The mysteriously eloquent and well-dressed man in this one take, believe it or not. 10 years ago, a bullet cracked the glass of his Chicago luxury condo, which set the scene for his appearance in Jamie Johnson (& Johnson)‘s documentary on income inequality and the 1%. Karl is not a “consultant” as he claims to be in this video.
His full name is Karl T. Muth and he is an investment banking heir, a fact that unsurprisingly, Matt dances around in both of the one takes he’s done with the dude’s cars. Aside from this truly epic video with Karl’s LS-swapped Jag, there’s also this quick drive of his fiance’s 914:
I recognized him immediately while I was watching that documentary last night. In it, he explains that the bullet was probably fired in protest, which was something that got him thinking about why he’d do that if he was the one outside on the street. The answer to that question? Gentrification.
The scene begins with a young Karl standing next to the shattered pane of glass, who had exponentially more hair back in the day, and a certain boyishness about him that has also disappeared since then. He lets in his cat, “Mr. Pants” and begins a story that relates his pet to his apartment.
Both were purchased by his father, who told him not to buy the first kitten he sees, and much later, the first condo he walks into. He ignored that advice both times. This is mere background info though. What follows is a discussion about the train of thought set off by the bullet that struck his window. Muth and Johnson drive around Chicago in his black Gallardo discussing the unsavory business of kicking poor people out of public housing projects, bulldozing the remnants of their communities afterwards, and building luxury condos. Like all of the young heirs and heiresses that feature in Johnson’s documentaries, Karl gives off a vibe of bitter disillusionment with the social class he was born into. Check out the full scene at 16:30 if you’re interested:
Why is this all so exciting? First of all, despite how incredible Karl’s LS-swapped X308 Jag is, commenters seemed to be just as intrigued by the man himself as they were by his car. “Dudes a hitman, Im convinced.” quips one top comment. I was intrigued too, and therefore fascinated by his appearance in this documentary. It answers a few questions, and raises many more.
Evidently, he’s always loved fast cars. The Gallardo he’s driving makes that obvious. It has 3 pedals and a gated shifter, much like the Jag he built a decade later. Perhaps the cockpit of that Lambo is where he acquired a taste for that setup? He even mentions the Gallardo in the one take of that Jag. Furthermore, it seems like he wasn’t just saying he felt bad about income inequality for the camera. The dude co authored “Charity and Philanthropy for Dummies”
The blurb is pretty amusing: “Karl T. Muth has donated more than 100% of his salaried income each year for the past decade and is an expert on the financial and legal aspects of philanthropy.” Well of course he has! He’s an investment banking heir. Information about his father is very hard to track down, but based on what I found, he was involved with Merrill Lynch as well as McKinsey & Company.
I wonder if Matt had any idea who the guy was when he agreed to check out his car? Not that it matters. Karl looks genuinely delighted by Matt’s reaction to his Jag, which is even more heartwarming now that I know all about the lifestyle he lives. I’d expect him to be deeply jaded. So maybe he’s just a big fan of Matt’s work? A real car guy just like us, watching the same TV shows and Youtube channels.
But I wonder, given how well-connected the ultra wealthy are, perhaps they knew of each other before this video was made? Matt is also an heir apparent. He grew up in Greenwich CT, one of the wealthiest towns in the United States. That’s where NYC’s wealthiest executives live; it’s the Monaco of the Northeast. So I wonder, did Karl and Matt “summer” together as kids, in some wildly opulent resort town? We’ll never know, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Either way, it was fascinating to tie up all of these loose ends, and finally find out the story behind the Mr. Karl T. Muth everyone was fascinated by in that one take. Here’s his Twitter if you’re interested, it looks like he’s become relatively famous in his own right, and has given a few TED talks:
Update: Farah actually replied to my tweet about this! The plot thickens. Makes me wonder if he knew some of the people from those social circles personally or by reputation.