What’s being called “the Airbnb for classic and exotic cars” is being relaunched with a big new backer. Seems like a great opportunity for some of us to drive interesting and historic cars we wouldn’t otherwise get to. But for owners, I don’t know, would you trust you with someone else’s supercar?
Hagerty, a company that’s probably best known as an insurance outfit for old and quirky cars, has just acquired a small Cape Cod, Massachusetts-based operation called “Classics&Exotics” which was (and is) effectively peer-to-peer car renting with exceptional vehicles only and, apparently, a more rigorous customer-vetting process than the Hertz counter at the airport or Turo, which has also been called “the Airbnb of” car rental.
The revised product is being called DriveShare. Hagerty is hoping its brand name plus the $1 million in insurance protection and 24/7 roadside assistance it’s offering with each rental will entice people to part with their precious collector cars for a stranger’s enjoyment for a few hours or days.
Indeed, the DriveShare website already appears to be pretty well-populated with an amazingly diverse spectrum of interesting cars, depending on where you live.
Near me in LA, offerings range from things as pedestrian as a mid-’90s Mercedes E-Class to freaky French vans. Oh, and fucking KITT from Knight Rider is on there.
Some of the coolest stuff seems to be concentrated in California, but there also appears to be a decent crop near New York City and scattered around the rest of the U.S., too.
Hagerty says car owners will get “full control” of the rental including price, mileage limits, date availability and deposit. And that’s probably why a lot of the listings are really inconsistent. Like, a BMW M235i is $400 a day but an OG NSX is $290? Nothing is “cheap”, of course... about $200 a day is as low as offerings seem to go (that gets you an E46 M3). And DriveShare’s requiring a $500 minimum deposit on any rental.
I think it’s great that people are willing to share their prized cars with people at any price, because I could not imagine handing the keys to my ’75 Scout to a stranger, no matter how well-vetted they were, for anything less than way-too-much money. I mean I don’t even valet my 200,000 mile Acura. And when I have to, I complain about it all night.
DriveShare’s roadside assistance package sounds comprehensive, at least. As for the renter vetting process, candidates have to be 30 years old and have their “driving history [checked] to ensure it meets... eligibility requirements.” But we all know you can have a perfectly normal legal driving record and still drive like a total dick.
Again, I like the concept here. And who could argue against the idea of growing the classic car community? But driving an ancient and/or high-horsepower car comes with a lot of responsibility, and often, an innate knowledge of weird unintuitive quirks. I think owners are taking a big leap of faith with their property in exchange for a couple hundred bucks. Good on those who go for it.
I’m excited to see where this goes, at least. There are some interesting cars on Turo but they’re hard to find. A service dedicated to putting new people into old cars could go a long way to broadening the reach of the hobby.