A crowd of admirers surrounded the $3.8 million 2018 Bugatti Chiron, videotaping its custom red leather interior, sleek lines and regal presence. The car enthusiasts gushed over its rarity, speculated on its price and wondered about its speed as their smart phones recorded every detail.
The pricey ride was clearly the rock star of the Cars and Coffee Palm Beach car show, but where was the owner? Where was the rich guy who owned such a decadent set of wheels?
Florida Fine Cars asked some questions and found out!
Tim Schmidt of Ontario was just a stone’s throw away, dressed head to toe in tie dye, wearing fluorescent yellow glasses and sporting a long gray beard and a wicked smile.
“I’m always in tie dye,” Schmidt said grinning, as he took a long drag on an “Export ‘A’ smooth taste” cigarette. “Being a rich person, if I dress up people won’t approach me. But if I dress like this, I’m more approachable. The colors are all about peace, love and happiness.
It’s a theme reflected in the photos of his Instagram account, which is peppered with pictures of Schmidt and his wife in an array of tie dye apparel, posing with celebrities like Dennis Rodman and Snoop Dogg. And of course, lots of cool cars. His handle is @hapyhipi, with 40,500 followers.
“A lot of people don’t expect a guy like me to get out of a car like that,” Schmidt chuckled. “I’m not above anyone else.”
His Bugatti is a showstopper but Schmidt likes to “drive it like he stole it.” He bought it to enjoy and to date holds a speed record. And he smokes in the car whenever he feels the urge.
“It’s a car,” Schmidt said, as he looked at the Chiron. “I smoke in all my cars. When I’m dead, it won’t make a difference if I smoked in my cars. You gotta enjoy life to the fullest. What do you think I’m going to do? Pull over every 15 minutes?”
Bugatti Chiron Captures Speed Record at Titusville Race Track
Schmidt drove the Chiron 261.696 mph on a 2.7-mile stretch in December 2018 at Johnny Boehmer Proving Grounds in Titusville, FL, setting a record for the fastest recorded run.
“I did half a mile faster than they said it was going to go,” Schmidt said, proudly. “It was like someone took an arrow and shot it as smooth as it can be. It was an unbelievable ride.”
Schmidt, a seasonal resident who has a two-bedroom house with a 12-car garage in Fort Lauderdale, owns 35 collectible cars and drives them all. He keeps some cars in Florida and some in Ontario on his 200-acre ranch.
“I buy them to drive them and enjoy them. These (collectors) buy these real expensive cars and park them for four to five years, then take them out for a ride and the warranty has expired,” Schmidt mused. “Why not drive them while they are under warranty? Even if I take one of my cars four or five miles, I am driving it.”
Collector Buys Pricey Cars to Drive, Share and Enjoy
True to his word, he brought seven of his cool cars to the January 2019 Cars and Coffee in Palm Beach Gardens, including a 2014 P-1 McClaren (which belongs to his wife Christine), a 2017 Lamborghini Hurricane, a 2015 Roll Royce Drophead, a 2018 Lamborghini Urus, a 1974 Dune Buggy impi, and a 2015 Lamborghini Aventador. The cars arrived in a head-turning caravan.
The eccentric car collector made his millions working in a family owned business that manufactured plastic car parts for General Motors. The business produced items like windshield wipers, air conditioning ducts, center consoles, dashboards and airbags. The company had locations in Canada, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Michigan.
“My father started the business in 1969. My mom took it over as my dad left the business to her,” he said.
Schmidt loves his cars and he loves talking to car enthusiasts about cars, wherever they are. Recently he drove the Chiron from Fort Lauderdale across Alligator Alley to a small car show at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers. Many of the college kids marveled that he would actually DRIVE such a pricey vehicle so far in traffic.
“I’m living the dream,” he said laughing. “What else am I supposed to do?”
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Florida Fine Cars offers more than 1,700 quality used cars priced thousands below retail at its four locations combined. Florida Fine Cars dealerships are conveniently located in West Palm Beach just north of Palm Beach International Airport, and in Margate, Hollywood and Miami.
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