Let's Take The Lamborghini
Being able to say, "let's take the Lamborghini" must be one of the most grin-inducing sentences ever, but your wallet may be left wincing as it counts the cost of insurance, depreciation and maintenance. This is why the popularity of asset-sharing car clubs has soared in recent years, promoting access to classic and supercars for a fixed membership cost.
The specifics vary, but the basic premise is the same; a yearly fee gives you an allocation of points that can be used against a fleet of cars owned, maintained and insured by a club. The amount of points used depends on the category of the car (more points means more desirable and expensive metal), whether you want to drive on weekdays or weekends (more points for the latter) and the time of year (less points for the winter months and more for the summer). But this is all mere trifling detail-what of the cars?!
If classic cars are your thing, then the Old Street-based Classic Car Club can service your needs. Vehicles range from the perfect transport for a picnic in the country in way of an MG Roadster through modern classic Ferraris and up to potential future classics, such as the V8 brawn of Ford's current Mustang. Compared to supercar offerings, the fleet itself consists of more modestly priced automotive pleasures, so the membership is surprisingly affordable, with full-access membership starting from £3,750. The Classic Car Club also has other branches throughout the UK and in the US.
Based in the same handy central London location are supercar club écurie25. Their cars are separated into three categories, F3 through to F1. There are pulse-quickening sports offerings, such as the sublime Lotus Exige in the base category, through to über-saloons and extreme sports represented by the BMW M5 and TVR Sagaris, respectively, in F2, right up to the top tier featuring Lamborghinis in both Gallardo and Murcielago flavours, the Ferrari F430 F1 Spider, the Bentley Continental GT and Aston Martin's DB9, amongst many other glittering automotive jewels. Their order books are looking pretty full for 2007, with the Audi R8 and Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder amongst many other latest releases set to swell the ranks. Costs for membership compare favourably with their peer firms; first-year membership costs just over £9,000, which offers an average of between 40 and 50 days behind the wheel and a mileage allowance of 5,000 miles. There are also options of instalment payments and half-point-allocation memberships.
Sticking with supercars is the granddaddy of the scene, P1 International, now entering their seventh year. Their stock list features pretty much any car that you will have drooled over on Top Gear, with their fleet ranging from the stripped out road-racer thrills of the Caterham Roadsport SV to the bouncer in a sharp suit of Aston Martin's V8 Vantage and peaking with the latest from Ferrari in the form of the 599 GTB Fiorano. Obviously, such a broad range of choice comes at a cost and basic membership, compulsory driving tuition and the joining fee means that the price tips the scales at around £15k, although this will see you with, on average, over 50 days of driving pleasure. Unfortunately, for those who like to decide on the spur of the moment to skip the train home in favour of piloting something a bit special, P1 are based in Leatherhead (there is also a P1 North branch) and, although free delivery is included, just try finding a space outside the office!
If you are not looking for the longer-term commitment of an asset-sharing club, Scottish specialist car outfit Rio Prestige offer sports and supercars on a one-off hire basis. Their range covers the usual suspects and there is a membership system that allows you to access to hypercar nirvana, such as the Pagani Zonda and Koenigsegg CC8S, amongst others. As you may have guessed, this does not come cheap, but they are not exactly the kind of thing you can just pop down to Hertz and get your hands on!
Check out the links on Fractional Life for full pricing and contact details and make up your own mind.