-100 car collectors? Sixty percent are in their 70s, with another 20 percent 80 or older; combined they own around 3,500 vehicles worth an estimated $8 billion; the most-collected marque is Ferrari, followed by Alfa Romeo and Maserati, then comes Porsche, followed by Bugatti, Lancia, Aston Martin, Jaguar, Lamborghini and Rolls-Royce; overwhelmingly, they collect for passion and to preserve history rather than as investment; and they see cars as works of art, but art to be exercised in driving events.

Here are the top 10, based on the magazine’s research that evaluated collections on a 100-point basis:

  1. Miles Collier
  2. Fred Simeone
  3. Evert Louwman
  4. Peter Mullin
  5. Ralph Lauren
  6. Arturo Keller
  7. Larry Auriana
  8. Samuel Robson “Rob” Walton
  9. Albert Spiess
  10. Anthony Wang

You have to go to No. 20 on the list — Canadian Lawrence Stroll — to encounter someone less than 60 years of age. However, as in the rest of the collector car world, the top-100 is undergoing a generational transformation.

“Some of the most important automotive gems in the world, worth billions of dollars, will soon pass on to the next generation,” the magazine notes in another news release. “What will happen to these pieces of history? What are their owners’ inheritance plans? Will they sell the cars? Donate them to institutions? Create their own museums? Or will their heirs and heiresses be the next caretakers? What will this mean for the value of pre-war and early post-war cars?

“This generational shift also means that the taste for cars and the commitment to heritage and preservation may change. What attitude will the new generation have towards collectable cars? How will this attitude affect the inheritance of important models and entire collections? Might a widespread lack of interest lead to price reductions, or to the dispersion of models of great historical and cultural importance? Auction results and dealers’ records certainly show that purchasing patterns have shifted in recent years.

“Our world has never changed so fast. ‘The connected life’, ‘mobility as a service’ and other trends will fundamentally transform the automotive world over the next decade. People will soon be using self-driving cars powered by plug-in energy, and more of us will be getting accustomed to new eco-friendly mobility service concepts. What will this mean for classic cars? Will we still be able to get road registration, spare-parts and gasoline? Will we still be allowed to drive our treasures?”

One of the missions of The Classic Car Trust, the release notes, is to organize leaders in the collector car world to discuss such questions and to determine the way to “secure a bright future for classic cars.”

“It’s right to pause at a crossroads,” the trust adds, “but then it’s time to forge ahead again!”

For more on the Trust and The Key, visit the website.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


