Awhile back I was introduced to a gentleman by the name of Rick Gaan, we were strolling through his humble collection of Porsches when he asked if I had heard of Club Sportiva. I told him I’ve seen them around local track events and automobile gatherings but really had little knowledge of what they actually were. This was where he explained ‘the ownership alternative.’
For those who do not know Club Sportiva is one of the leading exotic car clubs within the United States. It’s members decide on which vehicles to acquire and which cars to retire. Rather then commit to a long term lease or 5 years worth of payments on a new Ferrari or Lamborghini they pay annual dues to Sportiva to access a garage worth north of $1,000,000 and are stuck with none of the headaches associated with exotic ownership as Club Sportiva takes care of all maintenance, wear and tear items, as well as storage and insurance. Not to mention, there’s no long term commitment for those with commitment phobias.
They had a private party late last year which I had the distinct pleasure to attend. There was everything from a track junky’s wet dream, the Lotus Elise, to the expected Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Gallardo to the brand new and very hot Audi R8. This was definitely a celebration of the swank. A solid mix of members who are all every passionate about their vehicles. What I soon realized was that this was not just a club to many of them, but a lifestyle all in itself.
Fast foward to a few weeks ago. I was able to experience “The Ownership Alternative” myself. I arrived at their facility in Fremont, Ca to pick up a freshly detailed and meticulously maintained Lamborghini Gallardo. Andre of Club Sportiva walked me through the entire vehicle – pointing out the necessary items such as how to open the doors, turn on the lights, the fueling procedure as well as some of the finer details – clutch engagement points (did I mention most of their cars are equipped with manual transmissions?), soft top operation and my personal favorite how to raise the front of the vehicle when approaching driveways or inclines.
Next thing I knew the keys were in the ignition and I was leaving Club Sportiva, all 520 Italian horsepower roaring through its aftermarket Tubi exhaust system. The exact same vehicle that Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear RAVED about. I was excited.
We decided to take it to Healdsburg, CA – just north of San Francisco for their annual barrel tasting event. This allowed me to take the Gallardo into its natural element. The highway at 7am was level, empty and absolutely straight. Eventually temptation persisted and as instructed by Jim, another partner of Club Sportiva, I depressed the throttle and the speedometer rocketed up. The power of this vehicle was nothing short of astounding; The feel, the sound and the acceleration of this car had me grinning from ear to ear.
As you can tell from the photos it also made quite a few others in Healdsburg grin. The car attracted more attention then anything I’ve ever thought, but this was not the point. I was able to fully enjoy and appreciate this particular car – on the freeway, the windy mountain roads and preferred parking at many of the wineries we visited. To think that not only did I not have to worry about its next oil change or service date, but the next time I stopped by Club Sportiva I could very well leave in an Audi R8 or Aston Martin DB9.
This is what made the Club Sportiva Experience, or as they call it, “The Ownership Alternative” experience so special. These extraordinary definitions of vehicles are maintained and serviced through not just one, but the collective membership dues of the entire club. Rather then shelling out a couple thousand for an oil change or almost $5000 for a new set of tires, these so called headaches are taken care of by the incredible staff at Club Sportiva.
I wanted to sincerely thank Rick, Jim, Andre and the rest of the Club Sportiva for their generosity and allowing us to experience what so many members have already figured out. Club Sportiva is really not just another club, but a lifestyle in itself.
For more information please visit www.ClubSportiva.com