Classic Driver Dealer: Clive Sutton
Photo: Simon Stuart-Miller
One of the most intriguing things about Clive Sutton Premier Marques is the man himself – Mr Clive Sutton. One could describe his business as a “cars to the stars” affair, by which we mean that his customers – while not necessarily film stars – tend to be super-high-achievers in their own firmaments. Well, if you’re in the market for an Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce or Bentley, you’re bound to have been successful somewhere along the line.
Which brings me back to Mr Sutton. Because Clive Sutton Premier Marques, the independent, boutique-style dealership in London’s St John’s Wood, was set up in 2005. Today, just three short years later, it has an annual turnover of roughly £15m. No wonder Mr Sutton understands his customers – life’s high-achievers – fairly well. He’s one of them.
What Clive Sutton offers is a tailor-made, personal car-buying experience that "upholds client discretion throughout". It's for both new and used cars; but we’re only talking top-quality cars here. The average selling price is £90,000. “We match cars to owners, sourcing the sort of vehicles which are in such high demand that you’d typically expect to join a two- or three-year waiting list. We like to think we make the unobtainable, obtainable.”
A quick look at his business, however, shows that there’s very much more to it than that. His team of ‘associates’ are so called because they provide a continuing relationship with clients by arranging services and repairs, too. As well as the core commercial activity of selling and maintaining cars, there are three further Clive Sutton subsidiaries. Clearly, he’s not a man to rest on his laurels.
Sutton Performance offers unique enhancement packages, from sports exhaust systems to engine and suspension upgrades, wheels and tyres, and so on.
Sutton Bespoke, meanwhile, offers clients a vast choice of security, in-car media and sound systems, and more besides. For example, there’s the option of ‘stretching’ your vehicle to provide extra leg-room. Or how about a six-door conversions for your Range Rover or Mercedes? A ‘personal stylist’ will offer the client what Clive Sutton calls “an interior designer approach” to personalising a car. From concepts ‘Savile Row’ (classic and understated – very ClassicDriver) through to, dare I say it, ‘American Bling’, the Sutton Bespoke team can create something truly unique.
Also under the Sutton Bespoke banner is the installation of mobile office equipment – boot-mounted laptops with remote keyboard, mouse and monitor, along with mobile Internet connection and in-car fax machines.
The final Clive Sutton subsidiary is the finance & leasing division, to offer competitive funding for your Premier Marque, once Clive Sutton has sourced it for you.
After setting up all this in just three years (following 20 years at the head of one of London’s largest dealership networks), you wouldn’t imagine Clive Sutton – the man, not the business – would have time or energy for much else. But you’d be wrong. Married with five children, Sutton has indulged his passion for gadgets and gizmos by converting his own house into a “total home entertainment centre” – complete with a networked cinema and over 50 speakers throughout the house. In fact, this passion for technology has led Sutton to set up a side venture, Digital Homedia, a company which revolutionises the way people live with digital technology in their home. The tailor-made digital packages develop clients’ homes with an innovative range of services that "place technology at the heart of the living environment".
And there's more. “I play the keyboard in a six-piece rock band called Ubaldi. And I’ve jammed in New Orleans and Chicago.” He is also known as an active supporter of the Terrence Higgins Trust and the Holocaust Educational Trust, among other charities. Phew.
See www.clivesutton.co.uk and www.suttonbespoke.co.uk.
Please click HERE to see all Clive Sutton Premier Marques ' cars for sale in the Classic Driver car database.
Text: Charis Whitcombe
Photos: Clive Sutton
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