There are those who use them to race in and those who cover them with their initials, those who show them off at society events and those who hide them away from greedy eyes in their garage: cars are one of the favourite investments among celebrities, and each one enjoys them with a highly personal approach. VIPs typically opt for supercars or vintage cars, often unique models that are recognisable to such an extent that they become as famous as their owners.
ELVIS PRESLEY AND HIS BMW 507
We have already started off against the tide as this is not a collection, but rather Elvis’s car par excellence: the BMW 507. Having only recently been dug up in an old pumpkin storeroom near San Francisco and entirely renovated, and not without difficulty owing to the lack of spare parts, it was brought back to all its original splendour at the Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach in 2016 and was also exhibited at the latest edition of the Concorso di Eleganza Villa d’Este.
Elvis bought the BMW in Frankfurt in 1958 during his military service and had the engine replaced so it could reach 150 HP: the King of rock and roll and his German roadster became a symbol of freedom. Originally white, Elvis had it painted red, because his many fans kept covering it with love messages written with lipstick. Today it is worth more than two million Dollars, also owing to the modest quantity of BMW 507 models still in circulation.
PARIS HILTON AND HER BARBIE PINK BENTLEY
The most famous heiress in the world does not like to go unnoticed, showing off her looks and her lifestyle, so her cars could obviously not be an exception to this rule. Paris Hilton collects luxury cars as if they were shoes, but one car in particular springs to mind: a Bentley Continental GT customised by West Coast Customs, in Barbie pink, with chrome details and black elements.
As she races through Beverly Hills in her Bentley, she makes sure to wear total pink clothing and accessories to match. Even the historic Bentley logo has been modified, with Hilton’s initials instead of the winged "B". But that’s not all: she also has room in her garage for a blue Bentley Continental GT Convertible, a Ferrari California, a Lexus LFA, a Mercedes SLR and many others.
ROWAN ATKINSON AND HIS MC LAREN F1
Forget about Mr. Bean’s lime-coloured Mini with a padlock on the door and a removable steering wheel. Rowan Atkinson is an authentic car fan and an expert driver, so much so that he has written as a freelancer for certain specialist magazines. His collection is truly impressive, and he boasts quite a unique approach: he doesn’t like to define himself as a classic collector, who keeps his unique pieces under lock and key as if they were works in an art gallery; cars come and go from Atkinson’s garage, who buys them, enjoys them and in some cases even sells them on. That’s the story for instance of his Mc Laren F1 which he bought in 1997, with which he had fun for 18 years – so much fun in fact that he actually wrecked it a couple of times – and then sold it at auction for 8 million pounds Sterling. Or of the very rare Lancia Thema 8.32 – there are only about twenty in the whole of the United Kingdom – fitted with a Ferrari engine, which he kept for seven years. Among classic cars, the actor has laid his hands on a Jaguar MK7, a luxury 1950s saloon and a BMW 328 dating back to 1939, which won the Mille Miglia.
RALPH LAUREN AND HIS COLLECTION WORTH $300,000,000
It is almost impossible to pick out his best cars: the designer’s car collection boasts more than 70 models worth approximately 300 million Dollars and it is kept in a garage worth 100 million Dollars. Many of his models were purchased during the Seventies and Eighties, before they reached their crazy current-day ratings: this is the case of the Ferrari 250 GTO, today the most expensive car in the world, which Mr. Lauren bought in the 1980s for “just” 300,000 Dollars.
The Maranello make is his favourite (his luxury garage has room for a generous 11 Ferraris), but his taste ranges across very different models. He has a rare Mercedes-Benz SSK dating back to 1930, the fastest car of its time and the winner of several Concours d’Elegance; or an Alfa Romeo Mille Miglia Spyder from 1938, designed together with the Italian Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera bodyshop; or one of the five models of the McLaren F1 LM (Le Mans) version; or even a legendary Bentley 4 ½ Litre Blower from 1929.
ELLEN DEGENERES AND HER MONO-MARQUE PASSION
When it comes to engines, the American comedienne only has one true love. Although one might see her driving around in a Ferrari California or the Land Rover Defender which was a gift to her wife Portia (here’s a little spoiler: her favourite make has a very similar name), there is only one car manufacturer which Ms. Degeneres will not miss a single model of, and that’s Porsche. Among others, she owns a 933 from the early 1990s, a Panamera, a Targa 4S, a high-end version of the 911 worth 150,000 Dollars, a Porsche Cayenne S and a few 911 models in various colours. The TV host has also often gifted brand new cars to some lucky members of the audience of her show, including a Mazda CX-9 and a Mercedes Benz CLA 250.
THE KARDASHIANS AND THEIR BIRTHDAY SUPERCARS
The sisters from the most exaggerated family on American TV couldn’t possibly fail to have an equally exaggerated fleet of cars. A vintage car is an accessory like any other for the top model Kendall, who owns a Corvette Stingray convertible dating back to 1957, a 1965 Mustang, a Camaro GTO and many others. She and Kylie have also bought themselves two identical Ferraris but in two different colours. Kylie also likes to buy herself cars, such as the 200,000-Dollar Land Rover for her nineteenth birthday or the Mercedes Maybach she received on the same day.
For the birth of her daughter, she received a Ferrari La Ferrari, whose price starts at 1.4 million Dollars. Her older sisters are just as big spenders: Kim enjoys customising her cars by adapting them to her image, such as the white Range Rover HSE with pink details; but she also has a Ferrari 458 Italia, several Mercedes, Lamborghini and many other models together with her husband Kanye West. Matching cars are also the norm for Kourtney and Khloe, who among others have two twin Mercedes off-road models; without worrying much about practicality, Khloe also bought herself a Range Rover covered in black velvet.