V&R Stories: Fantasy Car Shopping on My Birthday

Have you ever done any "fantasy shopping?"

First off, "fantasy shopping" can be a terrible idea. You go to an automotive retailer – preferably one with high-end vehicles – take a look at their inventory and dream in broad daylight over it. You’re doing this knowing damn well that you may ever afford to buy that vehicle.

Last week, I celebrated my birthday. I was home in the Twin Cities trying to tie up some loose ends with my consulting gig and other work before heading the next morning to the Chicago Auto Show. I got to the point where I stopped doing my work to get out of the house. After all, the sun was out and the air temperatures weren’t too bad (for a Losangelino living in Minnesota who is used to temperatures just below freezing).

After making stops at a couple of clients, I proceeded to let my mind wander a bit. Perhaps a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" moment popped in my head. That moment where Aubrey Hepburn would gaze at the windows of Tiffany's & Co. on Fifth Avenue in New York looking at their latest wares knowing full well her character would never afford anything from the dean of all jewelry stores in this country.

That wandering led me towards home and a certain dealership, thanks to a social media post by someone I know…

There is a friend who works as an executive for a dealer group in the Twin Cities. Within 24 hours of my thinking about stopping by their premier showroom, I noticed he took an image for his Instagram account of a beautiful blue 2020 Bentley Continental GT coupe with chromed wheels, and red brake calipers. I figured that I had to see this.

It resides at what I call the most dangerous automobile dealer in the Twin Cities for enthusiasts. This place is dangerous enough for adults to become kids at a candy store. I have done some work at this showroom with writing about some of their vehicles – namely Maseratis and an Aston Martin. I knew what I was getting into and proceeded to just walk in.

I saw the Bentley. Just like most Bentleys, it stirred my soul. Having driven the previous generation models, I know what they are capable of performance-wise and understand how seductive and lavish they can be when specified in certain ways. The blue Continental GT coupe was truly a sight for older eyes. I tried to make a photo of it, but the sun was hitting streaking enough to not get a clearer image.

This showroom has two floors. The first floor is split in half with Maserati on one side, Bentley on the other. Walk upstairs, and you are greeted by the Aston Martin showroom. Their lineup of late has been extraordinary. They had a few Vantages on the floor, but I gave them a quick glance.

On the other side of the top floor is a selection of pre-owned machinery. These are not just mere used cars – they are among the finest road cars available to humanity. The first thing that I saw was an orange Lamborghini Murcielago that has been populating my social media feeds a few times. I wasn’t as excited about that car, as I was the 1988 Ferrari Testarossa that was opposite of it.

The twelve-cylinder poster boy sat in the corner with the sun blazing upon it. This one-owner Ferrari had over 13,000 miles on the clock. It's Rossa Corsa Red paint seemed a bit faded. Not oxidized but lacking some luster to it. Perhaps I was recalling its glory days of running around Beverly Hills and Ventura Boulevard in all of its glory.

Sadly, the afternoon sun created more havoc to capture the Testarossa in its full glory. I’m not a fan of bad sun/shadow mixes. My apologies, everyone.

At about $123,000, I wondered if someone would consider taking it home. Not me, I’m afraid.

For the same money, that Murcielago could be in the right hands. However, I checked the dealer’s website to see that it has indeed been sold. Although, there was a year-old Vantage with only 1,500 miles on the clock in black that caught my eye for the same amount of money. I thought about it and wondered why would anyone trade I such a lovely machine after a few miles?

That is perhaps the nature of the sports car and supercar world. You never put on a normal set of miles each year. But you always appreciate what you got – sometimes.

It did not help that the supercar fantasies of YouTubers with daddy’s money, their own so-called entrepreneurship, and the old monetization scheme from the viral video portal would again come live and in living color at this year's Chicago Auto Show.

Every year, the high-end dealerships in the Chicagoland area would come together in a limited access booth to check out the latest and the greatest of the finest brands in the automotive industry. It is as some folks would relive their Aubrey Hepburn moment with the brick, stucco, marble, and glass separating them from these desirable machines.

Granted, there were a few of these caged machines that caught my eye. I never saw a McLaren GT in person before. It looked nice. I didn’t ask how much it cost. Nor did I ask the price on the black Rolls-Royce Cullinan, or the Phantom, or Lamborghini Urus, or the lighter blue Bentley Continental GT Convertible. Or, even the Karma Revero that stuck out like a sore thumb among these familiar high-end automobiles.

As I went back to work at the other booths, I had to center myself back to Earth. It was fun to fantasy shop automobiles that only a select few have attained. I respect those who do, as long as they respect the machines they own. More than respect, really. Try love, care, protect, and enjoy.

To be honest, owning or even working with a super high-end brand might not be comfortable for me. If I wanted to work and live in the luxury car space, I would turn to something more reliable and familiar. And, less pretentious.

So much for fantasy car shopping…

Photo by Randy Stern

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