June 28, 2009

Sunday, the supercars came out to play...

Yes, Lamborghini owners can be territorial -- but their cars rock!

A couple of weeks ago, Racine hosted the huge Hot Rod Power Tour -- a visit by thousands of mid-century (and earlier) customized and restored classic cars from around the country.

Sunday a different type of car came out to play: the highest of high-end supercars brought out of their cosseted garages to shine -- and run -- in the sunlight. Present were Ferraris, Lamborghinis, a Ford GT, Dodge Vipers, Porsches, Corvettes. Even a Maserati.

Ferrari and Lamborghini owned the prime parking at the Abbey

They didn't stop in Racine, but some came from here, and from Milwaukee and Chicago. About 75 cars met at the Brat Stop in Kenosha shortly after noon, heading in a high-powered, eyeball-grabbing line for Lake Geneva. There, at the Abbey Resort in Fontana they met up with the Chicago contingent: 75 Ferraris and Lamborghinis.

If you have to ask what they cost, you can't afford 'em. The first Ford GT sold at a charity auction for over $500,000. The colorful example above, one of only 4,038 ever made, probably went for closer to its MSRP of $203,000 -- although many sold for a premium of $100,000 over that, there was such demand during its four years of production, 2003-2006.

Lamborghinis -- and there were a lot of them here, in red, yellow, orange and bright green, among other colors -- ranged when new from $217,000 to $360,000. Sigh. Ferraris were in that same price neighborhood. Some new Porsches are a "bargain" under $100,000 and Corvettes can be bought new for half of that. What's stopping you?

Nobody was selling. I didn't see a single car with a For Sale sign on it; just happy owners glad for the excuse to go for a Sunday drive. One of the nicest aspects of this kind of sports car run is that -- despite the millions of dollars worth of hardware on display -- there are lots of admiring glances, but little envy; everyone is generally happy with the car he brung. And although they all look brand new -- and some have the low mileage to "prove it" -- there was a 30-year production range.

'82 Porsche, '98 Viper, '48 Buick

The oldest car present wasn't strictly a supercar; it was a gorgeous '48 flathead Buick (at right, above) that would have been more at home at the Hot Rod Power Tour. But it accompanied the driver's daughter, who preferred her rare 1998 Dodge Viper -- rare because it was one of only five of the 575-hp cars ever fitted with an automatic transmission (a $35,000 option). As I said earlier, if you have to ask what it costs...

Postscript: Car enthusiasts eager to show off their own toys while seeing other folks' are advised to check this website, home of the Wisconsin Hot Rod Radio Show, which has a pretty complete calendar of car events in the region. Joel Gawronski, who organized the Lake Geneva ride, sends out invitations to his own distribution list; if you want to be included, send him an email.

As for the Abbey: Even if you don't drive up in a sportscar that costs as much as a house, it's a lovely place to visit, especially on a Sunday afternoon: From noon to 4 p.m. all summer, the Abbey's patio overlooking the lake and marina boasts music, generous $2 BBQ sandwiches and $2 Leinenkugel. Vrooom!

Shelby Cobra

The working end of a Ferrari

As close as I'll get to driving a Lamborghini


  1. Pete,
    Great pictures of the cars. As someone who likes old cars I have to tell you that this and your downtown car show pictures from a few weeks ago were all great.

    Thanks for the coverage.

  2. Good story. I think I have seen that 82 Porsche down by the JT before.