The upcoming Bentley SUV, yet to be named, is going to be a ‘true Bentley’ in that it will be powerful, exclusive, and successful. Following the close of the 2012 Geneva Auto Show, where the EXP 9F concept SUV was initially unveiled, over 2000 inquiries regarding preordering Bentley’s SUV took place. More >
Morrie’s Luxury Auto has the pleasure of being the presenting sponsor of this weekends Rumble on the Runway event. Fashion experts from across the Twin Cities came together for a night full of red carpet fashion, awards and a great time. Morrie’s Luxury Auto was there to capture the entire night!
Check out our photo gallery below from the glamorous event!
My name is Michael Ashby and I am the Service Manager here at Luxury Auto. I have been with the brand since 2010. When I am out and wearing our branded clothes the question I get asked the most is, “It must be cool to drive those cars?” In reality, I spend the majority of my time behind my desk finding solutions to our clients concerns. I have time behind the wheel of everything we service through quality control test drives and the random events I get invited to attend, but I have never used one of our cars the way an actual client would. This changed though when a few dates lined up perfectly. I had planned to attend the Vintage race weekend at Road America to watch our Marketing guru Ben Robertaccio race his Porsche 914-6. At the end of the week Maserati graced us with a Short Term Factory Demo Ghibli and I thought to myself, what a great opportunity to really experience life with a Ghibli.
The car in question was a gorgeous Blu Emozione Q4 with all the boxes ticked. With all our gear loaded up and my two daughters sitting comfortably in the back we headed toward the Wisconsin border to spend the evening by the river. After an overnight stay we awoke at 3:50 a.m. and under the cover of darkness my wife Angie, my Dad, and I eased stealthily out of the neighborhood. Once clear of the sleepy homes the Sport button was pressed, the car barked, and we charged toward daylight and a racetrack that was five hours away.
This was a great way of finding out how the car behaved on a road trip. My wife, Angie, deftly navigated the touch screen display and quickly paired our phones to the car. Road America was entered into the Garmin based navigation system with ease as we settled in for the ride. My Father is a gas mileage machine and sees it as a challenge to beat the manufacturer’s ratings on his personal car so after scrolling through the screen options we reset the mileage calculators to see how this car would fare. I was impressed with how well this car rode along the highway. We took it out of Sport mode for the lion’s share of the freeway slog as it benefits you none at all and it saves around 1500 rpm and a gear or two, the suspension soaked up the expansion joints with aplomb and for all the Sporting premise around the car the steering was well weighted and did not follow every groove on the road.
After a few hours we left the freeway and headed across Wisconsin and through some small towns, this is where we used Sport mode and employed the used of the aluminum shift paddles. Although the speeds were 25-30 mph, 1st, 2nd, 3rd gears were used to full effect and the exhaust sound of the twin turbo V6 echoing off the surrounding buildings and trees was extraordinary.
Sightlines around the car are fantastic, not really any blind spots which always make navigating unfamiliar towns easier. A quick stop for refreshments allowed Angie to use the cooled center console, complete with two cup holders, to keep the requisite road trip Red Bull cool for later consumption. After brief discussion, she also found the cooling vent inside the glove box and turned that on to keep the fun size M&Ms that I crave from melting. They may not melt in your hand but they don’t do well in a hot car on a hot day….
We arrived at Road America shortly after 9am and after reading the schedule for the day my eyes lit up when I saw there was track touring over the lunch hour. I signed up and paid the pretty ridiculous fee to experience the Ghibli on the track. I must admit that I am not unfamiliar with this track; I hold a pro level race license and currently compete in the Pirelli World Challenge Race Series. We had just raced here a few weeks prior so I was curious to see what it would feel like behind the wheel of a Maserati.