  1. Dad saw cars as an extension of ones personality. The only problem was Dad liked Bourbon more than cars and would often cash his paycheck and wrestle with multiple personality disorder. This was back in the days when independent used car lots were numerous, and a vehicle was considered ready for the scrap man at 100k miles. Many a Friday evening Dad would pull in the driveway, feeling the glow of bourbon, in a car with 90k miles on it. Feeling thrifty he pulled in one evening in a Volkswagen Beetle. Then their was the time he was feeling quite the conscientious provider in a 64 Buick LeSabre with electric seats and windows…My brother and I ran the battery down playing with the seats. The most memorable was when dad was feeling like a man of wealth and came home in a mint green 57 Caddilac. A role he was obviously not familiar with. I can still see him as he pulled in, drink in one hand, a cigar in his mouth, blew the horn and proceeded to drive through the door. You had a lot of car in front of you in a 57 Caddilac. Mom adjusted his personality pretty quick. He came to his senses the next morning and brought the Caddy back and came home with a 62 Mercury Comet. A red four door, six cylinder with three on the tree. I was just old enough by then to hate that car. It was dependable, economical, and practical…I hated it. A few years later dad came home with a 66 Pontiac Tempest, two door, which looked just enough like a GTO for me to love it. I’ve loved them ever since. So much so that 10 years later, at the age of 18, I bought a four door, with a OHC 6 Cylinder. Then came the coolest car he ever bought, the car I got my license in. A car I wish I had today. A 1971 Ford Torino, white with a black vinyl top and oz blood red vinyl interior. It was Fords answer to the Malibu. It was a great car. It was sporty and dad was pushin 40. The only one of my parents cars I ever raced. It had the respectable 302 CI in it with a C4 tranny, and I blew the doors off my buddies 73 Plymouth Satellite with a 318 CI , a four barrel Holley, headers and side pipes ( as though the 70s were not dangerous enough). About the time I quit working on Bicycles, Dad started seeing dollar signs, buying old trucks, ( you could buy a 15 or 20 year old truck for a few hundred bucks. My buddies Dad owned a junk yard, and parts were plentiful. About the same time they started work rehab programs for inmates, who were under the watchcare of the national guard, another of dads personalities. One was a paint and body man. Dad would buy an old truck, I would get her tightened up, and he’d get it painted for whatever you were willing to pay. I would be well off if I owned those old trucks today. My favorite was a 60 model Ford. It had a 223 CI engine. I put a set of white bucket seats in it out of the junk yard. Dad had it painted, I helped with bodywork, mainly sanding having learned that was one key to nice paint job. We went back with original color. Aquamarine Green and a gloss white top. She was a beauty. 58-60 was the only years Ford Trucks went with 4 headlights. Adding to the allure, the truck and I were born the same year, 1960. Then the unthinkable happened…he sold it. I thought for sure it would be mine. Sure he had forked over the 300 dollar original investment plus the paint, but I knew every inch of that truck. It turned heads. It had the respect of old men and 16 year olds.. now someone else’s son was driving it. I lost interest in projects for a while. I did help turn a 50 dollar investment on a Vega into a few hundred dollars by simply freeing up a seized clutch, caused by sitting up for too long. We were towing it home and I jerked it into 2nd gear. It started right up. I hit the gas pedal and caused it to lurch forward several times, and it was "fixed". A new battery and it was roadworthy. I got to drive it several months putting an 8 track player in it. Then Dad sold it for a nice profit, and I was without transportation again. I held on to my love for vehicles, but soon found myself married with children and no surplus income for expensive hobbies or other wise. My Dad would pass away at the age of 45. A young man. Too much bourbon in such a short time. As his life slowly ebbed away, my wife and 2 small children would sit with him. Mom seeing this could only be accomplished if I had another vehicle loaned me 400 dollars to buy a 63 Chevy Pick up. After Dad passed, I began to restore the old truck, which I had wrecked during one of my own wrestling matches with bourbon. My life changed that night. I grew up. I restored the old Chevy putting a 350 in it and a toploader 4 speed. I loved it. I had even horse traded for a paint job. My financial situation begin to get better and we soon bought my wife a new car. An 87 Tempo…A year later I bought a new Ford Ranger. Mom had remarried by then. The new husband didn’t have a vehicle that ran. I gave him my 63 Chevy, and the paint job it had coming, something I find difficult to think about to this day…for he bought 5 cans of brown spray paint and painted my diamond in the rough, then he sold it and bought 79 model, and had it painted with the paint job I had bartered for. It would be 20 years before I got to embrace my passion again. My toy is a 77 Jeep CJ 7. My back is broke, I’ve had 2 surgeries…so by the time I could halfway afford a bonafide project, I have to ration my time, not my money. All the money in the world can’t turn back time. But I still enjoy the time I can give it, and the feeling of accomplishment and pride you get by being able to say " I did it"…. I grew up and marked my years by the many vehicles on the road…and not just cars…everything from a Honda 350 to an old Diamond T or Autocar….they have marked my years, and the years of those I love.

  2. So the "top" collectors are ranged by their wealth. Interesting. Is there any correlation to their actual love of and use of their "collected" vehicles or just how many and how lavishly they are presented? Just asking.

    • There is more detail about such things in the magazine, including information about passions and investments as motivations for their collections. Passion for the vehicles and their preservation dominated the survey far ahead of potential investment values.

  3. First let me say that when I go to a car show, I’m far more interested in seeing some late-model Ford or Chevrolet that somebody bought and restored on a small budget than I am in seeing a multi-million dollar Ferrari that is simply one more notch in the belt of a millionaire. My home-restored Ford Ranger is just such an example of a vehicle that is being done on a very simple budget, but serves as a reminder to us all that one does not need to be a millionaire and have $800 Million to participate in this hobby.
    Now back to my topic. I’m following the generational shift in this hobby very closely. It will be very interesting to see where this hobby goes in the next 20 years. The hobby is changing for a number of factors including generational preferences, and legislative regulation. I think we must all pull our heads out of the sand now and admit that we are experiencing the end of the age of internal combustion engines. I’m prepared to go as far converting my Ranger to propane or CNG, but am I willing to convert it to electric or solar? I think that’s a question all of us are going to have to answer for ourselves, and our own individual collector car, within the next 20-30 years. Within that time, gasoline engines very well could be outlawed. Especially in parts of Europe where such legislation is already on the table. It may take longer in the US, but it will come here.

  4. The sad prediicament the old car hobby finds itself in is that it is no longer a hobby, but a business, one that most of us hobbyists will
    Most likely be excluded from because the cost of entry is just too
    high! Many investors who don’t necessarily like cars see them as excellent investments and because of this weild tremendous power
    Over the direction the"hobby".


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