When you earn millions, you can spend your cash on anything – houses, fashion, diamonds, private islands or classic cars. Owning a collection of automobiles is almost a rite of passage for pop icons and many stars are known for their vintage and classic cars. But what you may not know are the stories behind those cars.
From the early 20th century to today, here’s a look at 30 stars and their classic cars.
James Hetfield’s 1936 Ford Coupe, “Iron Fist”
Metallica’s co-founder and front man James Hetfield’s car collection consists primarily of traditional hot rods with custom swagger. Among Hetfield’s collection is a hand-built custom 1934 Packard he nicknamed “The Aquarius” and a Ford coupe, a.k.a. “Iron Fist.”
To give his fully updated and one-of-a-kind 1936 Ford custom flare, including the exposed metal body, which puts the car’s unique features on full display, Hetfield worked with Blue Collar Customs hot rod specialists in Sacramento, California.
Patrick Dempsey’s “Daily Driver,” a 1963 Porsche 356
In the years since McDreamy was killed off ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, he has earned recognition as the owner of Dempsey Racing and is a competitive auto racer, himself. Off the race track, Dempsey has his own collection of cars, including a 1972 Jaguar E-Type and a 1969 Mercedes-Benz 280SE convertible.
Perhaps his first love is his 1963 Porsche 256, which he purchased after his first Hollywood hit, “Can’t Buy Me Love” (1987). The Porsche, which Dempsey says he bought for less than $10,000, was his “daily driver for at least 15, 16 years.”
Ralph Lauren’s Timeless 1950 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster
He is known for his taste for fashion and talent for design, but Ralph Lauren is also passionate about cars. Lauren owns a spectacular collection of supercars, sports cars, luxury cars and timeless classic cars, including a 1950 Jaguar XK120 Roadster.
His classic Jag – one of five Jaguars in his collection – is painted in a custom color he created himself: “British Racing Green with a twist.” Known today as the quintessential British car, the Jaguar XK120 was revealed just after World War II and became popular among Hollywood stars like Humphrey Bogart and Clark Gable.
Tim Allen’s 1933 Ford Roadster Featured on Home Improvement
Tim Allen has been a car lover since childhood and is a long-time celebrity car collector. Like many celebs, most of the models in his collection have been given custom updates and personalized design. Allen was known as a car guy on his hit ’90s show Home Improvement and some of his personal vehicles were actually featured on the show.
The 1933 Ford Roadster, which resides in the Home Improvement star’s collection, was restored from the frame up on the show. Other unique vehicles in Allen’s collection include a 1965 Shelby Cobra, a 1996 Impala SS, a 1968 Chevrolet Camaro 427 COPO and a 1946 Ford, which was also featured on Home Improvement.
Paul Newman’s “Sleeper” Race car, a 1963 Volkswagen Beetle
On the outside, it looks like Herbie the “Love Bug,” but the 1963 red Volkswagen convertible was customized into a “sleeper” racecar in the late 1960s by the late Paul Newman. In 1969, Newman developed a passion for racing after making the film Winning, in which Newman learned to race.
He competed as a driver on the Sports Car Club of America circuit for the next 15 years, including a second-place finish in his Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1979. Newman’s Indy Bug contains a 300-horsepower engine, racing suspension and five-speed gearbox. In 2011, the Volkswagen was listed “For Sale” for a whopping $250,000.
Barry Weiss’ Bubble Top “BEATNIK”
He is known as “the collector” in the hit show Storage Wars, and cars are just one of Barry Weiss’ many collections. His hot rod dubbed “BEATNIK” originally began as a 1955 Ford and was transformed into the world’s largest bubble top custom car by legendary hot rod builder Gary Chopit.
BEATNIK, with its retractable bubble top, emulates the original Beatnik Bandit and features a body made completely of metal, an exposed engine, futuristic interior and a Cadillac front end. Other memorable cars in Weiss’ collection include “The Chicken Car” and the “James Bond” Lotus Esprit Submarine, which was found in a storage unit purchased in 1969 for a mere $100. The submarine itself is worth nearly $1 million!
