Saturday, November 25, 2006

Billionaires and their zoomobiles

If I were the richest man on Earth, then I'd own the most expensive car, the priciest jewellery, latest high-tech gadgets... Probably at one time or the other you might find your thoughts veering in this direction.

According to the Forbes magazine Bill Gates is still the richest man on Earth and to add that something extra to your day's read, here's what the top billionaires on the Forbes 2005 list drive. You will be stunned to know the vehicles that Forbes' Top Ten richest people in the world are driving. Bugattis, Ferraris or BMWs are not driven by these billionaires. However there are cars like Lincoln, a Mazda, even a Dodge and Ford. It seems that for the super-rich, a vehicle is seen not as a status symbol. Status is something that these billionaires need not prove to others. They prefer to live discreetly, avoiding the limelight at all costs. Here's what the nine richest persons are driving.

William Gates III
• Net worth: $46.5 billion
• Vehicles owned: 1999 Porsche 911 Convertible; 1988 Porsche 959 Coupe
• Gates' daily driver — a 1999 Porsche 911 Convertible — is ripe for replacement, especially considering that Porsche totally redesigned the latest 911, the 997, for 2005.

Paul Allen
• Net worth: $21 billion
• Vehicles owned: 1988 Porsche 959 Coupe; 1988 Mazda B-Series Pickup
• Allen can be found cruising the autobahn in his 1988 Porsche 959 Coupe.

Jim Walton
• Net worth: $18.2 billion
• Vehicles owned: 2002 Dodge Dakota Pickup; 2000 Acura Integra; 1998 Mitsubishi Montero Sport; 1999 Chevrolet Silverado Pickup; 1959 Cadillac
• For Jim Walton, vehicles are a means to an end. This might explain why his daily driver is a 2002 Dodge Dakota pickup.

Alice Walton
• Net worth: $18 billion
• Vehicles owned: 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch
• Alice Walton has a 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch, which provides her with an ideal blend of luxury and towing capacity.

Michael Dell
• Net worth: $16 billion
• Vehicles owned: 2004 Porsche Boxster; 2005 Hummer H2
• When the weather turns nasty, Dell enjoys the comfort and security of his latest toy — a 2005 Hummer H2 SUV

prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud
• Net worth:$23.7 billion
• Vehicles owned: Infiniti FX45; Hummer H1; Volvo XC90; Rolls-Royce Phantom; Daewoo Matiz
• A glimpse inside Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud's garage reveals a vehicular absurdity — parked next to two Daewoo Matizs are two Rolls-Royce Phantoms.

Warren Buffett
• Net worth: $44 billion
• Vehicles owned: 2001 Lincoln Town Car
Signature Series

Steven Ballmer
• Net worth: $12.1 billion
• Vehicles owned: 1998 Lincoln Continental
• Ballmer stays true to his Detroit roots by driving a 1998 Lincoln Continental.

Ingvar Kamprad
• Net worth: $23 billion
• Vehicles owned: 1993 Volvo 240 GL
• Founder of the Swedish furniture and home goods company IKEA, Kamprad owns a 13-year-old Volvo 240 GL. Though he may own a Volvo, Kamprad still takes the bus and even uses his pensioners' discount card.

Lawrence Ellison
• Net worth: $18.4 billion
• Vehicles owned: 2006 Bentley Flying Spur; Bentley Continental GT
• Ellison prefers the finer things in life, like the British luxury, style and refinement found only in a Bentley. As the most powerful luxury sedan, the Bentley Continental Flying Spur provides him with the perfect balance of driving exhilaration and four-door practicality.

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