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Millionaire’s threat to bury his Bentley is actually an elaborate object lesson [5 pictures]

Oct 28, 2013 By Abraham

In September 2013, Brazilian tycoon and socialite Chiquinho Scarpa announced on his Facebook page that he’d been inspired by a documentary he’d watched about the Pharaohs. He was impressed, he said, with the way they buried their wealth in order to have it in the afterlife.

So Scarpa decided to emulate the Egyptian royals and said that he would be burying his Bentley, a car worth $500,000.

Burying a Bentley - 01

He scheduled a “funeral” for September 20 and began to dig a hole on his property…

Burying a Bentley - 02

That wasn’t big enough, so he brought in an excavator…

Burying a Bentley - 03

The day for the interment, he posted this pic of himself applying a final polish to the doomed car…

Burying a Bentley - 04

Through this whole process, he got plenty of press in the news and on social media, almost all negative, of course, as people asked why he would make this bizarre decision. Why would he make this wealth utterly useless instead of giving it to a worthwhile cause?

Then on the day he was supposed to lower his Bentley to its final resting place he held a press conference and made this announcement

I have not buried my car, but everyone thought it was absurd when I said I’d do it. What’s absurd is to bury your body, which can save many lives. Nothing is more valuable. Be a donor, tell your family.

Burying a Bentley - 05


  1. B says:

    What’s even more crazy is that there are people that are concerned about what a millionaire decides to do with his money.

    1. Tink says:

      Not necessarily. Whilst I wouldn’t support people hurling abuse at him (and I generally think other people’s money/business is their own), it would be wrong to suggest the rest of the world should remain completely uninterested in what the wealthy elite do with their money. A tiny proportion of people take up a huge proportion of the world’s wealth, whilst a huge number live in absolute poverty and misery. Whilst I wouldn’t judge the wealthy elite for having luxuries or setting money aside to live in comfort, I’d argue it’s not unfair to be critical of actions that truly seem to be frivolous and achieve nothing. Do I care if a rich guy has a nice car? No. But would I be disappointed to read of the many ways money is absolutely wasted by millionaires where it could have been used for good? Yes, probably. There’s a difference between drinking fine champagne and bathing in it; sure the rich are entitled to do either – it’s their metaphorical champagne. But do we reserve the right to think it’s a waste? Definitely.

      I’m not necessarily arguing we should scrutinise all their purchases, but that we do reserve the right to be disappointed if we find out it’s truly ridiculous. One might argue the very rich live in circles where spending absolutely disproportionate amounts of money because they can is the norm; but that doesn’t necessarily mean they deserve complete immunity for being judged by their actions, or at least poked fun at. Everyone needs to be brought back to Earth now and again, and social pressure when used responsibly is a powerful motivator to do good.

      I think he found a very powerful way of making his point. Bravo.

      1. Graham gill says:

        What an absolutely fabulous piece of writing I cannot fault a word. Basicaly my sentiments spoken better than I ever could. Thank You

  2. Heather says:

    He’s surprisingly clever for someone who’d spend $500,000 on a goddamn car. Dig the message though. I’ve told my family to make sure they donate everything the could. I’d be happy that my cadaver was used training te next generation of doctors, if I could be happy at that point. People need to remember that in most cases of death organs are not useable so being an organ donor isn’t enough. My sister died in a car accident on te scene so she couldn’t donate organs, but we were able to donate her skin/tissue and we had to specify that despite her being an organ donor..

    1. Red says:

      He’s a billionaire. My guess is that he was probably fairly clever to earn the $500k to purchase the car in the first place. How much do you expect a billionaire to pay for his/her car? $20k?

      1. Red says:

        Also, the message was worth every penny of $500k. And you should have led with the story about your sister. It was far more compelling than your thoughts on what a billionaire should spend on a car.

  3. Leilia says:

    The Ancient Egyptians would have thrown a hissy fit over this.

    On the flip side, besides the taboo of it/ it not being necessary to survive, why don’t we replace sexual organs when they fail?

    1. Tink says:

      Because we physically can’t yet. Sexual organs are by definition very rich in nerve endings, and nerve regrowth is a difficult thing, it’s where we struggle when it comes to transplanting limbs at the moment. If you transplanted an organ only to find it had very little innervation/sensation, it would mostly defeat the point.

      Besides, most sexual dysfunction is not a problem which replacing the organs could actually help. A lot of it is psychosexual, or down to factors that would just cause the problem to recur in the future (viagra was originally for diabetics; if you don’t solve the diabetes, replacing the equipment won’t necessarily help). Though it might theoretically help in cases of trauma to the area or mutilation, we’re still a way away from replacing chunks of these, very finely tuned organs.

  4. mary says:

    Okay. Nice message. Now, how about using $500,000 to help people instead of spending it on a f*cking car, you rich a-hole.

    1. Red says:

      Seems to me that he did both. He used the $500k to buy a car that he then used to help people. Guess that’s why he’s the billionaire, and you’re not.

      Some people are never happy.

    2. Tink says:

      There’s nothing to say someone can’t do both… I find it highly unlikely that if any of us poor mortals here were to be given billions of dollars, we’d spend it all on charity (if only that were the case!). Likely most of us, even those of us who decided to donate heavily to charity, would still buy some ridiculously expensive stuff. It’s not the odd $500,000 that matters, it’s how billionaires use the rest of their $1000,000,000 or so that matters… The problem isn’t one particular purchase as much as it is what happens to that huge chunk of money.

  5. Hannah says:

    I always enjoy imagining how little the people who malign the rich actually contribute to society, in discussions such as this. I imagine he has probably done a considerable amount more for the good of man kind than many of his maligners have… generosity shouldn’t be measured proportionately!

  6. Shelley Dent says:

    I lost my 30 year old son 5 years ago and husband two years ago. Both were organ donors and saved lives. I lost my home and drive a 25 year old car I cannot even buy tires for. This makes a joke out of those of us who have lost someone and are truly suffering while trying to help the living.

    1. Damaia says:

      I don’t think he meant it as a joke at all. He was just doing something to get people’s attention, and unfortunately a lot of people will pay attention when someone wealthy decides to do something very stupid. (Paris Hilton in “A Simple Life” pops to mind.) When he knew he had a lot of the public’s attention, he used that attention to spread a very positive message. Your husband and son are unfortunately in the minority, especially in other countries, and it’s an important message to be spread.

      1. Sally says:

        Shelley, I’m so sorry for your losses of husband and son. I can see how his gesture could hurt and seem to belittle what they did, but I don’t think what was his intention. Think also of those lucky people whose lives were saved by you helping the living, and how they might be grateful both to you and to him for inspiring others to give. Yeah, his methods are bizarre but the message is still good.

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