If you’ve ever browsed Porsches for rent on Turo in San Francisco, chances are that you’ve come across the fine automotive offerings from Kent L. He has nine cars for rent, and all of them are beautiful machines that he treats with exceptional care. While auto enthusiasts are not hard to come by on Turo, Kent has a particular affinity for the Porsche — he’s got six of them for rent — which puts him into fanboy territory.
“Originally, I was a Beamer fanboy,” Kent explains. It was actually on a BMW forum that he first heard about Turo. “A guy had posted about wanting to try out an M3 when he was in the Bay Area, and someone else recommended Turo as a good option for that.” So Kent did some research and his interest was piqued. As both a gearhead and a professional in corporate accounting, the concept of sharing high-end cars with other people, and getting the cars to pay for themselves, sounded promising.
The first piece of what would grow into Kent’s classy fleet was a well-appointed, but somewhat unassuming 2014 Honda Accord. “The first car was an experiment, to get to know the business. It wasn’t necessarily meant to be cash-positive. I wanted to learn the the process, and see what the experience was like when issues arose,” Kent says. Ever the savvy business man, Kent quickly streamlined everything and was able to scale it. “But it’s not all about making a profit,” Kent interjects. “It’s really about being able to play with the toys. Here they are: all of the cars I always wanted to own.”
The way Kent got bit by the Porsche bug is pretty straightforward enough. Despite his lifelong dedication to BMW, he decided to test drive a Boxster, and it wasn’t even a question — he immediately changed his loyalties. When it comes to his Porsche love, Kent is forthcoming about counting the ways: “The fit and finish, the detail and reliability, the quality, the heritage, the pedigree — that’s 50 years of refining the 911. They’re built from the ground-up to be a driver’s car,” he says.
Kent shows affection for his cars by naming them, a practice that serves a practical accounting function, but is also something he has fun with. “For the Honda, the color just reminded me of red velvet cupcakes so it’s Red Velvet,” Kent says matter-of-factly. Since he’s a fantasy and sci-fi fan, he also gets his inspiration from Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. One can only hope that the red Jaguar F-Type bearing the name Melisandre possesses a wisp of her namesake’s black magic or that the white Boxster named Shadowfax understands human language.
It’s this enthusiasm that makes Kent such an effective owner. He works a 9-5 job, and spends all of his personal time prepping his cars for rentals — getting them cleaned, serviced, and detailed. As one might expect, his fleet tends to attract renters who expect a lot from the cars they rent. “You know, CFOs, CEOs, venture capitalists, and some YouTube celebrities,” Kent adds. Doug Demuro and Sam Fane of SeenThroughGlass have both rented his cars. Kent also has out-of-town regulars, who make an annual trip to the Bay Area and wouldn’t consider it complete without one of his cars.
“I never imagined that I would get to drive all of these cars,” he marvels. “It’s hard for me to say I like any one better than the others, they’re all so much fun.” And that’s surely a sentiment shared by his renters as well.