The Top 100 of the world's biggest collectors of classic cars: Fashion entrepreneur Ralph Lauren at the top

  • 16 April 2023
  • 4 min read
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The Top 100 of the world's biggest collectors of classic cars: Fashion entrepreneur Ralph Lauren at the top image

The American fashion entrepreneur Ralph Lauren is the front-runner among the global collectors of classic cars. This is the result of the ranking of the "Top 100 Classic Car Collectors 2022" published annually by "The Key", the magazine of "The Classic Car Trust" (TCCT).

For the fifth time, "The Key" magazine, published by "The Classic Car Trust" (TCCT), publishes the annual list of the Top 100 of the world's largest collectors of classic cars. The collections included comprise 3831 automobiles with a total value of around 10.5 billion dollars. The first place in the 2022 ranking is occupied by the US fashion designer Ralph Lauren, who was also named "Collector of the Year 2022" for his unique "D.A.D. Garage" in Westchester County in the US state of New York.

This year's top collector owns one of the most valuable collections of engineering and design icons from the 20th century, which now comprises around seventy automobiles. Ralph Lauren's passion for classic cars once began with a Mercedes 280SE 4.5 Cabriolet from 1971, a Porsche 930 built in 1979, or a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe built in 1955, and today his collection also includes a rare Bugatti 57SC Atlantic Coupe from 1938.

Ralph Lauren has worked his way up to the top of the Top 100 over the years. In 2018 and 2019, he was still in fifth place on the list; in the following two years, he was top three, before now managing to make the leap to the top of the podium. As number one among the top collectors on the current list, Ralph Lauren joins illustrious predecessors Miles Collier (Top 1: 2018; Top 4: 2022), Fred Simeone (Top 1: 2019; Top 5: 2022) Evert Louwman (Top 1: 2020; Top 2: 2022), Arturo Keller (Top 1: 2021; Top 3: 2022).

Increasing interest in Asia Overall, the international scene of Classic Car collectors is still dominated by the USA and Europeans: in the top 10 of the Top 100, there are eight Americans, one Dutchman and one Swiss in the 2022 edition, and there are 59 Americans and 32 Europeans in the entire list. However, it should also be noted that interest and collectors' activities in classic cars are increasing in the Asian region, in India, Hong Kong, Thailand and also in South Africa. And this interest even represents a cross-generational trend: Even if the majority of collections are still in the hands of the founders, around 15 percent of the top 100 collectors now belong to a second or third generation. When it comes to brands, Ferrari and Porsche are particularly popular among collectors: every fourth classic car collectible comes from the Italian carmaker, every tenth from the German one.

How the ranking came about The list of the Top 100 Collectors in The Key has been in existence since 2018. We now have five years of experience in the evaluation of classic cars and the resulting collections.

An important criterion for ranking a collection is its financial value: For this purpose, around 200 000 data from more than a thousand auctions of Classic Cars over the past thirty years were analysed. In addition to the purely pecuniary focus, every Classic Car and every collection also has a historical value, which is also included in the Top 100. There are cars that once belonged to celebrities, won races or collected design awards. Sources for this information are digital channels, but above all also comprehensive historical documentation of cars and collections, often provided directly by the collectors. One in five of the vehicles listed in the Top 100 ranking represents outstanding historical value in the world of classic cars: for example, the GT40 that won Le Mans in 1966.

Rallys as a reference Every collection has a reputation among collectors that is nourished by the gems that have been collected. We have also tried to capture this phenomenon, which is difficult and impossible to assess scientifically, for the Top 100. We used the twenty most important rallies, races and events for classic cars as a reference: for example, the Concosro d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, the Mille Miglia, the Goodwood events, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance or the Le Mans Classic and others - we evaluated all available information on these and incorporated it into the Top 100. From all these evaluations, including a subjective coolness factor, a score was determined that ultimately decided the collector's place within the Top 100.