The 17-year-old “car consultant” who makes a living picking out Lamborghinis
“Driving the McLaren 600LT was the worst experience of my life.” No, the speaker didn’t crash the British-born two-seater. Nor did he declare his life-topping trauma with an arched eyebrow. Kiyan Caras was serious.
Driving the McLaren was hell for one simple reason: he didn’t want to scrape the carbon snout protruding from someone else’s supercar. Nice kid. And I do mean kid. Caras is a 17-year-old car consultant. As Taylor Swift—who fled Reading, Pennsylvania for Nashville at 14—reminded us, the haters got to hate, hate, hate. In this case, not entirely without reason …
If you’re like me, your journey to automotive excellence began with a procession of slow, ugly, mean-spirited, jalopies. The idea of a Texas teen swanning around in an Audi R8, Lamborghini Huracán, McLaren 720S and Porsche 911 Turbo S is galling. An affront to years of hard work and unrealized automotive ambition.
But let’s give young master Caras credit. He parlayed boyish good looks, fanboy trips to high-end car dealers, thousands of hours speccing cars on Forza and an eternity diving down YouTube’s car-related rabbit holes into a place in the rarified world of automotive exotics. Last year, off-roading in his highly modified Jeep Gladiator (quick shifter, flame tune, Akrapovic exhaust, throttle tamer, extended wind visor), Kiyan befriended a Texan tycoon whose “other car” was a Rolls Royce Dawn. Dissing Goodwood’s galleon as rolling Xanax, the high schooler advised the forty-something mud-plugger he’d be happier in a Mercedes AMG GT four-door—Kiyan’s lack of experience with either vehicle notwithstanding.
Freed from classroom duty by the, ah, unprecedented pandemic, Kiyan set about manifesting his chutzpah. He located a box fresh example of Stuttgart’s leather-lined rocket ship, organized a test drive and advised on options. Done! The AMG GT’s new owner compensated Kiyan for his “buy this not that” expertise with a Versace shopping spree. Kiyan decided that future customers would pay cash. And pay they have—a grand in the hand and serious seat time for the soon-to-be-a-senior señor. Not many clients, mind. Three so far. But enough for Kiyan to consider full-time car consulting gig‚and reject it. “My Mom will kill me if I don’t go to college,” he admitted.
Make no mistake: Kiyan isn’t some car-crazed Gen Z party-goer leveraging white privilege for four-wheeled fun. This kid knows cars like a zoologist knows phyla—a discovery I made after handing him the keys to my 458. Yeah, I did that. And lived to not regret it. Not only did Kiyan drive the Ferrari like a car delivery service—albeit one in a bit of a hurry—his technical knowledge was first rate.
Taking turns at quasi-sensible speeds, Kiyan talked up the competition, lauding Lambo for building a Nurburgring slaying “aerovectoring” four-wheel drive car whose “front and back [aerodynamic] flaps close on the side you’re turning into to increase downforce.” Closer to my heart: Kiyan’s declaration that “I prefer purist’s cars. I don’t like computers altering the driving experience.” And this: “The driver makes the car, the car doesn’t make the driver. If you’re slow with 300 horsepower you’ll be slow with 600 horsepower.”
Aside from the fact that I couldn’t get the teenage car consultant to call me anything but “sir,” it was easy to forget that I’ve got sweaters older than Kiyan Caras. He talks about cars with the same informed passion as my cigar smoking amigos at the Casa di Montecristo. Then again, Kiyan’s perspective on car culture betrays his age. “A lot of Ferrari guys buy them just because of the name,” he asserted. “Lamborghini owners are less about show. More like true enthusiasts.”
I reckon Kiyan’s got it backwards, wife-beater T-shirt-wise. But what do I know? I’m just a guy who worked for 30 years before stumping up the cash—OK, credit—to buy a Ferrari 355B. He’s a kid who’s sampled some of the world’s sweetest rides a full four years before the Lone Star State will allow him to legally have a daiquiri.
No wonder a bit of arrogance underlies Kiyan’s unbridled enthusiasm. Offering a twice-divorced sexagenarian advice about dating, Kiyan told me that it’s best to have a girlfriend before looking for another one. “You don’t go shoe shopping barefoot.” Yes, well, do you trust a hormonal 17-year-old to tell you which $100K+ car to buy with what options?
I guess that depends on how much of a supercar expert you are, or want to be. And which 17-year-old is dispensing the advice. Sure, Kiyan Caras knows cars. But his knowledge of people is limited by his age. In all endeavors, automotive or otherwise, that’s where success lies. Hey Kiyan! Good luck with that.