With exuberant sums of money and iced lattes in hand, they stroll through the lot, buying Lamborghini Aventadors and Bentley Continentals two at a time, before tossing in a couple custom built off-road trucks from SEMA as “impulse buys” while their secretaries hastily jot down delivery notes and write checks for huge sums of cash. While this sort of experience may sound far-fetched to most Americans, this is the kind of occurrence you grow accustomed to if being an A-list celebrity lands you in the driver’s seat.
Even though they may be trying to dodge the paparazzi, many big ticket celebrities still tend to favor cars that are just as eye-catching and unique as their personalities. While not all superstars are keen on opting for the extreme, plenty of them continue to favor things like European supercars with gold plated three-piece wheels, and color schemes so outrageous that even George Takei would say, “Oh myyy.”
But we’re sick of hearing about rappers in mildly-modified Maseratis, and billionaire bimbos in bright blue Bugattis. There are plenty of die hard auto enthusiasts out there who are rich and famous, and who prefer to go with something completely out of left field. These are the kinds of people who prefer to take their petrolhead interests to a whole new level, with many of them shelling out millions of dollars for a car that is so unorthodox that they may only drive it a couple times a year.
Since we were in search of all things extreme and obscure, we had to dig through a lot of celebrity profiles as turning up bizarre and badass celebrity cars proved to be a lot easier said than done. But our dedication eventually payed off, and we were able to come up with seven interesting automobiles that are guaranteed to stand out from the crowd, regardless of who is piloting them.
Naturally, we had to exclude people like Jay Leno from the list, as that would be four features within itself, which makes him too easy a target for a feature like this. So with Leno removed from the equation, here are a few interesting celebrity-owned automobiles that we think will raise an eyebrow or two, along with a little backstory behind the people who were willing to pay profane sums of money for them, as well as how these cars came into existence.
1. Eric Clapton’s Ferrari SP12 EC
We’ll begin on a classy note, with a classy fellow, and one undeniably classy car. A few years back, the musician who brought us hits like “Layla” and “Cocaine” had an interesting automotive endeavor land in his lap: Eric Clapton reportedly dropped $5 million to have this SP12 EC made for him, which is a lot even by Ferrari standards. Taking classic Ferrari 512 BB influences, and blending them with 458 styling cues, this custom red rocket is one of many Italian sports cars owned by the iconic musician.
A report by Autoblog says that over the years Clapton has owned three 512 BB Ferraris, and was looking for something that would serve as an homage to the chassis, but with all the bells and whistles found in a modern model. By teaming up with famed Ferrari design specialists Pininfarina, as well as Ferrari’s own One-Off Program, Clapton was able to have a car built to his needs from the ground up, with no expense spared. Unfortunately, engineers were unable to fit a V12 in the back like Clapton had originally requested, which would have made the SP12 EC more outrageous.
2. James Hetfield’s ’36 Iron Fist Ford
As we move from classy to heavy, the hot rod side of celebrity ownership really begins to emerge. There’s no denying that Metallica front-man James Hetfield’s sinister looking ’36 Ford Coupe is a piece of brilliant engineering and fabrication, and while it may not appear finished in the picture seen here, watching the video below will give you a brief glimpse of what the fully bagged, fire-breathing classic is all about.
Sacramento-based hot rod specialists Blue Collar Customs went above and beyond with this build, with its hybridized, fully tucked air conditioning system, and Oxblood interior, which just oozes with sinister opulence. With its exposed metal showcasing every chop done to the chassis, a Volkswagen steering wheel up front, and a polished 350 small-block bringing the thunder under heavy throttle, this chopped, stretched, and swooped rod is both extreme and clean at the same time.
3. J.R. Smith’s Armored Truck of Doom
Why have a basic SUV, when a $450,000 military-grade armored vehicle from the film Fast Five is readily available? This was the thought process when a report by USA Today showed Cleveland Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith opting to drop big money on one of the most battle-ready machines we’ve ever seen.
This Ontario, Canada born war machine is manufactured by Terradyne Inc., and made our list of best vehicles to drive when the zombie apocalypse comes a calling. But until that time comes, Smith will have to tolerate all of the attention this machine generates, as paparazzi, basketball fanatics, speed tables of varying sizes, and pesky orange road cones all want a piece of the 13,500-pound juggernaut.
4. Will.i.Am’s $900K Dick Tracy Mobile
With its aluminum interior, insane exterior lines that are right out of a comic book, and metallic blue paint scheme, this custom clown car transports pop rapper Will.i.Am around town, catching attention everywhere it goes. This car reportedly took around five years to make, due primarily to finicky preferences and indecisiveness on the owner’s behalf. According to a report by Jalopnik from 2013, this Cruella de Vil-like cruiser started life as a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle of all things, and was slated to play a crucial role in the rapper’s doomed automotive venture.
5. Kanye West’s and Jay Z’s Maybach “Otis”
Take a $416,000 ultra-luxury high-performance sedan and hack it up into pieces, then reassemble it in ad-hoc fashion with an overt post-apocalyptic feel and toss in a little Mad Max influence, and you’ll begin to understand how this machine came to be. Now insert two highly successful rappers, fire up the twin-turbo V12 Frankenstein, shoot a music video that is equal parts gritty and gaudy, and then be sure to collect a Grammy on the way out. When it went up for auction a couple years back, the dilapidated celebrity luxury barge was only able to garner a $60,000 winning bid, making it the most depreciated car on today’s cheat sheet.
6. Jerry Seinfeld’s 1959 Porsche 718 RSK
Famed comedian and auto enthusiast Jerry Seinfeld has loved Porsches ever since he first purchased a 911 Carrera in the late 1980s. From there, the celebrity has gone on to amass a stunning collection of Porsches that would even give Richard Hammond of Top Gear fame reason to do a double-take.
Perhaps the most interesting of all the Porsches that Seinfeld has collected over the years though is the one that rarely gets driven: the open cockpit 718 RSK, which true to its livery happens to be number 19 of a few dozen ever built. A report from Business Insider on the subject says, “the Porsche RSK is not only a historically significant car, it’s now also an incredibly expensive car,” as they tend to auction for a staggering $3.3 million a pop. But purchasing sleek machines is what the quasi-retired comedian does best, and with a net worth that is well over $800 million, it’s hard to argue with the fact that Seinfeld has the passion and financial backing to have any Porsche he wants.
7. Ken Block’s F-150 RaptorTrax
We end our tour de force with a truck that’s so extreme that you might want to take a step back in order to wrap your head around what it’s capable of in wintry conditions. Famed Gymkhana creator and pro race car driver Ken Block has a penchant for the extreme, regardless of whether it has wheels or not, which is what makes the behemoth seen here so spectacular.
What once started life as a potent, fire-breathing off-road vehicle quickly became a slope-climbing snowmobile on steroids, as Ford and Block’s Hoonigan team continue to crank out one crazy custom car after another. While the bright blue trax setup certainly remains the focal point of this build, it has received some interesting upgrades in other departments as well. The RaptorTrax features a Whipple supercharger, full roll cage, Recaro seats, an in-bed snowboard rack, a roof basket, and a rear-mounted winch, all of which were reportedly installed for a single purpose: to get Block and his buddies further up the hill during snowboard season.