Herbert G. Chambers
November 15, 1940
|Residence||Old Lyme, Connecticut, US|
Boston, Massachusetts, US
|Occupation||Owner and president, The Herb Chambers Companies|
|Net worth||US$ 1.50 billion (July 2018)|
Herbert G. Chambers (born November 15, 1940) is an American billionaire businessman, owner and president of The Herb Chambers Companies, a group of 56 car dealerships in the greater Boston, Massachusetts area. In 2015, at the age of 74, he was named as one of the 400 richest Americans, ranking number 392, with an estimated $1.7 billion, by Forbes magazine.
Early life and career
Chambers was born in Dorchester, Massachusetts and was the son of a commercial artist and a homemaker. He grew up in a two-family home owned by his maternal grandmother. At the age of 13, Chambers' mother started charging him $15 per week rent and this was when he started working at the Stop & Shop supermarket in the neighborhood. He did very well at the market, earning promotions and raises, but his school work at English High School of Boston suffered. He ended up dropping out of high school in his senior year.
In 1959, Chambers was out of school and looking for a purpose in life, so he ended up joining the United States Navy as an aviation electrician. After four years in the service and acquiring the rank of Petty Officer Second Class - E-5, he returned home and started working at a South End bar that was owned by his mother. He worked for two months before being fired by his mother due to a scheduling mix-up.
After the Navy, Chambers began working as a copy machine repairman in Cambridge, Massachusetts for $75 a week, plus commission on any service contracts he could sell. By the time he was 22, he had started his own copier distribution company called A-Copy America, with money borrowed from his parents, in Hartford, Connecticut. The copier business was changing from a leasing model to a sales model due to the new low-cost copier models from companies like Minolta, Canon, and Sharp and Chambers started selling copiers along with copy supplies. His business soon became the world’s largest Minolta and Canon dealers with 1,400 employees in 36 offices.
In 1983, Chambers sold the A-Copy business to Alco Standard Corporation for a reported $80 million and he continued to work with the company for another two years.
Chambers started his automotive business after purchasing an Oldsmobile-Cadillac dealership in New London, Connecticut in 1985. His decision to purchase the business was based on his own poor buying experience at the dealership. As Chambers improved the operations of this first car dealership, he started the Herb Chambers Companies.
In May 2017, Chambers was awarded the New England Motor Press Association Executive of the Year Award for his outstanding contributions to the automotive industry.
Exotic car collector
In 2007, The Boston Globe carried an article and photo gallery highlighting Chambers' car collection. His collection of rare automobiles includes the McLaren F1, Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren, Ferrari Daytona Spyder, Ferrari LaFerrari coupe, Ferrari Enzo, Ferrari Daytona Coupe, 2006 Ford GT, 2008 Bugatti Veyron, Porsche 959 Supercar, 2006 Porsche Carrera GT, 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible, Ford Model B (1932) and a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL that was raced in the 1983 Cannonball Run.
When asked what car in his collection was his favorite, Chambers stated the 1972 Ferrari Daytona Spider that he owned in the early 1980s was his personal favorite.
Chambers lives in Old Lyme, Connecticut, and commutes to his Somerville, Massachusetts headquarters by private helicopter each Monday morning. During the weekdays, he lives at the Four Seasons Hotel Residences at the Boston Public Garden. During his flying commute, he often stops at one of his dealerships along the way for meetings. Along with the seven-passenger Bell 429 GlobalRanger helicopter, Chambers also owns a private jet and a string of yachts purchased over the years.
In 2016, Chambers helped to lead the effort to bring the Boston Police Department's mounted police unit back after it was disbanded in 2009 due to budget cuts. He was willing to donate $100,000 of the $1.5 million needed with the remaining funds would hopefully come from corporate support and city funding.
- "Forbes profile: Herb Chambers". Forbes. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
- Coffey, Brendan (2015-09-26). "In Boston, dealer Herb Chambers builds an empire (and attracts suitors)". Automotive News. Crain Communications, Inc. Retrieved 2015-12-05.
- Johnson, Katie (2015-12-04). "Five things you should know about Herb Chambers". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
- Wolfson, John (2011-03-01). "Wheels of Fortune". Boston. Retrieved 2015-12-15.
- Storrs, Francis, "The 50 Wealthiest Bostonians", Boston Magazine, March 2006
- Peter C.T. Elsworth (May 5, 2007). "Herb Chambers loves being king of cars". The Providence Journal. Archived from the original on June 22, 2011. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
- "New England Motor Press Association Announces Awards". Retrieved 2018-03-06.
- "What Herb Chambers drives", boston.com
- Halpern, Joe (2017-08-21). "Herb Chambers' McLaren F1 sells for a record $15.62M at auction". Boston Business Journal. Retrieved 2018-02-19.
- "Herb Chambers chats live about Presidents Day car deals". Boston.com. Retrieved 2016-02-20.
- Monahan, J.C. (2015-07-17). "Power Players: Herb Chambers". WCVB-TV. Retrieved 2016-01-13.
- Staff, Writer (2016-05-24). "Honorary degree for auto dealer Herb Chambers". Wicked Local. GateHouse Media. Retrieved 2016-05-24.
- Chesto, Jon (2016-08-18). "Boston's mounted police might ride again". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2016-08-18.