When someone comes into money, it’s not uncommon for them to blow it all. Fancy houses, endless champagne, and of course, expensive cars. Celebrities seem to have similar tastes when it comes to luxury cars. But when it comes to businessfolk, some of the wealthiest American entrepreneurs drive dirt cheap cars.
The Walton Family of Walmart has driven cheap cars from the start
If you need something in a pinch, chances are Walmart has you covered, offering daily essentials at low prices. But the Walton family seemed hooked on cheap cars as well, sticking with the theme of saving money and living better.
Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, drove a 1979 Ford F-150 as his last car before his passing in 1992. The base price for one of those in 1979 was around $5,500, and the Super Cab was roughly $6,300. That’s around $20,000 for the base model and $23,000 for the Super Cab in today’s dollars. That’s less than the starting price of a new Ford F-150 right now.
But that fiscal mindset translated to Sam’s two kids, Jim and Alice Walton, both of whom are among the top 20 richest people in the world. Alice Walton, like her father before her, drives a Ford F-150. Though, hers is a newer and more luxurious 2006 Ford F-150 King Ranch, which cost around $40,000 in 2006 ($54,000 today). But when your net worth is $70 billion, spending $50,000 on a cheap car is nothing.
Then there’s Jim Walton, who went even cheaper. Jim owns a 1992 Dodge Dakota, which went for $8,845 back in the day ($17,000 today). Clearly, the family is drawn toward cheap trucks, and have been from the start.
Mark Zuckerburg has owned a plethora of cheap cars
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is known for his somewhat awkward tech geek persona. But in terms of cars, he has rather modest tastes. The three cheap cars associated to him are an Acura TSX, Volkswagen Golf GTI, and even a Honda Fit, all of which fill different needs.
In terms of subtle luxury, the Acura TSX is a fairly safe bet. Under the luxury brand, the TSX is just a Honda Accord, but with a nicer interior and better comfort. And it’s the car of choice for Mark Zuckerburg because of its inconspicuous nature. When new, the TSX cost right around $30,000, and those things are incredibly reliable (I know because I drive one too).
Then there’s the Volkswagen Golf GTI, a sporty hatchback for a reasonable price. While the year is unclear, a 2021 Volkswagen Golf GTI starts at $28,000. And the GTI that Zuckerberg drives is a stick, so we know he too is trying to save the manuals!
Then there’s the Honda Fit, the most budget of the bunch. Discontinued in America just last year, this cheap car represents a segment of the market that’s slowly dying: budget hatchbacks. But Zuckerberg reportedly owned one, tooling around and getting a cool 40 mpg on the highway (30 mpg in the city).
That said, back in 2014, Mark Zuckerberg did splurge on a $1.4 million Pagani, but even still that’s a reasonable amount of money to pay.
Even Jeff Bezos drove a humble Honda Accord
Jeff Bezos was just shot into space, but in terms of car ownership, he’s quite down to earth. He’s owned Hondas ever since the company went public in 1998. In fact, when Amazon made it big time, Bezos was driving a 1996 Honda Accord.
In 2013, well after Bezos became a billionaire, he still drove a Honda, as it represented spending money on what really mattered for the customer. That would entail that rides up to space are more important to him than his selection of cars, but I digress.
Cheap cars are out there, floating around on Craigslist ready to be snagged. And if billionaires see them as a reasonable way to get from point A to point B, then there should be no shame in you driving one either. After all, now I get to say I drive the same cheap car Mark Zuckerberg does.