A day with Ferraris and Porsches
Editor's note: An abbreviated version of this article will be published in the October Steinlifters. This is the full article, written by Mike Wiviott
Heaven is a place on Earth
So as not to date myself I am going to say I found this reference on the internet – and that is my story.
But to be honest – this may just be very true statement that summarizes the Milwaukee Region Porsche club’s visit to Ferrari Lake Forest (aka Lake Forest Sportscars) and the Porsche Exchange. Let me take a few minutes for the backstory to put it all in perspective. The day in question was Sept. 8 2018. A little cool and slightly over cast. Pretty much a solid day for a little trip into Illinois with a few friends. In this case the trip consisted of 30 or so friends with 25 or so various examples of Stuttgart’s finest exports and a Bichon Frise named Bruno.
This trip had been about 6 months in the making. What started from a discussion with Bryn F. on my way to the Chicago Auto Show with club member Sunil K led to a lot of emails and a few phone calls and low and behold a group visit to this special place.
We started the morning with fresh bagels, muffins, coffee and a general walk around the facility. Then the fun really began. Our hosts Bryn and Dan greeted us and provided a general introduction to their newly remodeled 70,000 sq. ft. facility and the history of the dealership since they were founded. Mere words really cannot describe the levels of detail that went into this building. I have personally had many visits to this facility over the years and can attest to the impressive changes they have put into it. I will point you to their website at www.ferrarilakeforest.com to read up on the Mancuso family and their history from New York to Chicago. And while you are there perhaps consider acquiring a Ferrari (or 2 dozen as we learned about a few of their customers). To quote that great American Icon – Ferris Bueller – “If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.”
Between the custom pool table, and what I believe is a baby grand piano, if you can find your way past the champagne bar and the various pieces of memorabilia and vintage James Bond posters you might find a few exotic things that can draw your attention…
Now on to the topic we all want to know about… the cars.
Dan took us on a 90 minute tour and told us the great stories of the various chariots of the gods that are housed within their facility. I cannot do Dan justice in trying to repeat everything but I can certainly point out that he is a great tour guide. The club members were encouraged to ask questions and learn about the cars and their various histories in the 70 plus years of Ferrari lore. The dealer ship has been dealing in Ferrari’s since 1981. Along the way there have been other marques but it has always been Ferrari that led the way.
As we walked around we were introduced to Ferrari’s current line up and how the dealership works with their customer base to purchase the Portofino, 488 GTB and Spider, the GTC4 Lusso and the absolutely brilliant 812 Superfast. We then worked our way around to some of the older and more custom, vintage and unique offerings on display in the facility It is hard not to be impressed as you walk from one section to the next and are greeted with the next level of unobtanium. I have always been a fan of the older cars such as the Dino 246GT and this tour provided me an excellent opportunity to really appreciate how elegant the design is as it honors Enzo’s son Alfredo “Dino” Ferrari. Sitting stately next to a red and black Ferrari TDF (Tour De France) it is amazing to see how cars have changed over almost 40 years. After that we took a look behind the safety poles at the stately beauty and brawn of a 918 Spyder, A LaFerrari, Pagani Huayra, quite possibly the nicest Shelby Cobra around, a LaFerrari Aperta and a Ferrari Sergio. While it might take a few seconds to wrap your head around not only the sheer value of those 6 cars alone. You have to take a look at the story of the Sergio. It was one of 6 produced to celebrate their relationship with design house Pininfarina and its legendary founder Each unit was unique in color. The owner of this one chose his special color and uses it on his various other Ferraris to make them special in their own right. Another one of his cars was on display right near it in the same striking color. After that we took a closer look at a pair of customer Porsche GT2 RSs and the presence that they bring. Another special Porsche on display was a limited and insanely appreciating in value 911R. And just to round out this one single room of the building was a nicely presented Lamborghini Huracan Spyder.
As we toured the other rooms in the display wing we took in depth looks at everything from a Fly Yellow Testarossa, to the various Californias, a 328, 430s, FFs and more in the main show floor. We also had a chance to look at a few samples of the Mancuso family’s personal race cars that were on display. As we took a look at the dealerships configuration center we could not help but admire the level of customization they allowed for but also a chance to appreciate another LaFerrari Aperta.
As we traveled on past the new Champagne Lounge we took a few minutes to stop and discuss Ferrari’s long racing history and how it helps to develop the road cars As we stood and looked at the massive display celebrating the 16 F1 Constructors Championships they have won to date (17 will have to wait till next year). Located in that same room was a white and black TDF and the last 612 Scaglietti produced.
In any other dealership one might consider ending their tour at that point. We were much luckier than that and were allowed to go behind the scenes into the service area. One might think a service area may not make sense to visit – in this case it is its own E-ticket ride. Greeting us right at the entrance was another matte silver and black TDF. A stunning car in this color combination. Casually parked next to that is one of the world’s great HYPER cars… a white and black carbon fiber Koenigsegg One:1. This is a truly special opportunity. Built between 2014 and 2015 – there are 7 total (6 production and 1 prototype) This is the first homologated production car with one megawatt of power. The numbers on this car are absolutely staggering and we are able to appreciate this truly rare beast. After that one would think there is not much more – but alas there was…
On to one of my personal favorites, a proper 6 speed 575 in classic silver (I know Ferrari has a much fancier name for this particular shade). And then into the main shop where you are greeted with just a dazzling array of all different models… a few highlights are an engine out Testarossa, a very rare Enzo (one of 399), a spectacular 512 BB. I encourage you to review the library of photos collected up from the various attendees.
