• Apr 6th 2009 at 4:27PM
  • 15
While the idea of the supercar club has yet to take hold here in The Colonies, across the Atlantic in jolly old England, the notion developed into a popular alternative to the costly prospect of owning and maintaining high-priced exotica. The idea, in a nutshell, was to provide customers with the opportunity to occasionally borrow vehicles from a stable of supercars. Since most privately-owned supercars sit around unused most of the time, membership in a supercar club seemed – and, for a while, was – a logical alternative, offering most of the benefits with none of the hassle.

Unfortunately, the weakened global economy has meant that many of these supercar clubs have had to close down. With membership dropping and fleets of supercars losing their value, these businesses haven't been able to stay afloat. Over the course of the past year, Seagrave, Group 20 and Club Velociter – all supercar clubs based in the UK – shut down, and now the grand-daddy of them all, P1, has gone into court-administered bankruptcy.

P1 International was the first such club, founded in 2000 by former F1 world champion Damon Hill and business partner Michael Breen, and it was arguably the most successful, with 300 members and a fleet of 40 supercars – including Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Porsches, Aston Martins and Bentleys – in two locations. Hill, now the president of the British Racing Drivers' Club, withdrew from the company three years ago, but claimed he was still owed money. A legal battle ensued, resulting in the club being put into bankruptcy by local courts. What this will mean for the club's members remains to be seen, but with used supercar values in the dumpster, it is reasonable to think that some well-used Astons and Ferraris will be up for grabs in short order.

[Sources: F1-Live and Car]

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Not surprised, the UK is a total mess, and considering the average fey Brit, I'm sure there isn't too much demand for super cars.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Yes, well let me toss my hat in the ring that our company, DRIV - Luxury Car Club (www.clubdriv.com), had flat sales for the second half of '08. We started of really strong since my business partner and I had quite a bit of experience in the industry prior to launching the company. So we're now in the process of joining forces with the NEW OWNERS of Club Sportiva - the grandaddy in the U.S. movement.

      It really is a great concept and value compared to ownership but dammit, when values on exotics dropped 40% over a six month period it was cheaper for our prospective members to buy these cars vs. joining a club. Eh, cest la vie.

      Sorry for your loss Mr. Hill - you were an inspiration...
      • 6 Years Ago
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      • 6 Years Ago
      P1 also had branches in Australia, one in each of Melbourne and Sydney. They would set up a little stall outside of the offices of the large investment banks on bonus-day (they mostly paid bonuses on the same day) and siphon 20 or 30 grand from the bankers as they left (presumably on their way to spend an equivalently large amount at the local bar).
      • 6 Years Ago
      It would be nice to have a club like that around here...
        • 6 Years Ago
        No well I mean for normal folk to drive a supercar at least once in their life...
        • 6 Years Ago
        so it can go bankrupt too?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't tell you how dissapointed I was when Ford lost Aston Martin, Jaguar and Land Rover (especially to India) , but, apparently, it was for a good reason as they have halved their debts by over $9.5Billion and these 3 auto companies weren't profitable anyway.

      Even the world's auto companies had no idea how bad the recession would be - had Ford not sold off these three marquees when they did, right now they'd be in worse shape than Chrysler.

      Ford seems to be making brilliant moves left and right.

        • 6 Years Ago
        Especially to India? Did you ever think that now that Jag and LR belong to TaTa (which have HUGE reserves of cash) that both these famous brands won't have to borrow switchgear from a Ford Fiesta and such?

        I seriously doubt the Indian holders will try to have their TaTa technology in the LR and Jags of tomorrow... More the opposite.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's really sad what has happened to UK's auto industry... Is the US heading the same way?
        • 6 Years Ago
        You mean the UK's indigenous industry - the UK's motor industry still employs the best part of a million people.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Hello I really liked reading this article and the fractional ownership concept seems perfect for me In doing some more online research I came across this website which I’ve also found useful www.fractionallife.com/fractional_supercars.asp
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think the club membership business model for supercars is very challenging. The cost of buying the car, plus all the running costs means that the cost of membership is relatively high. This may suit people who understand exactly what it costs to buy the cars outright, maybe because they’ve previously owned outright, but the price still seems very high to people who just want a taste of the high life. At the same time it is always difficult to work out a sensible points/cost model that allows people to have the car when they want. Often these become terribly complex.

      For those people that could afford the car outright, but can’t justify the cost, I think the best way forward to to find two or three like-minded people with a compatible requirement and buy the car together, thus reducing the costs substantially. Websites like http://www.yours2share.com enable you to find suitable partners. For those who just want a taste, I recommend they simply hire the cars by the day.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There are plenty of these types of "clubs" here in the states. Over here they're referred to as fractional ownership.
      • 6 Years Ago

      Sums up the economy, I guess.
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