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Unlikely Gearheads: 9 Surprising Celebrities Who Love Cars

Jun 13, 2023Jun 13, 2023

These celebrities genuinely cherish every car in their exclusive collections.

Some celebrities are famous for collecting cars, others simply amass them. You'd have to be living under a rock not to know about Jay Leno's massive collection. Same with Jerry Seinfeld, he's got more classic and rare Porsche cars than anyone. These comedians are enthusiasts who know a lot about their stash. Other wealthy stars buy them up. One rapper notoriously threw down $1.8 million on a brand-new Bugatti because it was the most expensive car in the world, had to have one. Then there's Justin Bieber who misplaced his Ferrari 458 Italia for a few weeks. He forgot it at a hotel, it turned out.

The A-listers, famous rock stars, and celebrities on this list are different. The "Bennifer" variety car collection, that's not what we're here for. Without even looking, you know there's a Rolls-Royce Phantom, or Ghost, or Wraith, or all three. For this list, we have a sampling of seasoned connoisseurs of the exotic, of collectors who are knowledgeable automotive enthusiasts and who are also super famous. This list features celebs who purchase cars because they truly appreciate them. These are the most underrated car aficionados who happen to be famous, and the collections are absolutely stunning.

James Hetfield, lead man and founder of heavy metal rock legend Metallica, also kicks ass creating automotive masterpieces. Growing up in Southern California, Hetfield possessed a passion for both shredding guitar and full throttle driving. He joined a rock band and a hardcore car club. After all these years, he still has the same love for cars and guitars.

He shared his obsession for custom cars with the world when he donated 10 of his finest examples to the Petersen Automotive Museum. He said, flatly, “I want more people to see them.” Why? Because they're insanely beautiful. The Los Angeles-based automotive institution is now sending “Reclaimed Rust” around the world for folks to see. Hetfield said he is grateful to share his love for transforming rust buckets into works of drivable art. He’s talked about discovering a car in a corn field in Kansas and feeling inspired to recreate that car’s story. Many of his creations are from the ‘30s, ‘40s, and ‘50s, and he brings them to life in the flair of the day with creative modern twists, like using art deco styling.

His ‘47 Jaguar called “Black Pearl” was a collaboration with custom car builder and Lords Of The Car Hoards host Rick Dore along with Marcel's Custom Metal, now run by Marcel’s son Luc De Ley. It won top prizes at SEMA in 2013 and at the 2014 Grand National Roadster Show. Hetfield has teamed up with these Los Angeles car crafters for a large share of his projects.

Hetfield started on his own, in fact tuning and customizing a jet black Lincoln Continental as a hobby car. Now it’s called, “The Dead Kennedy.” Much of it retains its original condition, like the 430 cu. in. engine, but take a look, it’s way more badass restored his way.

British actor, DJ, and car fanatic Idris Elba has a love for speed that's been pumping through his veins since the day he was born. He explores that obsession in a documentary series called Idris Elba: King of Speed in which the eclectic celebrity learns to rally race, drift, drag race, and navigate a Bugatti Veyron hypercar through the streets of London. He broke a land speed record in No Limits, his 2015 part-two documentary. The HBO and Marvel star's roots stretch back to a Ford factory near his London home. He and his father both proudly worked the assembly line at the one in Dagenham, UK. It's a fond childhood memory, as well as watching rally races with his dad and dreaming of racing. That's one reason Ford Motor Co. chose Elba to partner the launch of the Mustang Mach-E.

DJ Big Driis, as he's known from UK clubs where he hit fame in 2019, spins some of the finest sets of wheels. He owns a Jaguar XE, a Rolls-Royce Phantom, and a Bentley Continental GT, his speed demon machine that broke the record at 180.3 mph. As for Italy's finest stallions, Elba garages the spectacular Ferrari 488 Spider. He daily drives a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG Black Series and a Tesla Model S. He can swing it. Sir Idris Elba, knighted in 2016, has a net worth of $30 million.

