Most of us dread the process of getting a rental car; having to wait at the desk, fill out all the paperwork, and undergo the barrage of ‘additions’ the agent happens to be peddling that day. Suffering through all of that, you pray that you actually get the car you reserved, and that whatever car you get isn’t dismal, before driving off in the foreign smelling box that is now ‘yours’. Taking a quizzical sniff of your new ride, you think to yourself that there should be a better way; that there must be a better way. Over the past decade, various companies have been using developing technology to evolve the car rental experience: Turo lets anyone rent anyone’s car, while Uber and Lyft seek to be ubiquitous enough to negate the need for renting a car in some cases.
In most of these solutions, you still face a few of the same realities of the traditional rental car experience: you don’t know exactly what to expect, and the cars on offer tend to be of the value proposition. One alternative to traditional car renting doesn’t necessarily use technology for its business model, nor does it forgo much of the paperwork and what-not of a traditional rental car. Despite this, the alternative of renting an exotic car seems to promise better product, as well as an overall experience. In my recent trip to Las Vegas I decided to try the exotic rental car experience—I had already done Turo—and choose YouTuber superspeederob’s old company, Gotham Dream Cars.
Exotic car renting is a fairly blanket term which can mean a number of things. While the term ‘exotic’ brings thoughts of expensive and out-of-reach materials and objects, generally speaking, in the rental world it is referring to cars that are expensive or premium in some way. Saying that, there are a few unavoidable facts that renting an exotic car bring with it. First among these is the increased cost renting an exotic car will incur: after all, you have to pay to play. Second, partly involved in the first, is the high deposit that most companies will require: the car costs quite a bit, so they need some insurance on their part. Third, also related to cost, is the fact that most companies do not offer insurance or damage waivers, instead requiring the renter’s insurance to cover any damage costs. Lastly, mileage limits will be in place, enforced, and lower than you want.
I know I just painted a pretty bleak picture, however almost all of those factors have benefits associated with them as well. Regarding the high renting cost, the tradeoff is the service you can expect from the renting company, as well as the quality of the product you are receiving. Rather than having to pick between a ‘Yaris or similar’ or a ‘Camry or similar’, you get to pick the exact car you want, generally of the caliber like ‘Audi R8’ or ‘Bentley Continental’. In terms of service, most companies will try and cater to your needs, and make your rental as easy as possible. Drop-off and pick-up will more than likely be able to be scheduled on your time, and they will come to you to both bring the car and pick up the car afterwards.
A blocking factor to many people, that can’t really be overcome without working hard and saving money, is the high initial deposit many companies will require. I rented an Audi R8 Spyder V10, from 2011, and my overall rental cost was around $2,000 for two days, on the weekend. High, but doable for many people, in the spirit of having a good time. The deposit I was required to submit before I rented the car, however, was even higher, at $5,000 even. When you compare the cost of $5,000 to the initial cost of around $150,000 for the car overall, this deposit makes much more sense. Also important to keep in mind, is that if you drive responsibly, and have a bit of requisite luck on your side, you will get that deposit back. Always make sure that if the unthinkable were to happen, and you damage the car and lose your deposit, you can afford to lose the cost of the deposit.
Scary to some people, is the fact that your insurance may be on the line if something unfortunate were to happen. While this will vary from company to company, most will protect their car and cover it in the event of accidents where the fault does not lie with the renter. Generally, the renters insurance will only be involved in the event that the fault lies with the driver of the exotic rental. Again, using the same logic as previously—that if you drive responsibly, and have a bit of requisite luck on your side—your insurance will never know you rented an exotic car, and you will have returned a perfectly pristine (or as pristine as you got it at least) exotic car.
Mileage limits with rental cars require a bit of math, and will depend entirely on the policy of that company, with that particular car: the rarer, more expensive to maintain the car, the stricter the mileage limits may be. In my case, I was afforded 100 miles a day, totaling 200 miles, with each mile over ringing in at $1.29. Now, there is no denying that $1.29 a mile is eye-wateringly steep, especially in a car that can cover miles as quickly as the R8 V10 I rented: every gallon of gas I burned cost over $20 in fuel and fees. It is insanely crazy when compared to normal operating costs of vehicles.
Pay them. Pay the fees. If you are having enough fun, and spending enough seat time in the car, then it is always, always, worth it to pay for the extra miles. When comparing the fixed costs of the rental vs. the cost per mile, the reasoning becomes clear. No matter what, you are going to pay a large sum of money for the rental–$2,000 in my case—and you should use it as much as you can. In my case, 100 extra miles would cost $129, less than 7% of the total rental fee. The fun I would assumedly gain from those 100 miles would assumedly be worth it: either in the sense of having fun or the convenience of driving those miles provides.
While I have focused on the financial aspect of renting an exotic car, which can be intimidating, there are other factors which can deter would-be renters. The two main deterrents are the generally fast, expensive—potentially scary—nature of the cars being rented, as well as an assumed clientele, and the concern that you don’t ‘fit in’. I am here to say, both of those are non-issues, if they ever were in the first place. On the topic of ‘assumed clientele’ some people may assume only ‘fancy’ and ‘rich’ people rent from these companies, and that is who the company likes to deal with. That may be a large percentage of their clientele, but the reality is, is if you have the money and a clean driving record, they will happily rent you a car, and treat you just as nicely as they treat their other paying clients.
The nervousness that may be brought on from the exotic, speedy nature of the cars is another easy ‘issue’ to overcome. In the simplest terms, if you are renting a fast car, the car is only as fast as you drive it. If you are nervous that the car may be ‘too fast’, then drive around like a grandma for a little while. Pretty soon you will realize that the modern exotic car—rentals will almost always be less than 10 or 15 years old—is an extremely fast machine, but is also extremely docile and controllable. If you put your foot into at the wrong moment, yes, you may go into a wall; however, the previous advice of driving responsibly, and have a bit of requisite luck on your side still holds true in regards to actually driving the car.
If you end up renting an exotic car, there is really only one sentence of advice that you need to remember; have fun, don’t crash. I can’t recommend any particular company, because I only have the experience with the one, but from my research, they will all generally be legally the same. Have any questions on the process? Comment down below or send me a message through the comment form. Like and share the article with your friends to help me out!
I recently recieved a degree in History from the University of Nevada, Reno.