A supercar dealer for celebrities says: ‘I have purchased vehicles in saunas, in swimming swimming pools, and on airplanes’


Tom Hartley.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley
  • Tom Hartley buys and sells vintage vehicles at his personal property and showroom in northern England.
  • He began out at the gray marketplace and now reveals vehicles via rich homeowners.
  • His property gives a resort-like enjoy, with a personal spa and cinema to be had for guests.

In 1992, Tom Hartley was once in a site visitors jam at the fringe of Hyde Park in London when a vintage Bentley stuck his eye. He right away rolled down his window and struck up a dialog with the person within the again seat, who was once being pushed via a chauffeur.

“I purchased the automobile off him within the site visitors jam. We pulled over, he were given out, I did an bill, and we picked up the automobile from his deal with that day,” he instructed Insider. “And, after all, we offered it a couple of days later.”

That is conventional for Hartley, who spends his days brokering offers for supercars and vintage vehicles, that specialize in producers like Ferrari and Lamborghini. “I have purchased vehicles in saunas, in swimming swimming pools, on airplanes — you’ll be able to’t identify the place I have never purchased a automobile,” he mentioned.

Hartley, now 60, runs an eponymous showroom on a 48-acre circle of relatives property in Derbyshire. He mentioned his group sells between 40 and 50 cars per thirty days, and previous purchasers of his come with Elton John, Rod Stewart, Nicolas Cage, and Rory McIlroy. The typical gross sales value of his cars is £250,000, or round $286,000 — however a unprecedented Ferrari may just fetch $30 million.

He shared with Insider how he were given into the business and what his activity includes.

He realized the artwork of promoting from striking out in his father’s retailer

Rising up, Hartley’s father owned a carpet trade, and Hartley mentioned he spent maximum of his time on the store observing offers being made. He itched to apply in his dad’s gross sales footsteps, and as he watched his circle of relatives alternate vehicles each few months, it looked like the easiest business to get into.

His first deal was once brokering the sale of a luxurious Vary Rover between two of his father’s acquaintances when he was once a teenager. “I made myself 150 quid on that automobile, which was once some huge cash then,” he mentioned. “By way of the age of 12, I had the enjoy of an 18-year-old.”

After promoting the Vary Rover, he stumbled onto what is now referred to as the gray marketplace, the place barely-used luxurious items can also be traded at a top class at the secondary marketplace. If it is advisable supply an in-demand automobile like a Vary Rover, Hartley’s principle was once, there was once simple benefit in reselling it to a purchaser not able to search out one.

man standing in front of a red car
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

He started purchasing vehicles from producers like BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche, which have been most commonly based totally in Germany, immediately and imported them to the United Kingdom to resell to hungry consumers.

When automobile manufacturers started cracking down on nonauthorized sellers, he temporarily pivoted to shopping for up provide from automobile homeowners.

Quickly after, he noticed a person pull up out of doors a luxurious resort in London riding a brand-new Jaguar Daimler XJ40, a selected style introduced available on the market simply days previous, and introduced to shop for it for £3,000 over asking value. Inside of days, he mentioned, he’d offered it to a C-suite government who’d been not able to protected one from the producer for £42,000, a benefit of simply over 16% in a couple of days.

Consumers can come by the use of appointment simplest and experience resort-level facilities


man standing next to a luxury car
Hartley in his showroom.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

Hartley began out essentially within the supercar marketplace, however he added vintage vehicles to his roster within the wake of the Nice Recession, when he noticed rich purchasers turning to belongings relatively than preserving cash in money or shares.

“It was once an addition to what we have been doing, however we did not alternate our manner of shopping for and promoting,” he mentioned. “We needed vehicles with nice historical past, low mileage, and actual rarities.” He handles all his gross sales from his circle of relatives property in northern England, a assets he purchased in 1981 to function each a house and a showroom.

At anybody time, he mentioned, there are 75 vehicles value greater than $150 million onsite. The important thing distinction between his collection and that of typical sellers, he added, is that he shares other manufacturers like Mercedes and Ferrari in a single position — a transfer geared toward his perfect buyer. “Again within the Nineteen Seventies, a a success man would have one automobile, perhaps two. Numerous consumers mix ‘n match now and would possibly have anything else from six to ten vehicles,” he mentioned.


a red car in front of a large house
Hartley in entrance of his property.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

Hartley mentioned he will get about 5 shoppers an afternoon and takes guests via appointment simplest. In spite of the automobile international being most commonly ruled via males, Hartley mentioned round 20% of his purchasers are ladies.

Those who forestall via his showroom can be expecting greater than only a collection of distinctive vehicles: Consumers can benefit from the property’s personal spa and cinema, in addition to a complete eating place. On occasion, they are even invited to stick in a single day in one of the most property’s 4 bedrooms. “I sought after to create an enjoy round purchasing a secondhand automobile,” he mentioned. There is a helipad for those who trip via air, however Hartley too can ship a chauffeur to gather any person from a close-by personal airstrip.

a cinema in someone's house
The cinema on the property.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

In spite of being round dear vehicles 24/7, he is by no means owned one himself. “It is a non-public commentary that I will be able to’t get hooked up to them,” he mentioned.”I all the time say whilst you stroll at the Hartley property, the whole lot has a worth, apart from my spouse.”



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