Yesterday I took delivery of a Lotus Esprit V8 twin turbo. Usually I write about real estate investing or being a real estate agent, but I also love cars. While most people think of cars as transportation or a depreciating asset, they can also be an investment. I bought my Lamborghini Diablo in May of 2014 and that car has almost doubled in value. I think the Lotus has the same potential to go up in value. Not only can cars be an investment, but you can buy them below market value just like houses.
How did I get my love for exotic cars?
I have loved cars since I was a small child. I remember my sister buying me a book when I was 6 called the World’s Fastest Cars, which was published in 1985. I loved that book, and thought it was the coolest present ever. In fact, I still have the book, although it is a bit worn! Looking at the first page it has a picture of a Lotus Esprit, which shows how much our childhood affects us when we grow up. I loved cars before I got that book, but it really solidified the love of exotics in me.
I also loved Lamborghini’s, and that book featured a Lamborghini Countach. I have always wanted a Countach, but they are super rare and super expensive. I loved Lamborghini Diablo’s as well, and made a goal to buy one on this blog in 2013. I bought that Diablo for $126,000 in 2014 and it’s worth about $200,000 now. Although I have always loved exotic cars, and ended up buying some, I got to a point in my 20’s where I never believed it would happen.
How did I lose and gain back the belief that I could have an exotic car?
I have always loved exotic cars and told myself I would own a Lamborghini all through my childhood. Even in college I was sure I was going to have an exotic car soon after graduating, even if I had no idea how to pay for it or what kind of job I wanted. After college I was making okay money as a real estate agent and occasionally flipping a house with my father. However, I was not saving any money or getting ahead in life. I had no rental properties at the time, and was very frustrated with how things were going. Along the way I had lost my desire and belief that I would own an exotic car. It was not that I had grown up and lost those childhood dreams. I convinced myself I did not want the cars because I did not believe I would ever be able to afford them.
I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself. I would stop letting things happen to me, and make them happen for me. I ended up making some goals on accident, found my niche as a real estate agent in REO, and started to take control of my life. As I became more successful, I realized maybe my dreams to own a Lamborghini were not so far-fetched. I started investing in rental properties, which was an awesome choice and things got even better. In 2013 I took a huge leap and bought the real estate team and flipping business from my father. All of a sudden I realized I could have an exotic car in a few years.
I was not planning to buy the Diablo so soon, but the perfect car came along in the start of 2014. I bought the Diablo knowing it was a great deal, and because I was making a few thousand dollars a month from my rentals. A few thousand dollars won’t buy you an exotic car, but I knew that money would keep coming in every month forever. I was also making a great income from my flips and real estate team. I felt comfortable enough financially to buy the Lamborghini and I thought it was an awesome deal. I buy all of my houses well below market value and try to do the same with my cars as well. I bought the Diablo without ever seeing it or driving it in person. It was an awesome car that I still love, and most likely I will never sell. Not only did the car satisfy a childhood dream, but it helped me work harder and smarter in my business so that I could afford it.
How and why did I buy the Lotus Esprit?
The Lotus is a lot less expensive than the Lamborghini, but still a big purchase. I know people spend a lot of money on cars, but I have never bought a brand new car. My daily driver is 7 years old (Audi S4), and I don’t like buying things that lose value. I did not have an immediate plan to buy a Lotus, but I have always wanted one. I keep my eyes on Ebay for cars I like, and I saw this car come up for sale. It was my favorite color, a good year, in great shape, and reasonably priced. They made less Esprit’s than they made Diablo’s, they are super fast, and I think are really good looking.
I bought a few pieces of property last year that I was not specifically looking for as well. I bought a high end flip that got me way out of my comfort zone, and I bought vacant land that I thought about turning into a subdivision. They were both great investments that made me money, and ironically I sold the high-end flip the day before I bought the Lotus. I thought a car would be a good reward for making a $130,000 on one deal.
I tried to bid on the Lotus on Ebay, but I did not have a verified account and Ebay would not let me bid as much as I needed too. The bid ended at $30,000, which did not meet the reserve. I emailed the seller and he said they just sold the Esprit for $39,000! I was disappointed, because I had not seen a car like this come up for sale in years. The next day the seller emailed me and said the buyer backed out and the car was available. I talked to a friend who works on my Diablo and happens to have 80 cars including 11 Esprit’s! He looked over the videos, the pictures, maintenance records, and told me it was a good deal. I ended up buying the car that day for $38,000 without seeing it in person or ever having ridden in a Lotus. The first time I ever rode in a Lotus was the first time I drove the car after it was shipped from Texas.
How does the Lotus Esprit compare to the Lamborghini Diablo?
The Lamborghini is an awesome car. I drove a Diablo for the first time after I bought the car and it was shipped to me as well. I was expecting a creaky, noisy, hard to see out of, hard to shift car after reading reviews about them. I was completely surprised when the car was easy to drive, easy to see out of (relatively), was really tight, and the only noise was the wonderful v12 behind my head.
I do not have a video of the Esprit yet, but it is a completely different car. It is what I expected the Lamborghini to be like. The clutch is super sensitive, the steering is a little different, and it is hard to see out of. However, the car is incredibly fast, sounds great, and is a blast to drive once you get used to it. I also need to get the car checked out by my mechanic to make sure everything is working right. The Esprit is actually tougher for me to fit in as well (I am almost 6-2). The Lamborghini is a better car, and more exotic, but it is also worth 6 times as much and cost 3 times as much new ($250,000 versus $85,000).
Do I feel like a jerk having multiple exotic cars?
I have some people ask me how I handle people who get pissed off for having nice cars. The truth is I hardly ever get bad feedback on my Lamborghini. People love it when they see it in person, they ask to take pictures, they talk to me about it, and I enjoy sharing it. In fact, I have met many great people thanks to the car who have helped my business. It was tough for me to buy the Lamborghini because I was worried about what people would think. I realized that I could not live my life according to what people think of me, who I do not even know. Since I bought the car it has been much more positive than I thought and I don’t pay attention to the haters. You cannot please everybody all the time.
I have a huge passion for cars and they have helped make me more successful. The more passionate you are about your work or goals, the more successful you will be. I don’t just love the cars for their beauty, power, and uniqueness, but also for what they represent. I have many more goals and many more cars I want to buy (many of them from the book my sister bought me). The problem right now is garage space, and that is one reason why I am looking to buy a large commercial property.