The Gumball Rally is all about extremes with participants always trying to one up each other. How do you steal the thunder from another Gumballer with the exclusive Bugatti Veyron? Simply bring out your Aston Martin One-77, an even more expensive car at $1.9 million+ and more rare due to the fact that only 77 examples (hence the name) are to be made. The Aston Martin One-77 fits in hypercar royalty just fine thanks to its price tag, rarity, and power, which produces over 750hp from a naturally aspirated V12. We reached out to One-77 owner and Gumball veteran, Kevin Burke, to learn more about him and the experience that is the Gumball Rally.
To own an Aston Martin One-77 calls for some real wealth, where did you get your entrepreneur traits from?
I was born and raised in the suburbs of Los Angeles, California. My childhood was pretty uneventful until the junior high days as my mother became a single mom with three kids with no formal education beyond high school. She was a woman of the 50’s, a stay at home mom and then she had to support three kids. We went from very normal middle class to having to think where every dollar went. She forced us to think of everything on our own so as a result you became very entrepreneurial or you didn’t have any extra money. So paper routes and odd jobs mowing lawns, very typical kinda of stuff but really appreciated the results of hard work. She is a strong driving force in all of the success I have had ever. I was the only college graduate in my family, my brother and sister had the same opportunities but chose different paths. I graduated from University of Southern California (USC) with a B.A. in finance. Wanted to make money that’s all I knew.
A school like University of Southern California is not cheap, how were you able to afford it?
Athletic scholarship, financial aide, and student loans that I parlayed in the penny stock pink sheets… Good idea until I went skiing and left a huge amount of open orders that all got filled one day, “shit where is the loan shark when you need them!” College taught me how to learn, not anything specifically, and introduced me to many people that I would have never been exposed to.
After your odd jobs and college, what kind of businesses were you involved in?
A multitude, most failed but the fun is in trying. The following were good attempts but not very successful: documentary film on The Carnage in Juarez Mexico, a surf clothing company for hard core water men, a lugless wheel device for Formula One, a property and casualty insurance company… boring!!!!!
Since these are all very different industries, where did you get your ideas and inspiration from? How do you define failure?
The desire to improve myself and be competitive and also the gambler in all of us, and curiosity of other types of operations than what I was originally involved in. So many entrepreneurs become easily bored and short attention spans. Failure is losing everything, all capital that was originally contributed, & total shut down of the entity started.
Right out of college you got in the insurance business and made your fortune there, what can you tell us about that?
Was involved in the insurance business and was part of a unique twist in the industry that provided my good fortune. Can’t share much let’s just say that the insurance executives of the financial world are not getting chosen for jobs running Goldman… Now completely out of that industry and am building and developing high end boutique hotels.
What are your plans for these high end hotels?
Our goal is to have a slightly different twist on that which has already been done well by Ian with his Gramercy Park and Morgan’s Group properties, Andres with The Standard Hotel, and Nick Jones of Soho House fame have already done. We simply want to have a place that creative unique people can congregate in an absolutely safe environment and lay their head or have a dialogue that leaves them charged up and go back about their daily business. Our operations culture will be heavily influenced by the arts and the creativity that artists can infuse into the world. The goal is in the words of Damian Hirst, we would like it be, “beautiful inside your head forever!”
I’d imagine an Aston Martin One-77 is hard to daily drive. What else is in your garage?
That’s a very funny question. I primarily drive a Toyota Tacoma truck with a nice lumber rack. When I am feeling posh I get in my Toyota FJ Cruiser. When my confidence is overflowing a Audi A3 TDI diesel wagon that feels like a go cart. The ones that sit around gathering dust are a 2009 Lamborghini LP640 Murcielago roadster, a 2006 Aston Martin Vanquish S, and when I am really down in the dumps my new fun ride is my 2011 Aston Martin One-77.
Last but not least, tell us about your Gumball experience
I’ve now done the Gumball twice, in 2010 and 2011. In 2010, I shipped the Lambo to London and we made it all the way to Belgium on the first day and our car caught on fire. The front differential blew up due to wrong aftermarket wheels put on the car by the original dealer and as such due to very tight four wheel drives specs a big no-no. We didn’t even make the first night’s party in Amsterdam. We were sitting on the side of the Autobahn in a convertible with nice little drizzling rain, and two young Moroccan kids come out of no where and towed us into a town 40 km away with a 10ft of tow rope, that was scarier than going over 300 kmph. Then three cars later, one taken and impounded in Canada, we finished with a Toyota Camry from Hertz, LOL. This year pretty non eventful but a hell of a lot of fun a couple of good runs at 325 kmph plus in the One -77. Imagine trying to keep up with Bode Miller, Jon Olsson, and Leif Kristian Haugen, all world class skiers who are used to going over a 144 kmph on three inch wide planks in their underwear down a mountain.