For Chris Carel, owner of Brentwood-based luxury and exotic car club Fast Toys, speed is more than just the quickest way from point A to point B, it’s a feeling. A physical and elated feeling that he gets from nothing else. “Of course it’s physical, it’s pure adrenaline,” he says, “When you are driving a car really fast you are just sitting there but by the end of the ride you are completely exhausted and sweating. It’s something you experience physically.”
Fast Toys is a club he started to find enthusiasts who share this exuberance for speed, cars, and luxury allowing members to drive Ferrari’s, Porche’s, and any other number of really fast and really expensive vehicles. What makes it different than a regular rental service is the fact that members pay a flat fee and then are able to take out and drive the cars as they please, but also the philosophy of Carel, who doesn’t just want to turn a profit, but instead wants to share his passions for sports cars that he developed as a youth in France, “Fast cars to me have always been like toys,” he says, “That’s where I got the name for the club, fast toys for big boys.”
Originally, the club was a way for Carel to stop losing so much money with his luxury car jones, he bought three luxury vehicles as soon as he could and by the time he bought his first race car, was starting to realize that they were an expensive habit.
Instead of starting the club in his native France, Carel opted to take it to Los Angeles, where there is a huge market for sports car enthusiasts and also, quite simply, a similar club has never been established, “I was free to start the club in any country I wanted,” he says, “L.A. has a huge market for car enthusiasts, and aside from car rentals the concept didn’t exist here.
The club has a few membership types. The basic membership costs $30,000 a year to be able to drive any car in the club’s garage worth under $150,000 for up to 100 days a year. The $50,000 annual membership gets you any car in the garage. A corporate $70,000 membership can get you five drivers as opposed to the one available through the other memberships.
And I know you’re probably wondering, what kind of cars does Fast Toys possess? Oh you know, just cars like the Aston Martin DBS Volante, a Porsche 911 Turbo, an Audi R8, a Mercedes G63 AMG, and Rolls Royce Phantom.
Of course, there is an aggravating dichotomy to being a luxury car driver in Los Angeles. Though there are countless drivers of expensive and fast automobiles, there also happen to be 5.8 million registered cars in the area. As so many of us are already aware, the surplus of drivers creates unspeakably bad traffic jams, “It’s a shame to have to drive a Ferrari stuck in traffic,” says Carel.
Because of this, Fast Toys Club offers drivers the opportunity to use a club race track and fully embrace the speed and power of the cars available to club members. For the race track the club offers a Pescarolo Le Mans prototype, a Ferrari 360 Challenge, and a Mustang Boss 302S. So yeah, very very fast cars.
Because the club is expensive, the club targets not only people who are passionate about cars but people who have the means to indulge their car passions, “We target millionaires and billionaires,” he freely admits, “But millionaires and billionaires who love cars as much as we do.”
Recently, Carel purchased a $2 million Ferrari Enzo of which there are only 500 in the world. The car is going to be introduced and made available to the “founding members” of Fast Toys Club, or the first 30 members, later this year.