Five years ago, as Eli Kogan was beginning to assemble his own collection of automobiles while living in Los Angeles, he quickly discovered the hassles that accompany owning multiple vehicles. Kogan dreamt of an auto club that offered exclusivity and combined social events with high-end automotive storage and collection-management services. After some research, the young car enthusiast discovered that such a place didn’t seem to exist. Leveraging his background in commercial real estate, as well as previous stints in the hospitality and automotive industries, Kogan got to work building one, eventually establishing the Otto Car Club in Scottsdale, Ariz. The name honors Nikolaus August Otto, a German engineer who is considered the father of the modern combustion engine.
“We have the right ethos here,” Kogan says of the club’s Scottsdale location. “Most people come to Scottsdale for leisure; they’re retired or seasonal and they come here for the weather, the roads, and the car culture. Scottsdale is the next automotive mecca.”
The club’s home—a 47,000-square-foot, purpose-built facility—features a 33,000-square-foot main collection room that can easily accommodate 110 vehicles in dedicated floor spaces, all of which allow those vehicles to independently move in and out of the showroom at any time. The air-conditioned facility (complete with carbon monoxide sensors, security cameras, and motion detectors) is also equipped with stacker spaces that can hold an additional 75 cars. Every space is outfitted with trickle-charge capability, including connectivity to 220 amps for hybrid models.
Outside, the club is further equipped with 19 private, two-car garages (all outfitted with the same features and capabilities as the main showroom floor), which provide members with 24-hour access. An additional two-car garage exists as the club’s in-house detail bay—a facility that provides cleaning and maintenance services for all members’ vehicles. “We take all the legwork out of owning multiple cars,” Kogan explains. “We make it arrive-and-drive for the members.”
Inside the club’s main building, on the second floor, Otto members can enjoy a private dining room, a library, and a variety of entertaining and social areas equipped with a billiards table, custom furniture, and a full wet bar. “A lot of these collectors want to share their cars with other people, but they don’t want to do it in an environment that makes them uncomfortable,” says Kogan, alluding to the downfalls of most social gatherings for car collectors, like cars-and-coffee events that are staged early in the morning and in parking lots that are open to the public. “[As members of Otto], they can be around like-minded individuals and not feel such a crazy spotlight. They can share their passion with people that understand it to the same level that they do.”
Exclusive club-organized opportunities—like attending car and motorcycle model launches, ride-and-drive events featuring new exotic sports cars, and track days at the nearby Apex Motor Club—are a major selling point for membership. “We’re trying to facilitate unparalleled experiences that they wouldn’t have access to outside of Otto,” says its founder.
The club offers two membership options. Social, which cost $5,000 per year, provides access to the facility and its amenities and the ability to participate in any of the club’s social events. Executive membership, $8,500 per year, includes all of the social perks, plus access to vehicle storage and the club’s collection-management services. Monthly storage fees range from $400 (on stackers) to $1,000 for a two-car garage.
Looking to the future, Kogan is already eyeing a handful of other destinations where Otto Car Club facilities could thrive. And thrive is exactly what he believes the clubs will do, especially as autonomous driving technology grows more popular and more advanced. If the day should come where the roads are populated mostly by self-driving machines, there will be a demand for such sanctuaries. “For people who care about cars,” he says, “places like Otto are going to be 10 times more important.”