A supercar broker for celebrities says: ‘I’ve bought cars in saunas, in swimming pools, and on airplanes’

Tom Hartley.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

  • Tom Hartley purchases and sells typical cars at his non-public estate and showroom in northern England.
  • He begun out on the gray market place and now finds cars by way of rich owners.
  • His estate delivers a resort-like practical experience, with a non-public spa and cinema out there for people.

In 1992, Tom Hartley was in a targeted visitors jam on the edge of Hyde Park in London when a vintage Bentley caught his eye. He straight away rolled down his window and struck up a conversation with the man in the back again seat, who was staying pushed by a chauffeur.

“I acquired the car off him in the traffic jam. We pulled about, he acquired out, I did an bill, and we picked up the car from his deal with that day,” he advised Insider. “And, of training course, we sold it a several days afterwards.”

This is typical for Hartley, who spends his days brokering discounts for supercars and basic cars and trucks, focusing on suppliers like Ferrari and Lamborghini. “I have purchased cars in saunas, in swimming swimming pools, on airplanes — you can not title where by I have not acquired a motor vehicle,” he said.

Hartley, now 60, operates an eponymous showroom on a 48-acre spouse and children estate in Derbyshire. He stated his staff sells among 40 and 50 vehicles for every month, and past shoppers of his consist of Elton John, Rod Stewart, Nicolas Cage, and Rory McIlroy. The typical profits value of his vehicles is £250,000, or all around $286,000 — but a scarce Ferrari could fetch $30 million.

He shared with Insider how he bought into the trade and what his job entails.

He discovered the art of promoting from hanging out in his father’s retail outlet

Increasing up, Hartley’s father owned a carpet company, and Hartley stated he spent most of his time at the store observing discounts getting created. He itched to stick to in his dad’s product sales footsteps, and as he viewed his household transform vehicles each individual several months, it appeared like the excellent sector to get into.

His very first deal was brokering the sale of a luxurious Selection Rover concerning two of his father’s acquaintances when he was a teen. “I designed myself 150 quid on that vehicle, which was a ton of money then,” he reported. “By the age of 12, I experienced the expertise of an 18-12 months-previous.”

Soon after offering the Vary Rover, he stumbled on to what is actually now regarded as the grey current market, where barely-utilised luxury goods can be traded at a premium on the secondary industry. If you could source an in-demand from customers motor vehicle like a Vary Rover, Hartley’s principle was, there was effortless profit in reselling it to a purchaser not able to find just one.

Courtesy of Tom Hartley

He began acquiring cars from suppliers like BMW, Mercedes, and Porsche, which were being largely primarily based in Germany, straight and imported them to the United kingdom to resell to hungry potential buyers.

When car makes started cracking down on nonauthorized sellers, he swiftly pivoted to acquiring up source from auto entrepreneurs.

Soon soon after, he observed a male pull up outside the house a luxury resort in London driving a manufacturer-new Jaguar Daimler XJ40, a particular model released on the industry just times before, and offered to get it for £3,000 more than inquiring rate. In just days, he explained, he’d offered it to a C-suite government who’d been unable to secure one particular from the manufacturer for £42,000, a financial gain of just more than 16% in a handful of days.

Customers can appear by means of appointment only and enjoy vacation resort-level amenities


man standing next to a luxury car

Hartley in his showroom.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

Hartley began out principally in the supercar sector, but he additional classic automobiles to his roster in the wake of the Good Economic downturn, when he noticed rich purchasers turning to belongings instead than holding money in money or shares.

“It was an addition to what we have been carrying out, but we didn’t alter our technique of shopping for and selling,” he explained. “We wished autos with terrific historical past, small mileage, and real rarities.” He handles all his income from his household estate in northern England, a home he bought in 1981 to serve as equally a dwelling and a showroom.

At any 1 time, he claimed, there are 75 vehicles value extra than $150 million onsite. The vital distinction in between his assortment and that of common sellers, he added, is that he stocks various brands like Mercedes and Ferrari in a single put — a transfer aimed at his best consumer. “Back again in the 1970s, a productive dude would have a single motor vehicle, possibly two. A lot of potential buyers blend and match now and may well have nearly anything from 6 to 10 automobiles,” he said.


a red car in front of a large house

Hartley in entrance of his estate.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

Hartley mentioned he receives about five customers a working day and will take site visitors by appointment only. Even with the motor vehicle earth being largely dominated by men, Hartley said about 20% of his consumers are ladies.

People that cease by his showroom can assume additional than just a variety of one of a kind autos: Prospects can take pleasure in the estate’s non-public spa and cinema, as nicely as a complete restaurant. At times, they’re even invited to stay overnight in a person of the estate’s 4 bedrooms. “I preferred to produce an expertise all over buying a secondhand car or truck,” he mentioned. There’s a helipad for those people that travel by air, but Hartley can also send out a chauffeur to acquire anyone from a close by private airstrip.

a cinema in someone's house

The cinema at the estate.
Courtesy of Tom Hartley

Regardless of getting all around highly-priced cars and trucks 24/7, he’s in no way owned a person himself. “It is really a personal assertion that I can’t get attached to them,” he stated.”I normally say when you walk on the Hartley estate, everything has a selling price, besides my wife.”