Ace Car Club’s rentals may be just your speed

11/24/2011 5:00 AM

11/24/2011 7:32 AM

It has worked with cigars, wine and other indulgences, so why shouldn’t a club geared toward sports car lovers succeed?

That’s the thinking behind Ace Car Club, which Al Linnebur recently revved up in Wichita.

"I thought it might a nice little niche business to get into," Linnebur said.

Linnebur said personal experience gave him the idea for the business.

"About a year and a half ago, my wife and I thought it’d be fun to rent a Corvette and take a trip," he said. "We looked around Wichita and found you couldn’t do it."

Linnebur is offering for rental a red Corvette convertible and a silver Porsche 911, with plans to add more vehicles. A club membership costs $99 a year and allows the member to reserve the car up to two months in advance. Non-members can also rent cars, up to one month in advance.

Linnebur, who works as an engineering manager in the aircraft industry, said he put together a plan for the car club as part of a start-up business course at Wichita State University.

"There are businesses like this on the East Coast and West Coast, in the Chicago and Dallas areas," he said.

Linnebur said he doesn’t have a background in the car business, "other than liking to drive fun cars" and having owned a Corvette convertible himself. He thinks the club will appeal to people like him who like fast cars and have some extra money to spend on special occasions, "like a high school reunion, or maybe they just want to take a short drive across Kansas."

Rentals could also be arranged for birthday, Christmas or Valentine’s Day gifts, he said.

He chose the Corvette because it’s "near and dear to our hearts" and the Porsche because "it’s just kind of an exotic car that not too many people have."

The Porsche rents for $375 for a three-day weekend, or $100 on other days, while the Corvette goes for $450 a weekend or $125 per day. There’s a 200-mile-per-day maximum, with additional miles costing 50 cents each.

Linnebur hopes to provide additional services in the future, including fractional ownership.

"It’d be a situation where eight to 10 people would get together and own a fraction of a Ferrari or Lamborghini, something exotic like that," he said.

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