DriveShare: Like Airbnb, but for Cool Cars

Photography Credit: Turbo Tara Media

Story by Tim Suddard • Photography as Credited

The concept of car rental is almost as old as the automobile itself. The internet tells us the first car automobiles for rent may have been offered by a bicycle shop owner in Minneapolis back in 1904. The first real rental car company was the German outfit Sixt, which started in 1912. Even renting classic cars is not a new idea.

But there is something new to the mix: DriveShare, by Hagerty, has streamlined the process for renting out classic cars. It’s basically Airbnb, but for cool machines. And unlike some other services, like Vinty and Turo, DriveShare operates on a national scale.

DriveShare started in 2014 in Cape Cod as Hagerty bought the company, ramped up the website, and relaunched the enterprise in the summer of 2017. Initially there were only a couple hundred cars available, but now the program boasts more than 2000 vehicles from coast to coast.

Share Your Baby?

Just like Airbnb, DriveShare’s inventory comes from private owners. Those who own enthusiast cars form the backbone of the program.

Why rent out? Some do it for the money. Some do it to get their cars some much-needed exercise. Some, we’re told, do it for the social interaction or the ego stroke of seeing their car in a movie, advertisement or music video.

And for others, it helps cover the costs of maintaining a fleet. For instance, let’s say you have half a dozen classic sports cars in a popular location, like the California coast. You could conceivably hire out at least a few rentals every month, and that action could bring in some income while still allowing you to play with your cars.

Here’s the part of the transaction that the car owners don’t have to deal with: DriveShare handles the booking, the marketing, the vetting, the billing and the insurance. And should something break, they’ll take care of the towing, too.

It All Starts With a Click

Photography Credit: Tim Suddard

Like Airbnb, the rental process is rather simple: Go to the DriveShare site, pick a car and a georgraphic location, and then apply to rent that vehicle. Most areas have dozens of cars to choose from, and the list is growing. Users don’t have to be Hagerty insurance customers, either.

The rates are clearly marked, while symbols indicate how the car may be used: static display only, chauffeur-driven by the owner or a representative, or no restrictions.

The site will ask you for your digits and your driver’s license number. In less than 48 hours, you’ll hear back regarding approval. Then the owner will make contact via the DriveShare website and arrange the terms and meeting location. Like Uber or PayPal, the payment is handled through the app, so no cash ever changes hands.

Renting Is Painless. Too

Offering a car for rent is no big deal, either. It’s about as simple as listing a car on eBay Motors: Go to the site and post a description, terms and prices. Then wait for the action to begin.

The car owner gets 65% of the daily rate. The 35% that DriveShare takes covers roadside assistance, payment processing, program operation, driver vetting and insurance, including agreed value and $1 million in liability.

Rates can be set for each type of rental–free use, static, etc.–and owners can choose their own terms concerning mileage allowance, delivery fees and so on. Money is posted to the account in less than a day, we’re told.

Success will, of course, depend on the car offered, the rate, and the location. An owner offering an E-type, Porsche 911 or ’65 Mustang convertible for $400 per day in a large market will likely do better than someone listing a malaise-era sedan in the sticks for $900 a day.

Trying It Ourselves

We’ve always felt a little jealous during Monterey Car Week. So many people in attendance get to enjoy their classics in the spotlight, but since we fly in from Florida, we have to putter around in a boring rental car.

This past August was different, however: DriveShare to the rescue. We went on the website, looked around, and found just the car, a 1992 Bentley Turbo RL resplendent in stunning white over tan leather and featuring more burled walnut than most forests. The car’s original owner was Mike Tyson. We’d be true ballers in Monterey.

Photography Credit: Tom Suddard

Our car’s current guardian was Monterey Touring Vehicles, located in Monterey and owned by Heather and Rob Gardner. They started as small-time collectors before turning that passion into a fleet of dozens of cool classics, from a Porsche Speedster replica to an original Tesla, the Lotus-based electric sports car. The company also offers a DeLorean, VW bus and Citroën 2CV. Then there are the convertibles: Caddy Eldorado, Fiat Spider, Chevy Corvair, Jaguar XJS, Ford Mustang and more.

Heather told us that most rentals last just one full day or even a half day. People just want to take a classic car down Pacific Coast Highway to Big Sur on a nice afternoon, she explains, adding that she’s had very few problems. Most renters are car people who treat Heather’s cars as they’d treat their own.

Heather reports just one fender bender, noting that Hagerty quickly made everything whole. Monterey Touring Vehicles also offers its own free roadside service for those staying within 30 miles of its base. And if there’s a mechanical issue, the driver gets another car.

Photography Credit: Tim Suddard

To protect its investments, Monterey Touring Vehicles installs a GPS tracking and geo-fencing device in each car to keep tabs on its location. If the driver exceeds a certain speed or strays too far, the company will know.

While DriveShare offers cars for as little as $150 per day, Monterey Touring Vehicles uses a three-tier pricing structure. Depending on the car’s value, age and panache, most of its fleet is available for about $400, $600 or $800 per day. Most customers, Heather reports, opt for the cooler, more expensive cars.

For us, checking in and out was easy. Heather first gave us a complete tour of the car while pointing out its quirks; as far as its condition, we’d call our Bentley a quality driver. A guide inside the car explained how to operate everything and included emergency phone numbers. In less than 15 minutes we were off on our adventure.

Fun in the Sun

Monterey Car week is a fantastic place to travel in a classic car–especially earlier in the week, before the traffic gets bad.

Settled behind the wheel of our Bentley, we first headed over to downtown Pacific Grove for our own Monterey kickoff party–an event Hagerty backs along with eBay Motors. The car was well received, with the Mike Tyson ownership only fueling interest.

Next we drove down 17 Mile Drive and parked right in front of the Lodge at Pebble Beach. It complemented the setting much better than a rental econobox.

We spent the rest of the week driving the Bentley to and fro, all about the Monterey peninsula, culminating with an entry in the Concours d’Lemons, another event supported by Hagerty and Classic Motorsports.

We then jetted over to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for the Bring a Trailer member day. And that’s about when the fun ended: Time to return the car. The Monterey Touring Vehicles crew was already at the track and told us to simply leave the car there. Easy.

Our takeaway from all of this?

DriveShare allowed us to experience the full spirit of Monterey Car Week without the costs and hassles of actually owning and transporting the car.

Yes, we could have saved money by settling for a Camry, but how often do you remember your rental car? We’ll remember this one forever.

Photography Credit: Jordan Rimpela

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Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela HalfDork
3/11/20 3:18 p.m.

And true ballers we were. 

GCrites80s Reader
3/15/20 8:51 p.m.

No leftover tiger feed in the trunk, I take it.

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