Ben Affleck’s Souped-up 1966 Chevelle SS 396
As the Caped Crusader himself, Ben Affleck is no stranger to a sweet ride. The Batmobile seen in Warner Bros. movie Justice League was customized for the film, turning it from a virtual idea into a reality with a fully developed interior and computerized dashboard. To fit Affleck, who is nearly 6’4″ tall, the concept car with a low roof was enlarged to 110 percent of its original scale.
When he’s not playing a superhero, Affleck cruises around town in his classic 1966 Chevelle SS 396. Affleck’s version of the popular muscle car has had some serious engine work done, making the already powerful eight-cylinder engine even more robust.
Billy Gibbons’ $900,000 Custom “CadZZilla”
ZZ Top’s front man, Billy Gibbons’ fully-custom 1948 Cadillac Series 62 Sedanette has been an icon in the custom hot rod industry since its debut in 1989. CadZZilla – with its modified lead sled body – is a mix of Cadillac’s early post-WWII design and artistic customization. The car was rendered by Larry Erickson, one of the head designers for Cadillac at the time, and built by American hot rod designer, the late Boyd Coddington.
As the story goes, the first sketches of the car were done on a bar napkin somewhere along the Mexican border by Erickson and Gibbons. CadZZilla, with its iconic customizations including a chopped roofline and frenched headlights, cost Gibbons around $900,000 and is also available as a Hot Wheels car.
David Letterman’s $2.5 million Car Collection and His ’55 Jaguar
Comedian and former Tonight Show host David Letterman owns some of the most sought-after vehicles in automotive history. His roundup of rides includes eight Ferraris, six Porsches, three Austin Healeys, an MGA, a Chevy Truck and a classic Jaguar.
The 1955 Jaguar XK140 first won the world’s attention after years of tremendously successful racing. Valued at more than $130,000, this authentic British beauty is the only Jaguar in David Letterman’s expansive collection of cars said to be worth more than $2.5 million.
Tim McGraw’s 1969 Mercedes Convertible
In 1969, the New York Mets won the World Series and Mets player, Tug McGraw, got a $10,000 bonus check for being on the winning team. He spent $7,000 of his winnings on a 1969 Mercedes, and it’s remained in the family ever since. His son Tim, who was just a toddler at the time, didn’t yet know his father – and wouldn’t for another eight years.
Tim’s brother owned the car when his father died, and it was in bad shape according to Tim. So, he traded his brother a motorcycle to get his hands on the classic convertible. The country music legend then had the car restored to its original form.
Dax Shepard’s Black Beast, a 1967 Lincoln Continental
It’s no surprise that Detroit native Dax Shepard would favor an American car. It runs in the family! His father was a Ford salesman and his mother became a General Motors fleet manager after starting as a janitor.
Dax Shepard’s black 1967 Lincoln Continental is a muscular beast with classic luxury. The car was featured in the 2012 comedy “Hit and Run,” in which Shepard starred alongside his then-fiancée Kristen Bell. It is reported that Shepard did all the stunt driving for the film, which was inspired by his all-time-favorite car movies, “Smokey and the Bandit” and “Bullet.”
Jerry Seinfeld’s $2.9 million ’59 Porsche 718 RSK
In 2016, Jerry Seinfeld took 18 Porsches to auction, one of which was a 1959 Porsche 718 RSK, which sold for $2.9 million. The car, originally owned and driven by famous race car driver Roger Penske was one of just 34 of the lightweight Porsche race cars ever built. Penske won several races in it before it caught fire in a garage.
Seinfeld purchased the ’59 Porsche in 2001 after it had been fully restored. He famously took it for a spin on an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee with comedian Kevin Hart in the passenger seat. Seinfeld racked up an estimated $28 to $32 million when he sold the Porsche alongside 16 others at auction.
will.i.am’s Futuristic “Dick Tracey Mobile”
Singer-songwriter, rapper, producer, DJ and actor, will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas owns an impressive collection of cars, including a McLaren MP4-12C, Bentley Continental GT, Tesla, 1958 Custom Corvette and a $900,000 custom-built car he calls the “Dick Tracy Mobile.” The custom futuristic vehicle looks like it is right out of a comic book was built for will.i.am by West Coast Customs of Pimp My Ride fame.
