4x4 off-road safari. Egypt. Sinai desert
For their fourth wedding anniversary, Garrett Borland’s wife surprised him with a pearl-white 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo LP560 Spyder.
“It was exhilarating, but kind of scary at the same time when you realize you’re driving a car worth so much money,” says Borland, a marketing consultant and automobile enthusiast.
He and his wife planned to celebrate their anniversary with a trip to Niagara Falls on the first weekend in May, and he assumed they’d be driving there in the family car.
But staff from Affinity Luxury Car Rentals quietly delivered the $400,000 sports car to Borland’s home, ensuring he was awed to the max when he spotted it parked in their driveway.
“I had no idea, whatsoever,” he says. “She completely surprised me. The car was dropped off at our house early Friday morning.
“We both had a fantastic time, and driving a car like that certainly isn’t something you get to do every day.”
Affinity is among several GTA companies that rent out luxury vehicles, including such marques as Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Range Rover, Lexus and Porsche — perfect for milestone events such as a wedding or anniversary.
A select few offer ultra-fine cars, such as Bentleys, Ferraris or Lamborghinis, for customers who want to feel like a million bucks for a couple of hours, a night, a weekend or longer.
Affinity owner James Schwehr says he never ceases to be thrilled by watching a client’s reaction.
“Stuff like that gets me. I love creating those kinds of experiences,” he says. “We sneak up early in the morning and put the car in the driveway, so they see the vehicle of their dreams when they step outside. I’ve seen some break down and cry.”
Schweher’s car-rental business started small in 1992 near Dupont and Dufferin Sts. It has now grown to a fleet of 200 cars, trucks and exotic autos at five locations across the GTA. A sixth spot opens next month in Mississauga.
In addition to the luxury and exotic cars, Affinity rents a wide variety of more practical vehicles, ranging from a $14,000 Hyundai Accent to a $65,000 GMC Yukon SUV.
The 560-hp, 10-cylinder Lamborghini, which is Affinity’s top vehicle, rents for about $1,300 per weekday, $3,600 to $4,500 for a two- or three-day weekend, or $9,000 for a week.
It can also be rented for as little as an hour for special events such as wedding photos. A three-hour wedding shoot, with an employee driving the car, costs about $700.
The Gallardo is worth about $400,000, and costs Schwehr $18,000 to insure for six months. He wouldn’t dare have it driven during a Canadian winter.
Instead, this fall, Affinity’s exotic cars will be shipped to Las Vegas, where Schwehr partners with a Nevada rental agency.
Some of Affinity’s clients rent the luxury cars when they are considering buying one, and want more than a brief dealership test drive.
“Some companies have incentives for their top sales people, who are rewarded with things like trips or having an exotic car rented for them,” adds Schweher.
With classic American sports cars becoming more popular, Affinity is expanding its stock of those to keep up with demand. Its 1966 Mustang convertible is already booked for rentals right into the fall, and Schwehr is now looking to add a 1965 or ’66 Corvette and early Challenger and Camaro models to his fleet.
A modern muscle car was the ride of choice for Marvin Martin, who rented a 2010 Chevrolet Camaro SS for a May getaway with his wife — a 40th birthday gift from his family.
“It’s been kind of a dream of mine to have a car like that,” says the design engineer with a Waterloo welding firm. “A BMW just doesn’t do it for me. I’ve always been a GM fan and, when they came out with that retro-style Camaro, I immediately fell in love with it.”
He and his bride of nearly 17 years cruised about 500 kilometres to London and back, stopping at a retro-style A&W in Waterloo to have Martin’s picture taken with his dream car.
“I’d have to rate this gift as a 10 out of 10,” he says. “It was an awesome experience.”