Like Boarding School for Your Cars
High-End Car Clubs are the New Social Clubs
Lately, the classic car market is doing fairly well for itself. Last year, it seemed there was a record-breaking sale every other month, and if sale prices crested $10,000,000, smart money said it was either a Ferrari, or a Porsche Steve McQueen sat in. But it’s not just the much-vaunted prancing horses from Maranello or Stuttgart-shielded beauties selling for nowhere near their original asking prices. Toyota Supras and Nissan Z cars are now changing hands like Topps baseball cards too. The question now isn’t what’s selling—we’ve pretty much determined everything is—it’s who’s buying these cars? And where the hell do they keep them?
If a collector’s garage is already overflowing with regular daily drivers, off-site, self-storage is one route to go. It’s also possible to rent or buy space in a warehouse with a few other like-minded individuals. If one has enough money, investing in a truly private garage staffed by a team of attendants who babysit and tend to the cars is a reality. In short, things get logistically difficult quite quickly once you start amassing a handful of vintage automobiles. Eli Kogan founded OTTO Car Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, to solve that particular problem, and added some extra incentives to build a car-culture community.
When it comes to collecting or storing classic cars, there’s more to it than just parking them, covering them with a tarp and calling it a day. If you don’t want your investment to depreciate at all, it takes time, effort and skill to baby your baby. “Owning multiple cars [myself] and being around collections, it can become a full-time job to manage, maintain, store, prep, transport… and everything that needs to be done for these cars. I figured, on the practical side, there had to be a way to alleviate that headache for collectors.” Unlike establishments like Classic Car Club of Manhattan, wherein the club owns and maintains a fleet of cars for members to drive, OTTO Car Club’s 49,000 sq-ft facilities are filled with the members’ own cars.
OTTO Car Club isn’t just a massive run-of-the-mill storage warehouse in the middle of the desert, however. “We take care of and coordinate DMV services and everything all the way up to international transport, restoration management and everything in between.” Unlike a simple storage facility, OTTO acts more like half private garage, half WeWork for classic cars, where you share the space with other car owners, but can come and go as you please without having to shuffle other cars to get yours in and out.
Out of the 220 possible cars OTTO can house, there are currently 60 under the roof. But, that doesn’t mean there are 60 members. The Executive level membership allows for four cars; every car after that up to eight carries an extra fee; after eight, you have to pick up a second membership. “We’re very selective when it comes to who gets a membership. Because we’re limited by space, we had to turn down a guy because he wanted to bring 50 cars. If we allowed people to do that we’d only have four members. We’re a social club too, so that’s taken into consideration.”
Along with car care, like many other clubs, OTTO also offers a social aspect. Below the Executive level membership, which grants access to everything under the OTTO roof, there’s a social membership which provides members with everything but the car storage perks. Overlooking the 33,000 sq-ft collection room is an 8,000 sq-ft social space replete with a member lounge, billiards, full wet bar, dining room and projection room. And that’s not including the first-floor welcome and reception, conference rooms for members, offices for employees, library, retail space, restrooms, showers, catering and prep kitchen. Still, OTTO provides more than just a safe space to shoot the breeze about cars. “On the social side, I wanted to create a hub for everything automotive, design, architecture, watches, whiskey — all the vices surrounding the passion.” Access and amenities outside car storage Kogan says is “more akin to SoHo house.”
Why Scottsdale? Kogan chalks that up to common sense. “Scottsdale has great weather, great car culture and high contingency of collectors who are seasonal residents with big homes that don’t allow for large collections.” Between the major car auctions that pass through town, like RM Sothebys and Barret Jackson, the residents of Scottsdale are the answer to “who’s buying these cars?” Kogan just strategically made himself the answer to “where the hell do they keep them all?”