Wretched excess? L.A.'s first members-only race car club

Members of a new L.A.-based club get access to supercars made by Porsche, Ferrari and Lamborghini.

Sociologists looking for new evidence of conspicuous consumption — look no further.

A French entrepreneur who made his money in the telecom business has founded a pricey members-only club in Los Angeles for hot car enthusiasts.

Called Fast Toys Club, the Brentwood outfit gives its members access to a fleet of almost a dozen very high-end cars, including an Aston Martin DBS Volante, a Porsche 911 Turbo, an Audi R8, a Mercedes G63 AMG and Rolls Royce Phantom. (To add supercar firepower to the club, a Ferrari California T has been ordered.)

For the race track, the club also offers a Pescarolo Le Mans prototype, a Ferrari 360 Challenge and a Mustang Boss 302S.

Membership comes at a price. A basic package, at $30,000 a year, gets you the keys to any car in the garage worth less than $150,000 — for up to 100 days a year. The $50,000 deluxe package gets you 100 days a year in anything the club owns. A corporate package for $70,000 buys time for five drivers.

And the Rolls comes with its own driver.

Founder Chris Carel modeled the club on similar businesses in England and his native France, and said he conceived the company after his own race car habit (all three track cars in the collection are his) started eating up too much of his money.

“I started to own one exotic car, and then another, then a third one,” said Carel, who lives in Pacific Palisades and bases his company in Brentwood. “Then I tried the race track, and I loved it, and so I wanted to buy a race car. Then it started to become expensive.”

Assuming other car enthusiasts must have the same problem, Carel spent $2.7 million of his own money building the fleet and starting the club, which he said now has 10 members.

Members who make their own cars available to the club receive discounts, and earn credits as their cars are used by others in the club.

For those of us too poor to actually purchase high-end rides, and perhaps even too poor to join the Fast Toys Club, other Southern California businesses cater to the same tastes.

At Vanity Exotics, for example, you can get that same Mercedes GL63 AMG for as little as $249 a day, an Aston Martin Vantage starting at $399, or a Ferrari 458 Italia for $1,499. A Lamborghini Aventador runs as much as $9,000 a day.

The Manhattan Beach company said the Lamborghini Gallardo — at $499 to $799, depending on mileage — is its top-renting car.

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