The Dick Tracy Mobile reportedly began as a 1958 Volkswagen Beetle and is fitted with fully aluminum interior, dashboard and door panels. West Coast Customs also worked with the musician to modernize his ’58 Corvette, adding a touch screen console, bumping sound system and custom grill.
Clark Gable’s Affair With a 1955 Duesenberg Convertible
“The King of Hollywood,” 1930s celebrity Clark Gable owned a regal 18-foot Duesenberg Model JN convertible coupe, which he used to begin his scandalous love affair with Carole Lombard in January 1936. One of just four convertible Model JNs ever built, the car originally had a body by Rollston. Gable took the vehicle for a complete reworking by coachbuilders Bohman & Schwartz, sketching out the changes he wanted himself. He even had a hands-on role in the work himself.
Gable and Lombard married in 1939 and the two took the Duesenberg on a 1,300-mile trip from Encino, California to Vancouver, British Columbia in 1941. After Lombard was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1942, a devastated Gable sold the car.
Buck Jones’ 1931 Harley Earl Custom Cadillac
Internet speculation suggests the “Cowboy” actor’s 1930s custom car was a 1933 Packard Special, but according to America’s Automotive Library, it is actually a 1931 Cadillac, custom built by American automotive designer Harley Earl. Jones was a lifelong car enthusiast with an affection for the racing industry and he became close friends with race car driver, Harry Stillman. Through his association with Stillman, Jones began working as a test driver for Marmon Motor Car Company.
Buck Jones starred in many popular Western movies and led a fascinating life of Hollywood successes and failures. In 1942, the Coconut Grove fire in Boston tragically claimed the lives of 492 people, including Jones, who died two days after the blaze.
Errol Flynn’s Signature 1935 Auburn Speedster
On screen, Errol Flynn was best known for his role as Robin Hood in the 1938 film “The Adventures of Robin Hood.” The American Film Institute even named Flynn the 18th greatest hero in American film.
Aside from his Hollywood roles, the Australian-born American actor was known for his womanizing and his car, a 1935 Auburn Speedster. Flynn’s initials are reportedly printed on the inside of the driver’s side door.
Rita Hayworth’s Paradise Green 1941 Lincoln Continental
Rita Hayworth, for whom the press coined the term “The Love Goddess,” was the most glamorous screen idol of the 1940s and a top pin-up girl for GIs during the second World War. She is best known for her role in the musical “Cover Girl” and is listed as one of the top 25 female motion picture stars of all time by the American Film Institute.
Hayworth’s Paradise Green 1941 Lincoln Continental was purchased by Orson Wells and delivered to the 24-year-old actress while she was making a movie in Georgia. Hayworth owned the 1941 Lincoln for about 30 years before passing it on to her secretary’s family. The car eventually made its way to private collectors and was completely restored and later sold at auction.
Jay Leno’s Restored 1967 Chevy C10
It may just be a coincidence, but America’s late night TV show hosts are known to be car collectors, and Jay Leno may be the biggest collector of them all. Leno owns 169 cars and more than 110 motorcycles kept in his custom garage warehouse that is bigger than most people’s homes.
Leno’s collection holds numerous antique and vintage automobiles, and some of his cars are worth more than $1 million. Perhaps the only pickup truck in his vast collection is a mint green restomod 1967 Chevy C10. The truck features a lowered suspension, wood-lined bed, period-style wheels and original paint
Nicholas Cage’s $450,000 1971 Lamborghini Miura SBJ
Nicholas Cage joins the ranks of Hollywood car collectors with (at least) 50 cars in his collection. From Rolls-Royce to Ferrari, Cage owns the best of the best. In his collection is a 1971 Lamborghini Miura SBJ, one of only 16 left in existence today. Cage’s Lambo was originally built for the Shah of Iran and Cage purchased the car at auction in 1997 for a whopping $450,000.
