Marqued

Feature

Rally brings high-end car collecting to the masses

Written by Aaron McKenzie, Photography by Trevor Dalton

Jul 12, 2022

Exploring the secret car vault of fractional investing app Rally

Editor's note: Marqued is a venture of Porsche Digital, Inc. who have also invested in Rally. Given the shared automotive passion on both teams, we were excited to share this story.

Anyone who has ever used the word “portfolio” in reference to the cars in their garage knows that the word can be, shall we say, divisive. Automotive enthusiasts prefer to tell themselves — and certainly to tell others — that they’re merely in this hobby for the beauty of the machines, for the pure thrill of the drive. Treating one’s cars as a financial instrument just strikes them as…tawdry.

And with few exceptions, most enthusiasts cannot afford to own more cars than they can drive, more cars than they can maintain, or cars more valuable than they can hope to insure. The majority of car enthusiasts — like the majority of investors generally — simply have no choice but to seek their monetary returns in the form of mutual funds, stocks, bonds, and now crypto, none of which demand garage space, oil changes, or trickle chargers. This division — allowing cars to be cars, and finance to be finance — also allows the enthusiast community to maintain its great charade of pretending that it doesn’t care about car values, that it’s all merely about “the passion.”

It’s a fun charade, but having acknowledged it, let’s now be honest: at some point, certain cars transcend the status of mere transportation and become appreciating assets. One might even go so far as to call them, yes, financial instruments. The upshot — at least until now — was that only those select few investors who could hope to buy, store, and maintain, say, a Jaguar XJ220 or an Alfa Romeo Giulia SS had any hope of realizing the gains that come with owning such a car.

Which is where Rally comes in. Headquartered in New York City, Rally is an investing platform that acquires collectible assets (including rare sports cards, watches, whiskeys, comic books, and even dinosaur fossils, in addition to cars), creates an SEC-registered company around them, and then splits that company into equity shares. Investors purchase shares in these company IPOs, building a fractional portfolio around various collectibles in the Rally app. Investors can then sell their shares during daily trading sessions, after a minimum 90-day holding period. The upshot is that each car in the Rally universe is potentially owned by thousands of shareholders. It’s a simple concept — and one that dates back to the original merchants of Venice in the 14th century — but also a disruptive one.

“People have been looking at cars, art, watches, wines, and whiskeys for a long time and wondering, 'Why can't I simply trade these things like stock?'" says Christopher Bruno, co-founder and president of Rally. "So I don't think we’ve reinvented the wheel in any way. We just found an innovative and efficient way to let enthusiasts invest in what they know and love collectively as a community, the same way they invest in stocks, with all the reporting requirements, the liquidity, the disclosures, and the protections that retail investors deserve. Conceptually, though, people have been talking about this for a long time."

We can already hear the horrified gasps from the hardcore enthusiasts who insist that cars were made to be driven, and that there’s little point in owning a car you can’t drive. It’s a defensible — and admirably passionate — position, but one which ignores the fact that a certain class of collector has always viewed cars as an asset worth cultivating for financial, and emotional, gain. Rally merely brings this opportunity to the masses. It’s an idea which started with Bruno’s own feeling of constantly missing out on the opportunity to own these cars as their prices climbed ever higher.

"I grew up around and coveted these cars," he says. “And as I learned about them, I wanted to be more a part of the community, but I couldn't afford to be. And every time I looked up a few years later, the market had moved further and further out of reach for the stuff that I really cared about. Rally was designed to allow those of us with limited resources to optimize those resources for driving, for participation, and for appreciation."

What types of cars can the masses now expect to own via Rally? We recently paid a visit to the Rally vault and got a peek at the “companies” parked inside. At first glance, it looks like a collection you’d proudly amass in Forza Motorsport — and one that most people could only ever fantasize about owning in real life. This is the crème de la crème of rare specs, rare colors, and low-mileage special editions. Some of the cars are blue chips, others are speculative leaps on future market trends. And yes, these are all now “garage queens,” given the care and respect that any royalty — or shareholder — would demand. The “portfolio” (there, we said it) includes such timeless designs as a 1955 Porsche Speedster and a Maserati 3500 GT, but in a nod to the up-and-coming generation of enthusiast (and tech-savvy) collectors, cars of the 1980s and 1990s feature prominently in the assembly: a 1990 Lamborghini Diablo SE30 Jota, the holy lineage of V8 Ferraris (a 328 GTS, a 348 Spider and a 355 Spider, all in rare shades of blue), and a one-of-two Lamborghini Countach turbo prototype, to name a few.

Rally RoadRally Road

But rather than providing an inventory of the cars in the vault, we invite you to enjoy the photo galleries that accompany this story and, if you’re game, test your carspotting skills by listing as many of the cars as you can in the comments section below.

As with any form of investing, the world of collectibles is not without risk and investors in Rally assets should not be out to make a quick buck, as collectibles tend to require a long time-horizon to realize a profit. However, Rally offers investors the ability to further diversify their investment portfolio by owning assets that may not be well-represented on a traditional stock exchange and, most importantly, that they actually care about and can fully understand. In the event that Rally and the investors decide to sell an asset before investors have sold their shares, Rally distributes the net profits to the investors in proportion to their ownership, something they have apparently done quite successfully on numerous occasions, including achieving a recent world record for a Ferrari Testarossa.

Is all of this as exciting or as visceral as feeling the rear end of your M3 kick loose on a mountain road, or being pinned to the seat when you nail the accelerator on that Viper? Perhaps not, but Rally’s offerings are an honest admission of what those “with means” have known for years, specifically that certain cars increase in value, sometimes quite significantly. Why shouldn’t everyone have the opportunity to buy a ticket and take that ride?

Rally RoadPhotographed by Trevor Dalton

More about Rally

For more info about Rally and to keep up with their growing collection, be sure to check out their Instagram (@rally) and their website.

Meet our contributors

Aaron McKenzie is a Los Angeles based writer, photographer, and producer with an eye for all things automotive. You can see more of his work by checking out his Instagram (@aaronwmckenzie).

Photographer Trevor Dalton's clean, minimalist style and use of low light pairs well with his passion for analog film photography. You can see more of his work on his Instagram (@iamtrevordalton).


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