Running a car is an expensive business. I should know: with my extremely late BOTW still in pieces waiting for a back ordered part, my credit card has been kept busy with the other household motors. But spare a thought for those somewhat luckier than us mortals: The rich. The UK may be experiencing a ‘dip’ at the moment yet the super rich still spend, spend and spend some more on their treasured cars. Now, just mixing with the upper class requires the right place and right time scenario but a few weekends ago I attended the Salon Privé, the ultimate supercar tea party in London. Now in its fourth year, this event has become the place to go if you really want to get up close and personal with some of the most exotic machinery available. Set in the grounds of the famous Hurlingham Club on the banks of the Thames near Fulham, some of the attendees included the new Aston Martin One-77 plenty of Bugatti Veyrons, Koeniggsegg’s and a collection of sport and classics. But apart from wearing a hot suit all day it was the chance to talk to the owners that was the highlight. OK, so you have to have a few hundred spare just to get in (£150 to be exact) and take advantage of the quite excellent hospitality on offer, but nowhere else (apart from being a supercar owner) do you get the chance to talk on a normal level with some very lucky owners.
Sure enough, most of the day is spent walking round the grounds gorping at the fantastic array of metal (120 in all) and unlike a roped-off motorshow stand there’s no barriers getting in the way here. As most of the “privileged” public mooch around and snap away on their i-phones the majority of the owners are happy to chat all day long. I knew owning either a rare or must-have supercar would certainly stretch the purse strings but having found out for real, I’m really shocked especially as you get up to the likes of an Enzo or Porsche Carrera GT. Funnily enough, my must have supercar, the Bugatti Veyron, seemed over shadowed this year but I managed to track down one owner who was happy to reveal all.
He’s owned his since new and instead of selling it on two years ago to cash a profit it’s still soldiering on despite racking up a few miles. Although still over the moon, he tells me when he first realised that owning a Veyron wouldn’t be easy, even by his very substantial bank account. “First was the initial million euros plus taxes, then after I’d sat down to sign the order the guy at Bugatti told me about the ongoing running costs”. “He said that if I were to keep it the first service would set me back £13,645. This is because it takes so long to check all the systems on the car as most customers would use its stealth mode to test its 252 mph top speed in the first week of ownership”. Thirteen grand is to my knowledge the most expensive first service on any car to date and to make it more unimaginable, the next service would be over £20,000. “Not only that, because the tyres are made to withstand its ferocious performance they have to be replaced every 2,500 miles at £6,325 each plus. The wheels also have to be changed every 7,500 miles costing a smidge under £30,000” “You can’t shop around either as the tyres and wheels are only made by Bugatti and you have to go to their HQ in France to get them fitted”.
Needless to say, I know a Jaguar XJ220 owner whose car has only covered 700 miles but she says that the first service on that is near on £7,000. But, both are absolutely smitten with their pride and joy’s and wouldn’t sell them for love nor money.
So I suppose if you’ve got it you might as well flaunt it, even if a Veyron over 4 years of ownership would set you back over £56,000 in service costs alone and over £100,000 in tyres.