Proving that the pixie dust of fame can enhance the value of most anything, a 33-year-old Porsche 911 Turbo once owned by Bill Gates was sold at auction for far above its estimated value.
Dorotheum had estimated that the pearlescent-blue 1979 beauty, which the Daily Mail says Gates sold in the 1990s, would fetch somewhere between €39,000 and €50,000 ($49,000 and $63,000). An unnamed German bidder, however, snapped up the ex-Microsoftian's ex-chariot for €64,000 ($80,000) in a telephone bid.
That bidder received not only the 2+2 speedster – voted number five in 1999's Car of the Century competition, behind the Ford Model T, Mini, Citroen DS, and Volkswagen Beetle – but also letters to and from Microsoft and Porche, and Gate's Washington state car-registration documents.
Although the whale-tailed vehicle may now be as old as Jesus was when that worthy left our planet, its 3.3-liter, 300-hosepower engine has been thoroughly overhauled, providing its new owner with the acceleration – and likely also the turbo-lag – for which the 911 was justly famous.
Four years after Microsoft went public, Bill Gates treated himself to this Porsche 911
These days, international philanthropist Gates – estimated by Forbes to be worth around $61 billion despite having already given away $28 billion – eschews such zippy flamboyance. "I drive myself around town in a normal Mercedes," he told the Austrian Times.
He hasn't fully given up on the Stuttgart speedsters, however. "The family has a Porsche, which is a nice car that we sometimes take out," he says.
But at heart, he's just another family man – albeit an insanely wealthy one. "We have a minivan," he confessed, "and that's what we use when it's the five of us." ®