Scott Lear
Scott Lear
7/17/18 11:41 a.m.

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Not long after the Model T Ford brought motoring to the masses, some clever entrepreneurs realized that they could make a few bucks by providing cars on a short-term basis to people in need. As simple as that, the rental car business was born.

Joe Saunders of Nebraska is credited as the first person to rent out his Model T. His target market was traveling salesmen, but it’s rumored that his first customer in 1916 wanted the car so he could impress a date.

Walter Jacobs took a larger-scale approach when he started renting and servicing a fleet of a dozen Model Ts in Chicago two years later. When John Hertz’s Yellow Cab Co. acquired Walter’s business in 1923, it was bringing in $1 million per year.

Air travel went nuts after World War II. All of those flyers needed a way to get around, so the rental car market enjoyed a similar explosion in popularity. Today’s rental options range from economy passenger cars and moving trucks to hyper-exotic street machines. A set of wheels are just a valid driver’s license and credit card away.

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racerdave600 UltraDork
7/17/18 2:19 p.m.

We used to rent seats in IMSA, and it is a better deal than buying, unless you wreck it.  Most "renters" require you to be responsible for damage to the car, including if you total it.  We had one poor guy that didn't even take the green and was taken out by a competitor that turned him around in front of the field.  He had to write a check for a not so cheap race car.  He was considered an up and comer, but I never heard about him again after that.  So keep in mind if you do rent, that you should be able to still buy the car and throw it off a cliff if the worst happens.  

irish44j UltimaDork
7/17/18 4:55 p.m.

I'd rather build (or buy) a car to race, so if it gets balled up, i can just stick it in my garage until finances area available to fix it (or not fix it) rather than have to write a check for the cost of the car. I know some people rent stage rally cars, which totally blows my mind since there is an even better chance of wrecking those. I worry enough about wrecking my own rally car and am somewhat cautious. In a rental car I'd be driving half-speed I think lol....

HapDL New Reader
7/18/18 10:05 a.m.

The level of ignorance about "pro" auto racing among most race "fans" is astounding.  At least half the drivers in any "pro" event are paying for the ride, for sure the only real pros are the ones piloting the factory GTE/GTLM cars.  Every other class is just chock full of pay to play people, and the level of driving reflects it these days.  Crash, full course yellow, crash, full course yellow, rinse and repeat.  Not a good show at all. 

Appleseed MegaDork
7/18/18 10:33 a.m.

If it floats, berkeleys, or flies, it's cheaper to rent than buy.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn UltimaDork
7/18/18 1:12 p.m.

There's a lot to be said for doing an arrive and drive with a rental, I did it for about a decade with a spec racer Ford.  For one thing, when you're not on the track you can be relaxing with a cold drink, rather than feverishly working on the car to get it ready for the next session. smiley  Even with some repair costs over the years, I spent less on rental than if I had bought a car (and that's not counting having to have a truck and trailer to haul the thing around, a place to keep it at home, etc.)

slefain PowerDork
7/18/18 3:13 p.m.

Hertz still rents Mustangs right? Just make sure to get the insurance.

LanEvo HalfDork
7/18/18 5:02 p.m.

My only real concern with arrive-and-drive is wrecking the car. Seems to me that it would be:

  1. more likely to happen, since I probably woundn't know the car very well; and
  2. more financially punishing, since I'd have to pay all the repair costs up front.

If I ball-up my own car, I have the option of dumping it on my driveway for the rest of the season. I could repair it or part it out at my own pace as time and money allows.

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