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.”
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:
- Miles Collier
- Fred Simeone
- Evert Louwman
- Peter Mullin
- Ralph Lauren
- Arturo Keller
- Larry Auriana
- Samuel Robson “Rob” Walton
- Albert Spiess
- 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.