Cage is known for his lavish spending, buying everything from a gulf stream jet to a private island, and his big spending has had some notable financial problems, leading him to sell off at least some of his car collection to pay a large sum of back taxes to the IRS.
Aaron Paul’s Childhood Dream car, a 1965 Shelby Cobra
Breaking Bad made him a star and he took home two Emmys for his role as Jesse Pinkman on the popular series. Paul used his earnings from the show to buy a classic 1965 Shelby Cobra, his dream car ever since he had a toy model as a child, he told The Seattle Times. It’s only fitting that the star of “Need for Speed” would own a classic sports car – the movie inspired by a video game gave him ample opportunity to get behind the wheel of cars and supercars.
To prep for the film, which features live action speed, stunts and racing – no green screen was used in the making of the movie – Paul spent months practicing on the tracks in Willow Springs north of Los Angeles. As a gift, DreamWorks gave him the ’68 Gran Torino-turned-race car he drove in the movie.
Beyoncé Knowles’ 25th Birthday Gift, a 1960s Rolls Royce
A-list Hollywood power couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé own some of the most outrageously expensive cars. Jay-Z’s collection is worth an estimated $15 million, and though Beyoncé’s collection is smaller than her husband’s, it is noteworthy on its own accord.
They may be big spenders, but they are also big time gift givers; many of Jay-Z’s cars were gifts to him from his superstar wife for special occasions. For Beyoncé’s 25th birthday, Jay-Z surprised her with a gift – a 1959 Rolls-Royce Convertible Silver Cloud said to be worth $1 million. The vintage car is not known for its speed, but its luxurious and intricately designed interior fitting for Queen Bey.
George Clooney’s Family Heirloom, a 1958 Corvette Convertible
In 1958, American journalist, news anchor and television host Nick Clooney purchased a red Chevrolet Corvette V8 C1 convertible. As many dads do, Clooney eventually handed the keys to the immaculate vintage car over to his son, George.
The younger Clooney is a well-known auto enthusiast. The Academy Award-winning actor also owns a Lexus, Porsche Carrera and a two-seater electric Tango 600, as well as various motorcycles. But it’s easy to understand why the classic Corvette would hold a special place in his heart and won’t be seen on an auction block anytime soon.
Adam Levine’s “Most Beautiful Car,” a 1958 Porsche 356A
Adam Levine has a taste for classic cars, personified in his 1958 Porsche 356A convertible. The Porsche 356, the same model owned by the lead singer of Maroon 5 and star of NBC’s The Voice, was the first production model built by Ferdinand “Ferry” Porsche. Levine credits his love for Porsche to his uncle, who owned a variety of Porsche cars.
As a long-time Porsche owner, Levine got to test drive Porsche’s stunning, all-electric Mission E, a car that “connects you to the road and connects you to driving,” Levine said in a promotional video for the Mission E. “Porsche means perfection to me. Because it doesn’t get better.”
Robert Downey Jr’s post-Iron Man 1965 Corvette Stingray
He’s battled many demons in his life and has come out on top. “Iron Man” himself, Robert Downey, Jr.’s life story is one with many twists and turns – love, addiction, incarceration, children. And cars. In his post-“Iron Man” era, Downey Jr. has purchased at least two dozen cars.
Among his collection is a Porsche, F-150, Volvo, 1970 Mustang, 1970 Mercedes-Benz, Audi R7 and A8, Mercedes-Benz wagon, VW GTI and a 1965 Corvette Stingray convertible. Prior to “Iron Man,” he admits he couldn’t even afford the GTI.
Alan Shephard’s Love Affair With Corvette
American astronauts have a love affair with Corvettes – an affair that began more than 50 years ago with Alan Shepard, the first astronaut known to drive a Corvette. In 1959, Shepard reported to space training driving his 1957 Chevy Corvette. After becoming the first American in space, General Motors handed him the keys to a special 1962 Corvette to thank him for his bravery.
