The millionaire man cave
As the motoring trend continues to impress, garages are more than places to store your collection of cars
With property prices on the increase, and a distinct shortage of space in major cities, the once humble garage has become something of a modern luxury. It’s therefore no surprise that garages are a prime target for conversions, with most becoming a spare room or getting lost in an extension.
However, for those with a particular passion for expensive, classic or incredibly rare cars, garages have had something of a revival and are fast becoming a unique place for owners to spend time with their cars when they’re not on the road. These modern day ‘man caves’ are not just a place to house a car, they are a place to show them off.
Furnished to the highest standard, featuring mechanical turntables, heated floors, bars, and in some cases car elevators, these are certainly no ordinary garages – you’re more likely to find an oil painting than an oil spill. “We’ve had clients hang fantastic artwork in their ‘car showrooms’, which gives a real gallery feel,” explains John Pope, director of Octagon Bespoke.
One of the most extravagant developments the company worked on was for a collector who owned 12 classic cars. “The showroom was filled with fiberglass pods for each individual car and was housed next to the leisure suite in the basement of their home, with glass walls so the collection could be viewed from the pool, spa, sauna, and games room,” says Pope. >>
popularity of supercars among UHNWs. Gone are the days of practicality when one car would suffice – car aficionados collect these cars like watches, and with some vehicles costing upwards of £1m, you can understand why they expect more than the average, draughty garage to accommodate their prized fleet.
Such is the demand, one company has taken it a step further – selling luxury, customisable automotive storage units like commercial condos. Based in Minnesota, US, AutoMotorPlex offers unique spaces that can be transformed into your own personal hang out, complete with features such as a golf simulator, cinema area, or even a basketball court, combined with a plush garage to store and showcase your motors.
“Most owners build out their spaces to display their private collection of art, wine, watches and motorsports collectibles,” says Bruno Silikowski, founder of AutoMotorPlex. “One couple who love the game of golf just as much as their vehicles have a full on professional golf simulator. These spaces are less a ‘mancave’ and more an urban retreat.”
As you can expect, just like the cars themselves, these super garages come with a hefty price tag. Last year, a Gulf royal reportedly forked out an eye-watering £21m for a parking garage in Knightsbridge, to house his 80-strong collection of modern and classic supercars.
Pope explains: “In my experience, those who are looking for a ‘luxury’ garage know exactly what they want – they have extensively researched the best ways in which to keep their collection in mint condition, getting ideas from top-end showrooms.” >>
And tech lovers will be happy to hear that James Bond-esque gadgetry and secret entryways are becoming more mainstream. “Space-saving techniques are popular within the London homes we’ve worked on – we have installed turntables both inside and out, and car lifts to take the vehicles down to the basement are relatively commonplace.”
Developers are taking note, with more and more prime developments now offering garages as high-spec as the apartment itself. These garages are very much an extension of the home in terms of finish and come with top-of-the-range climate control and ventilation systems to ensure the cars are kept in optimal condition.
The Porsche Design Development, which opened to quite a fanfare last year in Miami, allows residents to drive their cars directly into their apartments. Unique, expertly-lit glass elevators transport the vehicle to a private garage attached to one of the 132 units, each featuring a glass partition, allowing the car to take centre stage at all times – for the lucky owner of the $32.5m (£22.7m), four-storey penthouse, the car can be driven directly into the living room.
For car lovers, the garage is much more than just a storage space. In the property world, these once neglected dumping grounds have become as coveted as the supercars inside them.