As we eased onto the track, along with four pace cars controlling the speed limit of 55 mph. I was able to give my wife, Angie, and my Dad a proper view of the track from a driver’s perspective. Although the speeds were much lower on the Straights than I would typically experience through some of the corners we were able to properly exploit the correct racing line. We of course selected Sport Manual mode with ESC, electronic stability control, turned off. I was genuinely impressed with how quickly the Maserati performed the manual shifts and the poise it showed through some of the most famous corners in Motorsports; Turn 5, the kink and the Canada Corner. As the session came to a close and the car count dwindled we found a few gaps to push a little faster, Turn 5 was attacked with a little more authority and the run uphill to the Corvette Bridge was done at full throttle and I am sure the roll bar equipped Miata in front did not expect a searing blue Italian Sedan to get through a corner so quickly and the pass was made as we entered turn 6. Angie and my dad were likewise impressed by the Ghibli. I think the noise it emits on downshifts and the burble on upshifts was the big winner, but they also commented on how flat it cornered and they both have laps on Race tracks with other cars as a comparison. We left the track and parked with some of the other participants, many of whom wandered over to discuss the car and comment on how unique it was. We spent the rest of the day watching the fabulous on track action and witnessed Ben set his fastest ever lap in his Porsche during a great race.
As the time came, we left with great memories and another long drive into the late evening. With the dynamically adjustable headlights piercing the night and the other occupants getting sleepy, I was left alone to draw some conclusions from what ultimately was eleven hours behind the wheel and a little over 600 miles. This car has the room to satisfy most families; I constantly got thumbs up and double takes wherever we went which shows that this car is special and rare. Once my phone was paired it worked flawlessly. I never had to select it and always picked it back as soon as we got in the car, something that may not be said of earlier models. The new system only made one mistake on the way to the track and the mistake was only to take two extra turns. We averaged 25.8 mpg for the trip, including 6 laps around the 6 mph over posted limits throughout the freeway stint and only used Sport mode on the track and short periods everywhere else, this was quite impressive considering this is a 410hp Twin turbo V6. The only real issue that I found with the car is now having a wife who wants one. …Not a bad problem to have really.
If you’ve never been to the Hawk vintage races at Road America, you’re missing out on one of the coolest vintage car weekends in the country. Above and beyond all of the incredible race cars that take to the track during the four day event, one of the most memorable parts is the race car parade on Friday night.
Each year over 100 cars travel from the track to the quaint village of Elkhart Lake via a police escort. Seeing many of these cars on the track is a sight to see, but seeing them driving on public roads is something entirely different. Everything from open wheel cars to Le Mans prototypes to pre-war racers make the trip, often with grinning passengers tagging along. Locals and race fans reserve their spots hours in advance of the parade, akin to black friday bargain shoppers at Best Buy. Except the crowd is bigger, numbering in the neighborhood of 10,000, with many encouraging the parade cars to rev their engines, spin their tires and let it rip.
The spectator perspective is unlike any other car event you’ve seen and the view from the drivers seat is equally as exciting, but don’t take our word for it. Spend some time to watch our view from the driver’s seat of a 1971 Porsche 914-6 race car below:
Now continue and watch the spectators perspective that an attendee posted form this year’s parade:
Despite wandering around Road America for the past few days, we keep running across new cars that catch our eye. Last night we enjoyed the race car concours where over 100 race cars were escorted from the track to the village of Elkhart Lake. Over 10,000 people showed up for the event and we’ll be bringing you video of the parade in the coming days.
In the meantime, enjoy these pictures we took today at the track and pictures from the street car concours that took to the streets of Elkhart Lake this evening.
Morrie’s to bring you coverage of the region’s largest vintage racing event, the Hawk at Road America
The Hawk at Road America is one of the largest vintage race weekends in America, bringing together 400+ race cars ranging from 1926 Bugatti’s to Historic Formula 1 cars to everything in between. For many petrol heads it represents automotive nirvana and is the catalyst for an annual octane induced pilgrimage to the rolling hills of Elkhart Lake Wisconsin.
If you’ve never attended, you don’t know what you’re missing. You absolutely have to add it to your automotive bucket list. Fortunately if you can’t make it this year, we’ll be there providing live coverage from a few different perspectives.
In addition to getting a spectator’s view of all the action, one of our own will be participating in the event in a vintage Porsche 914-6. Our plan is to post photos, videos and other contents from a racer’s perspective before, during and after the race. We also hope to get some exclusive coverage of our friends from Mazda USA who will be running a historic fleet of significant Mazda race cars including a Mazda 787, RX7-92P and a RX-7 GTU car.
With such an amazing selection of cars to shoot we’ll certainly have a hard time determining where to start. This is where you come in. Take some time to thumb through the entry list, find a car that suits your fancy and tell us what you want to see by commenting on our Facebook wall. We’ll do our best to get photos, videos and other content that you request.