Snoop Dogg's celebrity came straight out of Long Beach, where he still resides. Landing in prison for riding in the backseat of a car packed full of narcotics, he got his first taste of fame entertaining inmates. Released and ready to change his life, Calvin Broadus impressed Dr. Dre with a mixtape, and he needed the break. Now he is so famous he's co-starred with Martha Stewart, Matthew McConaughy, and is the main man at Jack in the Box. Instead of selling him out, his savvy entrepreneurial vibe only fans his fame, probably because he's so damn funny. Grammy wins and Emmy nominations, he does it all.

Dr. Dre produced Snoop's first album Doggystyle, and it went quadruple platinum by 1994. Dr. Dre was a lowrider enthusiast and Snoop Dogg took on a love of those unique West Coast-style customs too. One of his first is a snooped up '74 Cadillac de Ville lowrider. It still turns heads in electric green-tinged-yellow, a Snoop de Ville signature series, reflecting the honey and the money. He's frequented West Coast Customs, like any celeb, but his main man in the shop is a custom pro known as Bigg Slice, named for his 6'6" stature. He's been with Snoop from his early days, customizing Caddies with hydraulics and custom murals. The rapper's champagne-brown '67 Snoop de Ville Cadillac has a chandelier mounted like a backseat dome light. He includes in his collection an old '52 Pontiac called Annie May that he chose to preserve in its original beauty, the rapper loves that one, according to Bigg Slice. He's also customized a large utility van with a mobile studio that is large enough to accommodate Snoop and his family, a wife plus three kids. His well-known '66 Pontiac Parisienne convertible, decked out in L.A. Lakers colors and custom regalia, was donated to Kobe Bryant in 2016, as a retirement gift. His broad collection includes exotics like Ferrari. Snoop's personalized Mustang GT in electric blue with white racing stripes was customized and tuned by Ford's Funkmaster Flex. The 2011 'Stang shoots zero to 60 in 4.6 seconds.

Related: This Is The Most Expensive Car In Snoop Dogg's Garage

Keanu Reeves' love of cars began with Porsche. A dark gray Porsche 911 Carrera 4S is the first car he purchased after breaking into Hollywood co-starring with Alex Winter in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989). The movie reflected the rambunctious nature that got him expelled from at least one high school in Toronto where he grew up. He said shooting his mouth off "once too often" caused it. Taking on more serious roles, starting with My Own Private Idaho (1991) to The Matrix (1999) franchise, Reeves grew more serious about collecting. Not just cars, but bikes are a huge interest. In fact, Reeves first came to showbiz with a love for motorcycles. That passion eventually led to co-founding the Arch Motorcycle custom bike brand. Now, he is making a Disney+ four-part documentary series about Formula 1 Racing, making him a proper gearhead. We hope it's out soon.

Let's look at the Gen X movie star's Ferrari collection. A screaming red Ferrari 488 GTB was acquired after visiting Maranello, Italy and taking it for a spin on the legendary Fiorano circuit near Ferrari's headquarters. Next, as unbelievable upgrade, a 950 horsepower V12 Italian stallion was humbly garaged by Reeves. Known as the Ferrari LaFerrari, it is considered perfection to many enthusiasts. Reeves also stables a Ferrari California T, a beauty some have overlooked. Like every good celebrity, he owns a Bentley Continental GT, Mercedes-Benz GLE, and an Audi Q7. A Bugatti Veyron is another Italian high point. The 1200 horsepower hypercar with a unique 8.0-liter 16-cylinder engine costs over a million dollars as it is a special exotic. Lastly, a Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat is a welcomed addition to this celebrity's collection.

