FORT LAUDERDALE – Car collector Tim Schmidt, whose $3.8 million 2018 Bugatti Chiron wowed the crowds at Cars and Coffee Palm Beach earlier this year, lost more than $1 million in exotic cars in a two-alarm fire that raged through the custom garage of his Fort Lauderdale home.
Schmidt, of Ontario, spoke with Florida Fine Cars in January about his Bugatti, his exotic car collection and why he likes to dress in tie dye.
He recently posted to his Instagram account @hapihipi: “To all. Thanks for your kind words it’s still killing me BUT I will come back bigger and better watch and see. #thanksfortheloveandsupport.
Destroyed in the May 21st blaze were an $80,000 2013 Nissan GTR, a $27,000 2017 Harley Davidson, a $420,000 2016 Bentley Moulsanne, a $350,000 2018 Porsche 911 Special, a $28,000 1973 Volkswagen Thing, a $130,000 2018 Tesla Mode XB100B and two golf carts and two jetskis.
No one was injured but his seasonal home on Southeast 12th Court is uninhabitable, he told Florida Fine Cars. The Ontario resident was in Canada when the two-alarm fire broke out and is returning to Florida to assess the damage. He said on Saturday he is too upset to discuss the loss.
“Sorry but I can’t talk,” Schmidt said in a text message. “I’m still just too devastated over this.”
Schmidt said the source of the blaze may have been electrical.
Shortly after the fire broke out, Schmidt told his followers on Instagram, “We are fine, just have broken hearts,” followed by another post of “no words, just tears.”
According to the Fort Lauderdale Fire Department, the fire started in the garage and spread quickly and intensely.
“This was a very, very, very heavy fire,” said Chief Stephen Gollan, spokesman for the Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue, told the news media. The fire was reported at 8:52 p.m. and wasn’t under control until 9:40 p.m. The blaze was so intense it required 50 firefighters to put it out.
Schmidt, an admitted eccentric, usually dresses head to toe in tie dye, wears fluorescent yellow glasses and sports a long gray beard and a wicked smile. He’s friendly, approachable and loves to talk about his cars with just about anyone who wants to chat.
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 Instagram account has more than 40,500 followers.
“A lot of people don’t expect a guy like me to get out of a car like that,” Schmidt chuckled in January as he stood next to his pricey Bugatti. “I’m not above anyone else.”
“I’m always in tie dye,” Schmidt told Florida Fine Cars in an interview. “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.
The exotic 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.
Back in January, he brought seven of his collectible cars to 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 garage at Schmidt’s Fort Lauderdale home could accommodate 12 cars, but he owns 35 collectible cars. 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 said in January. “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.”
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