Heiress Margaux Mirkin Balanced the Budget with a Fleet of Dream Cars for Hire
The daughter of Morris Mirkin, founder of Budget (her mother is an artist), Margaux was not coaxed into the family business. Her Drive-a-Dream actually evolved quite accidentally. At 16, she acquired her first car, a 1954 Porsche Speedster, with money she earned working for her father during summer vacations. She restored the car herself and started renting it on the side to movie studios for $100 per day. Upon selling it at a $2,000 profit, she started a theatrical auto agency, leasing classics to TV and movie studios. After completing her sophomore year at UCLA in 1976, Margaux quit to go into business full-time. Two years ago she thought up Drive-a-Dream, but selling her implacable father on the notion was tough. "He doesn't let go of the end of a dollar very easily," she says. Her initial success was convincing enough—80 percent of her 250 cars are on the highways any given day—and she now has a fleet worth millions and a staff of 20 who operate round the clock.
Margaux's personal collection of antique autos, including a Jag once owned by Clark Gable, is never driven. The cars are mothballed in several climate-controlled garages near the heiress's secluded canyon home. Instead, she notes, "I often hide out in a Volkswagen."