Related: 13 Cars And Motorcycles Keanu Reeves Drove in Real-Life (And 10 He Drove On-Screen)

At Cannes this year, Depp cut his ties with Hollywood stating he has "no further need" for the institution, but we all know, one does not simply leave Hotel California. During the excruciating legal mire between former partner Amber Heard and Johnny Depp it came out that millions of dollars were allocated to maintain his fleet of luxury cars, 45 in all. So, clearly, the man is a car aficionado. And, incidentally, Heard loves cars too. It was one thing they had in common. His collection ranges from typical celebrity rides like a Rolls-Royce Wraith, to a red and white 1959 Chevrolet Corvette. The Corvette was acquired after starring in the movie The Rum Diary (2011). It was the first film starring the pair, initiating the ill-fated marriage. One of Depp's priciest rides is the Rolls-Royce Wraith, Despite its girth, it can accelerate 0 to 60 in just 4.4 seconds, smoothly. A top speed of 155 mph is also impressive.

Back around the time when Depp ruled TV on 21 Jump Street, he cruised a 1969 Chevrolet Nova. The rumor is he lived out of that car before he made it and refuses to sell the sweet looking six-cylinder. Depp has a Ferrari 488 Spider, like Keanu's but open-top. And, like Reeves, Depp garages a similar Porsche 911 Carrera S. The 996 Porsche Carrera is unique as it is the last of those naturally aspirated flat-six sports cars.

Valued at more than $350 million, style guru Ralph Lauren's car collection blows every other celebrity's out of the water. The fashion mogul from the Bronx in NYC has been amassing fine automotive specimens since the 1970s. One of the first cars Lauren garaged was a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing coupe. He started big. The fashion icon has said he collects cars because he appreciates them, saying they are like fine works of art that one can drive. In fact, a selection of his machines has toured distinguished museums, like the Lourvre in Paris at a 2011 exhibit.

His taste is exquisite. Shall we start with the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder or his Bugatti Baller? The 1938 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, of course. The Baller is a beautiful work of art that is so rare it would be the most expensive car ever sold, if, that is, the collector decided to sell it. Or his 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO, valued at $60 million, the most expensive out of Maranello ever at auction. A 1957 Jaguar XKSS and a 1955 Jaguar XKD are a pair the rest of us can only drool over, he owns both. Most of us do not lord over a net worth of $7 billion, he does. Lauren also owns other classic Bugattis, as well as early classic Bentleys. A 1929 Bentley Blower is one. It is rare. His specimen is number 4 of 50 made. The early, supercharged Bentley Le Mans winner is worth at least $6 million. And a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SSK, the Count Trossi, is marvelous to gaze over. Other magnificent Ferraris in the collection include the 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa Spyder and the 1960 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Scaglietti. He has quite a few 250s. Modern Lamborghinis and new Bugattis are in the collection. He owns an array of McLarens, three are McLaren F1s. Lauren, quite snug with A-listers from NT to LA, dresses the best of them. He's outfitted Hollywood heavy weights like Jenniver Lopez and Ben Affleck, two among many he hosted at a catwalk in Hollywood. The current CEO of the brand says that, as a designer, Ralph Lauren is more like a movie director.

Related: A Peek Into The Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa’s Glorious Racing Era

Elton John is a perennial music legend, beginning his career in the '70s and performing well into his 70s. His Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour amassed $212 million, the highest earning tour in the business. He socializes with royalty, runs one of the world's top AIDS fundraisers since the crisis began in the '80s, and is one of the most successful musical artists ever. Elton John appreciates the finest things. Once, in his '90s heyday, he famously spent $40 million in a month. His car collection is a carefully curated selection. Meticulous care and upkeep is invested on each vehicle, so he keeps the collection tight, like a lean machine.

His early love of cars is seen in a 1956 Bentley S1 Continental Sport Saloon that he restored and modded in 1976, adding power steering, air-conditioning, and a proper stereo system. It was sold at the 2001 auction. Another hot car that sticks out is his 1987 Ferrari Testarossa, a flat-12 cylinder that was dutifully maintained at Maranello. It was a 40th birthday gift from his record company, MCA. It was passed on in 2001.

