One of the first words to leave his lips was “Porsche”. So we shouldn’t be surprised that Florian Lemberger, a former Swiss corporate financier, ended up, in 2014, founding a network of the world’s most discerning car collectors whose average collection is worth around £20m. Three years on, the Supercar Owners Circle offers members – who, along with their collections, are scrutinised carefully upon application before being accepted – supercar experiences all over the globe, as well as a wide range of services and benefits. Next up is Dubai and Abu Dhabi – but we caught up with Lemberger at SOC’s most recent event in Andermatt, Switzerland.
What sort of personality traits make someone attached to all things automotive?
That’s a very difficult question to start off, and I can only answer it from my limited experience gathered through SOC. Our members and participants are very diverse – they come from various backgrounds, with different interests and personalities. What they all have in common is that they are adventurous, have a strong sense for aesthetics, are highly dynamic, like independence and have a strong affinity with technology.
Why do aficionados of all things automotive feel a social need to congregate?
People enjoy sharing their passion with like-minded enthusiasts. It‘s always interesting to meet other collectors in a relaxed atmosphere to hear their stories, engage in joint activities and encourage the exchange of experiences.
Are new generations’ priorities, in what they want from a supercar, any different to their predecessors?
The aim of every supercar manufacturer is to use the best available technologies at any given point in time, to push limits and of course to set new benchmarks. When it comes to the collectors, I believe the priorities have to be assessed outside of the context of generations. It’s more a question of personal taste and liking. Many enthusiasts of classic cars are interested in history, design and nostalgic values. On the other hand, performance and technology are the most important aspects of a modern supercar.
When we look at luxury motor cars, do you feel the market and tastes are changing?
Of course, the market and tastes are constantly changing. The industry doesn’t stand still. There’s an increasing number of regulations that manufacturers must comply with, and at the same time there are new technologies and materials becoming available.Manufacturers set new trends, constantly evolving their brand identity and trying to meet customers’ requirements. Some cars, however, became so iconic over the years that they will always remain in high demand and even inspire modern car designs. I’m thinking of design icons like, for example, the Mercedes 300SL Gullwing, or the Jaguar E-Type.
What traits makes a vehicle a worthy addition to an SOC weekend?
High attention to detail and selectivity are at the core of SOC. We only admit limited production specials and rare historic cars – in other words top-of-the-range automobiles from the past and present. All the cars attending our SOC weekends are collectibles – so they must have a certain significance in the industry and a special appeal to car collectors.
What would be your big life hobby if you’d been born before the invention of the combustion engine?
I always had an affinity with aesthetics, be it related to music, interior design or cars. As a little boy I played piano, and according to my teacher I was a rather gifted player. I think I would have pursued this hobby if it wasn’t for the supercars.
You’re obviously a businessman – when and in what circumstances do you get your best business ideas?
I get my best ideas when I manage take myself out of daily routines and reflect on the bigger topics in life. I do really enjoy nature. Being by the sea and listening to the waves hitting the shore immediately shakes up my everyday routines and frees my mind. Of course, another important source of inspiration for me are interesting discussions with smart and creative people.
Who are you major inspirations in life and why? Motor sport drivers, businessmen?
Clichéd as it might sound, my biggest inspiration in life are my parents. Both of them work in the medical sector. All they care about is people, not material belongings. Throughout my childhood they have taught me the right values in life and contributed to an atmosphere full of affection and mutual respect. I believe nowadays these social skills are increasingly important, and no business school can teach them.
For more information about the next SOC Weekend in Dubai and Abu Dhabi in December, see supercarownerscircle.com
Florian Lemberger wears a Bvlgari Octo Tourbillon Sapphire SOC wristwatch.