Being rich and famous has many benefits, one of which is that everything you touch immediately becomes much more valuable. Costumes, memorabilia and even vehicles once owned by celebs often fetch huge sums when resold.
So, how much value do celebrities really add to a car? Vanarama has uncovered the most eye-opening examples in recent years of motors that have gone up in price by simply having been driven (or even just sat in) by a famous person.
To calculate this, we looked at the average resale value of the same model of vehicle that the celebrity was selling, in the same year of their sale, for a direct comparison of prices – finding the percentage difference between a standard motor and a celeb’s car.
Presidential Head To Head: Obama Adds More Value Than Trump
The most valuable vehicle in terms of added cost belonged to the 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama, with his 2002 Grand Jeep Cherokee hitting the auction block in 2019 for £38,440. That’s a staggering 1,207% more than the average resale value the same year – £2,940.
That’s not to say Donald Trump didn’t bring in the big bucks for his 2007 Ferrari F430 Coupe, with a 151% price bump courtesy of his name being attached.
Other cars from notable public figures included Bill Gates, whose Porsche 911 brought in a laudable £30,490 over market value (a 98% bump) and star chef Gordan Ramsay’s Ferrari F340 which netted an increase of 59% (£45,430) over the same models sold in 2019 without a gourmet connection.
We also found that, in these crazy times, reality TV royalty added more value than the actual Queen of England. The fact that a Ford Thunderbird Convertible had previously been owned by Kris Jenner of Kardashians fame made it 57% more valuable while the Queen’s Rolls Royce Phantom IV only managed to add 14% over market rate.
Fab Four: Ringo Increased His Motor’s Worth By More Than McCartney
While he may be the one on the receiving end of most Beatles-related jokes, Ringo Starr proved that his ability to bring in the big bucks is no laughing matter. Ringo’s 1966 Mini Cooper S brought in 355% more than comparable models the year it sold while Paul McCartney’s gained a respectable 86%. Not bad for Macca but it doesn’t quite have that Starr quality.
Sat between the Beatles is Justin Bieber who sold a Ferrari 458 Italia he claimed to have ‘forgotten that he owned’, back in 2017. Despite his blasé attitude to fancy motors, he still managed to add 162% in value for simply being associated with it.
The celeb who gained the biggest price premium was Madonna, whose 2002 Mini Cooper S was listed for an astounding £55,000 (922% over its standard 2018 resale value of £5,380) in 2018 simply due to the Queen of Pop. ( Yes but nobody bought it – Ed)
Other notable musicians that made the cut in our leaderboard include Frank Sinatra in the second spot for adding over 355% to the value to his Rolls-Royce Corniche and Jay Kay of Jamiroquai whose 1975 Ferrari GTC/4 sold for 21% over odds.
Battle Of The Steves: McQueen Takes The Lead While Coogan Stalls
While it’s a given that cars appearing in films will attract a hefty price tag, what about the cars driven offscreen by the actors themselves? It turns out that their star power carries over in the form of a larger resale payday. Top of the pack is King of Cool, Steve McQueen, whose Chevy Pick-up sold for 227% more than those sold in the same year by people who didn’t have Hollywood cachet.
Other screen legends in the list were Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Caine whose Rolls-Royces sold for a celeb premium of 27% and 16% respectively.
Onscreen funny man Rowan Atkinson’s Mercedes-Benz 500E was auctioned off for 115% more than the model’s standard resale value in 2018. Fellow comedian Steve Coogan’s Aston Martin DBS V8 left Silverstone Auctions with a more modest 4% bump. ( Surely Coogan’s ownership made zero difference to the typical Aston buyer? – Ed)
We also found that the Oldsmobile 442 belonging to James Gandolfini, Tony Soprano himself, sold for a 15% upwards of the model’s average pricing in 2017.
If you do buy a classic car that has a celebrity connection, then it’s wise to declare that fact to your insurer. Many classic bike and car specialist brokers often have an Agreed Value for classics, but this may be a benchmark, auction house average, not the real price your former John Lennon Bentley, or Paul Newman Porsche might fetch. You’ll need to provide some hard evidence that the car WAS owned by a true megastar, and back up your claim that it would sell for an extra 100% over the typical price.
Not easy to do when talking about one-off vehicles.