The vehicles the iconic pop star loved most hail from his native England, with many of his collection choices being British classics. Bentley, Jaguar, Rolls-Royce, and Aston Martin have featured prominently. A 1973 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Limousine is a rare and powerful car with coachwork by H.J. Mulliner & Co. The singer gravitates toward beautiful and powerful cars. A 1965 Jaguar E-Type 4.2 Roadster is legendary. He also owned a 1992 Jaguar XJ220, which was the fastest production car at the time. A 1978 Aston Martin V8 Vantage is fast, gorgeous, and rare. He owned three, adding new year models in 1987, and again in 1997. The most valuable exotic John acquired was a 1972 Ferrari Daytona 365 GTB/4. A few of his quirky specimens with royal background are the 1994 Audi convertible owned by Princess Diana, it had 4,000 miles on it. Two more are the Rolls-Royce Corniche Convertible owned previously by the Qatari royal family, and a 2012 Bentley Muslanne that chauffeured the Queen of England. These sold in 2016. A bespoke McLaren 570S Spider had been donated to the singer's AIDS foundation and went to auction in 2018.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay runs reality TV show Hell's Kitchen (2004) and owns 58 restaurants around the world, most famous is his eponymous eatery in Chelsea, London. He's prepared meals for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Vladimir Putin, but his most famous gourmet meal went to Princess Diana of Wales.

Ramsay's appetite for powerful prancing horses is ravenous. His Ferrari collection is extensive and delightful. A Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, a Ferrari 812 Superfast built to commemorate the Italian automaker’s 70th year anniversary, a Ferrari 550 Maranello, and a Ferrari California T are a sampling of his passion for this particular breed of Italian exotics. The UK chef also owns a McLaren Senna, a rare and pricey example, one of 500 units. A McLaren 675LT is another of the Scottish-born gearhead's supercars. He also has a 2019 Ford GT that he stables alongside his exotics. A Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta is one of 150 in the world, and Ramsay is pleased to own and drive it. He relishes in driving them all. It’s like riding a rollercoaster, he once remarked, referring to his McLaren Senna. His obsession for cars and driving fast was probably first revealed on Top Gear in 2002 when he lapped the track with an impressive time.

If Mr. Bean is the first show that comes to mind when you think of Rowan Atkinson, an endearing nut in a yellow Mini, you might be surprised to learn he is one of the most versed car collectors in Hollywood. You'd also be surprised he holds an engineering degree from Oxford. So yes, he knows his way around a petrol engine, even though his major was in electronic and electrical engineering.

The award-winning British actor, comedian, and writer was the distinguished owner of a 1939 BMW 328 roadster, worth $1 million easily. It is both exquisitely beautiful and a decorated thoroughbred racer in its day, having won the Mille Miglia. The BAFTA actor who has a net worth of $150 million gladly garaged a McLaren F1 for some time. After unfortunately crashing it–twice–he did sell it for $12 million, but not before filing the nation's largest insurance claim of over £900,000.

Other brilliant automobiles Sir Atkinson has taken home are a 1964 Ford Falcon, a 1989 Lancia Delta HF Intergrale, a 2002 Honda NSX, a 1986 Aston Martin V8 Zagato, a 1952 Jaguar MK7, and a 1989 Lancia Thema 8.32.

He is also an electric car buff and aficionado of alternative fuel solutions. This is where his engineering degree reveals his petrol head smarts. The actor recently expressed his concern about electric vehicles, even though he had embraced EVs early, owning one of the first electric BMWs ever made. In an editorial article in The Guardian this year, he expressed disenchantment with lithium batteries and proposed an interesting possible alternative: Save the internal combustion engine by using hydrogen. Synthetic fuels that do not pollute with emissions might be an option, he said, citing development plans by Porsche and others. This works out great if you have a net worth as large as a lotto payout. Hydrogen e-fuels are estimated at about $10 per liter. Still, one can appreciate his forward-thinking.

This author was drawn to media as a news writer. With aspirations to be that investigative reporter who rips the lid off a government scandal, she started as a staff writer at a local Huntington Beach newspaper.