Cars have been part of people’s subconscious for decades. We use them for many things: basic commuting to work or school, traveling for vacation, and transporting cargo or people. Sometimes we even use them just for showing off. Cars can make our hearts race and pulses pound. Exotic ones, the ones priced so far out of the average person’s realm of possibility, hold an even greater appeal. They are a symbol of wealth, excess, and success. They turn heads when seen rumbling down a city street or gliding down the freeway. Often, the exotic car is more famous or more desirable than the celebrity or wealthy person driving it.
Here are several incredible cars and the rich, famous people who drive them. Each person is well-known, as is the car. The question is, of course, which is more famous: the person or the car?
Larry Ellison’s McLaren F1
Larry Ellison is the co-founder and CEO of Oracle, the world-famous computer technology company. But Ellison’s 1995 McLaren F1 is arguably more famous to those in the know. At the time of its creation, the McLaren F1 was considered a revolutionary invention and, in 1998, it was proclaimed the fastest street legal car ever. Silver with black interior and one of only a hundred built, the F1 was reportedly purchased by Ellison for just under $800,000. If you have the means to buy one now, it would probably set you back at least $3.75 million, as that was the price it fetched at an auction in 2010. To the consternation of car lovers everywhere, production on the car stopped in 1998.
Phil Knight’s Audi R8
Phil Knight, Nike founder and University of Oregon super fan and benefactor, is one of the most recognizable people in the world. The Audi R8 he drives, which retails for $120,000, is quite well known, too. However, never content to do anything mundane, Knight not only has a shiny black R8, but he also acquired one with a contrasting silver sideblade just behind the doors over the rear wheelwell, which gives a bolder look to a car that already turns heads on general principles.
The Gates 959
Bill Gates is also one of the most famous people in the world. Co-founder and head of Microsoft, you know he has to drive something outlandish, given his living in a huge compound on Lake Washington in the state of Washington. His car is even more well-known by auto enthusiasts the world over. Dubbed the “Gates 959”, his Porsche 959 Coupe is an incredible car because it’s only one of 230 in the world.
When imported into the U.S. during the mid-1980s, the car had no crash-test rating. This meant it wasn’t approved by the Environmental Protection Agency or the Department of Transportation. So, it was stored for nearly fifteen years at the Port of Seattle by Customs. Gates wasn’t able to drive it until then-President Bill Clinton signed the “Show and Display” law in 1999. This allowed Gates to finally drive this incredible car, though according to the bill’s stipulations, with severe limitations. Priced at $225,000 new, it now is worth north of $400,000.