Alos, be sure to stay tuned to the blog and the Morrie’s Luxury Auto Facebook page to see event updates beginning on Wednesday.
As a teaser, we’ve included a selection of pictures from last year and a video highlighting race car concours and associated parade into town from the track.
This past Saturday, Morrie’s Luxury Auto snapped a number of pictures and put together the event video below. For those who attended the weather could not have been better and the turnout was impressive to say the least.
The North American debut of the Bentley GT3 racecar was quite the show. Coming out for the Cadillac Grand Prix at Road America, all eyes were on the Bentley as it took to the grid for the first time. With Butch Leitzinger behind the wheel and a full Bentley support staff, it was no question that Bentley came prepared. Unfortunately, during the qualifying session the rain became a problem. Race officials determined to switch it to a practice session. And while the transponder was not properly functioning in the Bentley which precluded them from recording an official lap time, seeing the Bentley charge up the long straight through the finish line even in the rain was a pretty spectacular sight. Unofficially it was calculated that Butch Leitzinger was able to drive the Bentley in the 2:08.9 range at Road America.
Bentley had two races during its North American debut at Road America. The race on Friday provided for some intense battles between Lamborghini, Ferrari, McLaren, and Bentley. Because Bentley had no points, what with this being their first race, they were staged at the back of the pack. Knowing they needed to really fire on all cylinders with minimal mistakes, Butch Leitzinger performed well under the rain conditions. During the 2nd race on Saturday, Bentley was able to secure a 2nd starting position and throughout the race fought hard against the competition. While they did not bring in a podium finish, it was still a great weekend of Bentley racing.
Powered by a V8 engine with around 600bhp, this GT racecar is unlike anything Bentley has produced before. To begin with it is the only Bentley Continental GT that is RWD, of course for racing this suits the car just fine. Included in the GT3 racecar we find an xTrac 6-speed sequential transaxle gearbox, racing clutch, and steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. Looking to Bentley’s recent past the only thing that could come close with regards to power and handling would be their W12 Supersports, which sadly won’t be making a return to the production line. Clearly the production model, GT3-R, will fill the Supersports shoes nicely.
What sets the Bentley GT3 apart from other Bentley racecars is that Bentley has also produced a road-going GT3R, but only in a limited production run of 300 units. From what we are able to gather at Morrie’s Luxury Auto it appears that 100 GT3Rs were available for sale in the US, however they are all sold out.
For more race coverage make sure to visit our blog often.
Saturday finally brought sunshine to Minnesota after 5 long days of rainy and cloudy weather. The MN C&C event was a great opportunity for car lovers to get out of the house and enjoy the much needed sunshine, the beautiful vehicles, and the great coffee from Dogwood. The turnout was great at the Automotorplex and we brought the new Maserati Ghibli in Blue Emozione Mica and a 2013 Bentley Continental GT V8 Le Mans Edition. Make sure to check out the photos in our album below and stay tuned for a video on our YouTube page coming soon!
We flew out to New York City last week to capture some of the excitement at the New York International Auto Show! With tons of vehicle debuts and all of our brands in attendance, we couldn’t pass up this oppertunity. Both Maserati and Bentley arrived at the show with a beautiful set up, as usual. Bentley brought the new Bentley GT Speed and Flying Spur V-8 models as well as their signature GT3 Speed Racer, which was initially unveiled as a concept at the LA Auto Show in 2012. Maserati knew they had to bring something special for their 100 year celebration, and they did. The big hit for them this year was the MaseratiGranTurismo MC Centennial Edition, in honor of the company’s 100 year milestone.
Other luxury sightings included an exotic lineup featuring a Lamborghini, a Lotus and the attention grabbing Bugatti. We also stopped at the Alfa Romeo booth to get coverage of the 2015 Alfa Romeo 4C, which will be crafted by Maserati engineers in Modena Italy. Lastly, we couldn’t resist popping over to the Aston booth to check out the 2015 Aston Martin Carbon Edition and the 2015 Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT so make sure to check out our video coverage of those beautiful vehicles as well.
Check out our photo gallery below of all the exotic and luxury vehicles we spotted at the NY International Auto Show. Also, don’t forget to head over to our Morrie’s Luxury Auto You Tube page for videos coming soon!