Exotic automobiles are beautiful machines. They are also expensive, challenging to drive, and sometimes troublesome to operate. As a Ferrari-owning executive at Ford Motor Company, Torbin Fuller, now the CEO of Club Sportiva, reasoned that the growth of time sharing for yachts, vacation homes and aircraft meant that there would be a market for automobile time sharing as well. After all, according to Fuller, the typical exotic automobile is driven just fourteen days a year. And four years ago he left Ford to turn his vision into reality in the San Francisco Bay area - one of the world's most beautiful places to drive.
Today, Club Sportiva members share a dozen very interesting vehicles, including a Lotus Elise, Maserati Spyder, two Ferraris and an Aston Martin DB9 Volante. Each is available by the day for a predetermined number of points, which are earned from membership fees that start at $3,500 annually. The entry fee provides twelve days a year access to vehicles that cost less than $125,000. Fees for the most popular membership levels range from $7,500 to $25,000 annually, accommodating more useage and more expensive vehicles.
Those fees buy a high caliber user experience that may be better than exotic car ownership. The club is aimed at people (20% of the members are women) who appreciate cars rather than hard-core car geeks. So, as you might expect, the cars are impeccably maintained and supported with around the clock roadside service. Most of them are replaced every nine months, so the available experiences are always changing. And there are car fleets for travelling members in locations such as Las Vegas and Munich.
The Club Sportiva clubhouse is a garage full of original artworks, with lounges, a small dining area and conference facilities and when the members are not actually driving they enjoy weekly social activities ranging from poker nights and winemaker dinners to road rallies and charitable events. But, first and foremost, the club is about the cars. Torbin and I shared that DB9 while we talked, with the top open and the exhaust rumbling in the sunshine.
Where do I sign?