Doug DeMuro - Carspotter!

Doug DeMuro - Carspotter!

The point of carspotting, as the name implies, is to spot cars - the more exotic, the better - in their native habitat, i.e., at speed, on the road. Two centuries ago, John James Audubon documented birds in elaborate paintings. Nowadays, of course, digital cameras or cell phones make life a lot easier. And this being the digital age, sightings are routinely posted online, often to Web sites that have been created to feed the carspotting cult.

It's impossible to say how many people are seriously active in the hobby. Hundreds, probably. Certainly not much more than a few thousand worldwide. The demographic skews sharply young, male, and insanely car crazed. Fittingly, the world's best-known carspotter - the felicitously named Spyder Dobrofsky - came to international prominence in 2006 when he was fourteen years old, thanks to video he'd shot of a Ferrari Enzo in Los Angeles that was subsequently and notoriously totaled in a high-speed wreck on Pacific Coast Highway.

DeMuro, 20, is a perfect fit for the carspotting demo. Tall and gangly, with a baby face and an earnest, eager-to-please manner, he's a junior at Emory University in Atlanta who's majoring in economics (with a 3.4 GPA) in the hopes of landing a job in the automobile industry. He took up carspotting not because he'd heard about it and thought it was cool but because he is, first and foremost, a demented car guy.

"When I was on my first date with my first girlfriend in February of '05," he explains, "I saw a Porsche Carrera GT. I told all of my friends, and they didn't believe me, so I said, 'Well, we'll see about that.' Now, I've photographed five of them."

DeMuro has 1579 sightings of 834 individual cars catalogued in an Excel spreadsheet that he updates constantly. He's shot as many as thirty-six cars in one forty-hour thrash, and his record for a month is eighty-six. He doesn't pad his total by ambushing exotics driving in and out of dealerships, and like a fisherman who throws back the small ones, he can't be bothered with Volkswagen-engined Bentleys ("They're literally everywhere"), Maseratis ("That was a sad day when I dropped the Quattroporte. I lost about a hundred sightings right away"), or Porsche 911 Turbos ("I hate the people who own them. For that money, they could have a Ferrari").

DeMuro collected his first trophy, a Bentley Arnage, on May 14, 2005, near his home in Denver, and he's captured some of his rarest prey in Colorado. There was, for example, an ex-Steve Wynn Enzo (black with a tan interior) that DeMuro got a ride in - at 140 mph - after giving the owner a blown-up copy of the photo he'd posted on FerrariChat.com. And he nailed Ralph Lauren in his Bugatti Veyron near Telluride.

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