GM dealer Jim Rathmann made sure every astronaut after Shepard drove the same car, offering astronauts special lease terms on Corvettes. Six of the Mercury astronauts and Apollo 12 astronauts Dick Gordon, Charles Conrad and Alan Bean took Rathmann up on his offer. John Glenn is the only one of the original astronauts to choose a more practical station wagon for his family. A 2011 parade commemorating the 50th anniversary of Shepard’s flight included 30 surviving astronauts in Corvettes from the generation current at the time of their space mission.
Matthew McConaughey’s Pristine 1971 Corvette Stingray
Matthew McConaughey prefers more sensible, family cars – such as his GMC Yukon XL or the more luxurious Lincoln MKX – but he also feels the need for speed, as seen in his collection of high speed vehicles.
McConaughey sometimes drives a 1981 Camaro Z28, considered one of the best coupes of its time and regarded as one of the best classic cars. The black muscle car was a gift to the actor from his wife. Also in his collection is a classic 1971 Corvette convertible, a sports car that marked the second generation of Corvette Stingray.
Richard Rawlings’ Perfectly Original 1932 Ford Roadster
Richard Rawlings, star of reality TV show, Fast N’ Loud, bought his first set of wheels at age 14. At Gas Monkey Garage, a custom body shop in Dallas, Rawlings restores and customizes some of the most interesting automobiles. While he sells most of the cars, some he keeps in his collection, said to be valued at around $1 million.
Included in the car enthusiast’s vast collection is an original three-window 1932 Ford Roadster, reminiscent of the time gangs ruled the streets of New York. Rawlings says the ’32 Ford is “what started hot rodding in America.” This roadster sees its fair share of road time, Rawlings likes to drive it regularly to “show it off,” he told MotorTrend in an interview.
Kate Moss’ Unattractive 1964 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud
If it’s possible for a Rolls-Royce to be unattractive, this is it. The 1964 Silver Cloud II was Rolls-Royce’s attempt to produce a modern-looking car, manufactured at the end of the Silver Cloud model’s run.
Even at its time, the Silver Cloud was outdated with its hunchback body style. The “Chinese Eye” name refers to the car’s bizarre headlight arrangement. As a supermodel, Moss is paid to know fashion, but she knows a thing or two about classic cars, too. The ’64 Rolls is a model preferred by classic car collectors.
John Cena’s First Generation Dodge Hemi Charger
Wrestler John Cena earned millions as WWE superstar and one of the most popular wrestlers in the world. After his wrestling career ended, Cena made his way to Hollywood, starring in movies including “12 Rounds,” “Train Wreck” and “Blockers.” As many celebrities do, Cena has invested quite a bit of his money into his car collection.
Many of his cars are of deep personal significance, such as the 1989 Jeep Wrangler he purchased after earning his first WWE paycheck. Also included in Cena’s collection is a 1970 Plymouth Superbird, ’84 Cadillac Coupe De Ville, 2006 Dodge Viper, 2007 Dodge Charger SRT-8 Super Bee and a first generation 1966 Dodge Hemi Charger. When the Dodge Charger debuted, it wasn’t the popular car it is today, but it laid the foundation for what the Charger would become.
Snoop Dogg’s “Lakers Edition” 1967 Pontiac Parisienne (Collector)
Snoop Dog has a love for lowriders and is known to customize cars to reflect his personality. His favorite cars are modified 1960s and early ’70s Cadillacs and Buicks. His personalized collection include “The Batman,” a Polaris Slingshot and a customized lowrider Cadillac DeVille named the “Snoop DeVille.”
When Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016, Snoop wanted to honor him and did so by giving him a customized 1966 Pontiac Parisienne painted in Lakers colors with the faces of Lakers icons Shaq, Magic, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Kobe painted on the hood. But taking center stage, a picture of Snoop Dogg himself dunking a basketball in the car’s one-of-a-kind paint job.