Hard to believe it but two hours absolutely flew by.
With much sadness we prepared to say our goodbyes to Dan, Bryn and the rest of their team. A gift of very large bottle of Asti was presented to Dan and Bryn to be shared with the rest of their team for allowing us to visit. It is with much hope that we will be allowed to visit again in the not too distant future and see what Ferrari has in store for their next decade. This was truly one special place.
Our day was only half over.
Many of the group chose to take a slight drive a little further south on Hwy 41 to our next destination.
We were off to the Porsche Exchange in Highland Park, the largest Porsche dealer in the Midwest. Family owned and operated for over 30 years, we were in for another great experience. After a short drive we were greeted by our hosts for the day Zach Hansen and his lovely daughter Elizabeth. While our group was gathering we took a few minutes to look over their new car inventory of over 100 spectacular 911s, 718s, Macans, Cayennes, Panameras including the very unique 4 Sport Tursismo (sport wagon). They had a dazzling array of 911 T, S and Turbos to lust after!
Zach and Elizabeth introduced us to their absolutely huge and completely top of the line dealership right in the middle of their main showroom. They explained the philosophy of how the dealership was built and operated. In the effort of all fairness and with full disclosure I had been at the dealership and their sister Audi dealership just 24 hours prior to our visit that day. On a bit of a side tangent I had worked with Zach to set up a purchase of a newer Audi Q3 for a family friend and I can personally tell you it was a great experience. I also purchased my own Audi from them.
Zach then handed us off for a few minutes of excellent stories from General Manager Bruce Semersky. Bruce is an absolute fountain of all things Porsche. He shared with us several of his stories from over 30 plus years in Porsche sales. Bruce told us the story of how they supplied the 928 for Risky Business in 1983 and worked with them to create the iconic U-Boat scene. He also shared with us the story of how he once imported a 959 under a “show and display law.” The law itself is still an absolutely crazy piece of government legislation and probably should be the source of a future article by someone better than me. As Bruce shared with us the tales of having such a rare beast and what the headaches associated with it. A few more stories and we were off and running with Zach inside of the dealership including the service area. I hope that we will have another opportunity in the near future to continue with Bruce and his fantastic stories and maybe an opportunity to see what can only be described as a truly special and unique collection of Porsches.
Once we started into the inner depths of the dealership we were greeted with several absolutely brand new and truly stunning GT3 and GT2 RSs as they were getting ready to be handed off to their new owners. I personally cannot describe in enough detail how impressive these particular models are in person. The levels of detail in their design and the balance of form and function are just exacting in their German engineering. Since I felt obligated to put in a quote from an American icon earlier in this article I thought I would add this one in at this point. To quote Joel Goodson from 1983’s Risky Business – “Porsche. There is no substitute!” These GT cars are just that! Also for the record as the author of this story I am disclosing I am the owner of a 1988 928 S4.
Once we got past the GT cars we had an opportunity to check out a new 911 Turbo S that was also being prepped. And then off to the outside lot to marvel at the selection of new and old cars available from a 2016 GT4 to a very unique 911 in a color I cannot even find a reference to.
This dealership is dedicated to the new owners, the Porschephiles and the fans of the marque in general. I had some additional time to walk through and just chat with some of the staff about their love of the brand in general and how they felt about working at the dealership. Every one of them had nothing but the absolute best to say about being there. Their boutique of Porsche branded merchandise is top flight and I have to admit I found myself looking a new watch. And maybe a new electric green 911 GT3 RS model. All I can say is take a look – I am sure they have something for each and every one of you reading this article. Please take a look at the pictures via the link below.
In one of those pictures you will see a Picture of Bruce, Elizabeth and Zach. A little history on the white and black 911 right behind them. Zach shared with me the story on that particular very rare 911. That is a 911 Carrera S Endurance Racing Edition. This car is even rarer that the 911R we saw earlier in the day. There were only 991 of those and they were priced as high as $1 million at one point and have since balanced out between $400 and $600k The 911 Endurance Racing edition is a $26,000 package on top of a standard Carrera S On paper that seems like a lot till you see it came with the sports chrono package, the sports exhaust, the Porsche Dynamic Chassis Control (PDCC) and the PASM Sports Chassis and a very unique Le Mans inspired sticker package. Only 235 were built worldwide. 100 came to North America and 73 came to the US. A rare beast!
As we concluded the day with the team at the Porsche Exchange a great many stories were shared and new friend were made. The Milwaukee Region PCA can count on the team at the Porsche Exchange. We hope they will be joining us in our events in the near future. As a thank you to them – the club left behind a few cases of Hacker-Pschorr and Hacker-Pschorr Octoberfest to share when their day was done.
As the host – I want to thank all that were able to participate in this truly special day and I am glad I was able to share with everyone (including Bruno).
I look forward to our tech sessions in 2019. If you have any suggestions please reach out to me.
Lake Forest album: https://pcamilwaukee.shutterfly.com/pictures/6852
Porsche Exchange: https://pcamilwaukee.shutterfly.com/pictures/6797