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Nate Chapnick over at ForbesAuto.com is either terribly resourceful or amazingly persistent, as he's gone to the trouble of ringing up DMVs around the U.S. in order to find out what car keys America's billionaires secret in their suit pockets.

Judging by a list that includes far more prosaic iron than one might think, perhaps being a plain-ol' millionaire is somehow a more liberating existence. Okay, so perhaps the aformentioned Volvo, a 1993 240 GL owned by Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad makes some sense. But c'mon: Paul Allen of Microsoft's got nothing better to trundle about in than a 1988 Mazda B-Series? Somehow we doubt he'd even let his maid roll curbside to snag the day's Wall Street Journal, let alone use the aging pickup as his daily driver.

Mind you, even though we're all for being thrifty and not throwing our billions on chrome-plated Lamborghinis (you'd never suspect that Autoblog editors command ten-figure salaries from a peek into our garages), we still can't wrap our heads around fellow Microsoftian Steven Ballmer's 1998 Lincoln Continental.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 27 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      I am literally LOLing (but not really).

      Point is, you have $10,000,000,000, a $100,000 car (Lexus LS430 and a decade of gas, insurance, repairs, etc.) is 1/100,000th of your fortune!!!

      I was not being literal by using literally - just making the point that even a 'nice' car just means NOTHING at the end of the day, you will NEVER, EVER notice the cost. Be like me taking a dime from somebody here to get you something 'nice' in return. It means NOTHING.

      Oh, and I pick up loose change other people in my house drop, so that says something ;)
      • 9 Years Ago
      Ingvar Kamprad doesn't need anything faster then a 240 Volvo. All of Sweden's rich have a mysterious German named Dietrich who offers to drive them around.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Having known a few people worth $100+ million, this isn't really a surprise at all - the two wealthiest people I know both drive late-model domestic pickups (one chevy, one ford). I think part of the reason is that once you get to a certain point you really don't care about image - you'd rather blend in with the crowd. Also, since they pretty much have every toy they could possibly want, the pickups give them a way to tow them around.

      From personal experience, it seems that exotics are mainly bought by those concerned about image - sports stars, actors, things like that.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Autoblog has editors?
      • 9 Years Ago
      This is why the old money, rich in U.S. like to drive Buicks and Grand Marquis. None of that bling, flashy European or Asian "obvious wealth" look for them. It's the Tiger Woods and Martha Stewart fans, the wealthy who don't want to be garish. No one wants to make a big splash pulling up to The Club, that would be talked about for years.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Don't forget that most rich people don't put anything in their name and put it in their companies name for taxes or lawsuits. Have someone check the cars that their companies own and I'm sure you'll see a difference.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "If you are a billionaire, the Lexus is literally FREE"

      I see someone who doesn't know what "literally" means. Unless, of course, Lexus will actually give you a vehicle if you provide evidence of having a total worth in excess of $1,000,000,000 US dollars.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Robert (#15), very nice reference that nobody else picked up on. I almost choked on my coffee.
      • 9 Years Ago
      I would think if anything, if you are THAT rich, you would spend what is needed to keep you SAFE.

      Sure, the Volvo is safe.

      However, would you rather get t-boned at a intersection in a 1988 Mazda pickup...or a Lexus LS430? If you are a billionaire, the Lexus is literally FREE, and it would not turn a lot of heads.

      If I was that rich, I would want to be SAFE - all the money in the world can't help you if you die in a wreck in your POS car.
      • 9 Years Ago
      my ONLY conclusion from this is... Not many of these richest guys are car nuts, like readers of autoblog. hey maybe they drive crappy cars, but spend billions on other stuff that you wouldn't think twice about even if you had the money.

      you guys should've profiled the cars in the garage of sultan of brunai...

      c'mon, be honest, how many of you that frequent this board would NOT go out and buy that dream car of yours if you have as much money as these guys. the only guys i see that qualifies as car guys are gates and that other dude.. they both own 959's and that, is sign of a guy who knows something about cars.
      • 9 Years Ago
      We're all forgetting a simple fact of life when you're a billionaire:

      You dont HAVE to drive anywhere.

      Ikea's founder takes the bus, which im guessing is an anomaly... but I'll bet a penny the rest of them have drivers, pilots, and captains to shuffle them from yacht-home-office-dinner-palace etc.
      • 9 Years Ago

      Paul Allen also drives a Ferrari 550 Maranello, amongst other things.
      Bill Gates typically drives a new Lexus LS, but has Porsches for fun.
      Steve Ballmer's father was an executive at Lincoln, and Steve always drives Lincoln's. He never even considers other cars.
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