Cars of the Rich and Famous

What If you were one of the world’s richest human beings, what kind of car would you own? The richest man in the world, Carlos Slim Helu (worth about $69 billion), drives himself to work in a Bentley Continental Flying Spur. MSRP: $300K.

On the other hand, if you were Ingvar Kamprad, founder of Ikea, you’d drive something more humble like a 1993 Volvo 240. We wonder if he had to put it together himself.

Then there’s Bill Gates. Another of the world’s wealthiest people, Mr. Gates showed a video at the 2008 CES keynote of him driving away from his last day at work at Microsoft in a Ford Focus. While that may or may not be his daily driver, one of his cars has been well documented.

In 1999, President Clinton signed into law the “Show and Display” rule that exempted certain collectible cars from government emission and crash worthiness rules. Bill Gates and several other very rich motor nuts were instrumental in getting the law passed. The exemption allowed Gates to break his Porsche 959 free from the customs impound lot after more than a decade.

With spots on Forbes’ richest people list, these billionaires are going places. But it turns out their favorite modes of transportation are as varied as the ways they got all that money in the bank to begin with. One housewares entrepreneur drives a car that would sell for only about $1,500, while a certain software mogul could sell his car for $4.4 million. That’s enough for four dream houses. Some of these vehicles are stars on their own, while others are only notable because of the billionaire behind the wheel.

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Carlos Slim Helu is the world’s richest man, according to Forbes. The Mexican telecom giant drives himself to work in his Bentley Continental Flying Spur. But don’t let his modest driving habit fool you: the price tag on the car is more than most houses at about $300,000.

Bill Gates’ Porsche 959 Coupe is one of only 230 in the world. It took a federal law signed by then-president Bill Clinton to allow the billionaire to drive the car because there was no crash-test rating. The price for such a car? $225,000 when new, they now go for well over $400,000.

Alice Walton, heiress of the Wal-Mart fortune, is the second-richest woman in the world. But her car of choice is a simple 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch. The trucks retail at around $40,000. With her DUI arrest last year, it might be better that she stick to inexpensive cars.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, member of the Saudi royal family, drives a Rolls-Royce Phantom. The entry level version of the prince’s car costs $246,000, while an upscale version a royal would surely need is a cool $447,000.

Ingvard Kamprad is the founder of Ikea and is worth an estimated $28 billion. But his ride of choice is as humble as the furniture he sells: a 1993 Volvo 240. If the car sold today, it would only be worth about $1500.

New York’s mayor and financial data mogul Michael Bloomberg drives an Audi R8. The swanky car retails at $120,000 and goes from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds.

Billionaire Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle, is famous for his many cars. Among his most prestigious is this McLaren F1. In 1998, the car was declared the fastest ever to hit the road and its invention is seen as revolutionary. Production of the cars stopped that year and now they can fetch up to $4.1 million each.

Warren Buffett is one of the world’s richest men, but his frugality is as well-known as his bank account. The investor drives a Cadillac DTS, which he purchased to support then-flailing American company General Motors. The car retails for around $45,000.

Mark Zuckerberg is often seen in a black Acura TSX. The young billionaire has among the cheapest of the rides: the car is valued at about $30,000.

Laptop mogul Michael Dell drives an edgy, 2004 Porsche Boxter. Although a new model could cost you well above $80,000, you could buy this model used for under $20,000.

Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer is one of the world’s richest men but went for a fairly modest car. He’s seen here with the CEO of Ford, taking possession of the Hybrid Fusion. The car retails for about $19,000–well within the budget for a new family car.

Nike founder Phil Knight has a $120,000 Audi R8. Knight, however, went for a bolder approach and got a black model with a contrasting silver sideblade. A Nike employee snapped his car, seen here, at the company’s headquarters in Oregon.

Super-rich clothier heir Francois-Henri Pinault shares this Lexus SUV with his gorgeous wife, Salma Hayek. New models run at about $40,000 without customizations.

Laurene Powell Jobs, widow of the legendary Apple founder Steve, drives a silver Audi A5 that’s often seen parked outside the family’s home in Palo Alto. As a billionaire, she can easily afford the $37,000 starting price.

Google tycoon Eric Schmidt has the most modest car of all: a Toyota Prius. The environmentally-friendly cars start at just $11,000. But don’t expect it to last–Schmidt has often spoken about the automated cars of the future.

 

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