October 4, 2010

Club shares an Italian passion at a Portland Party

This Wheels column was originally published in the Maine Sunday Telegram on September 19, 2010

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A Ferrari and a Lamborghini pull out of the Portland Motor Club's parking lot to lead an exotic car caravan from Portland to Cape Elizabeth last Saturday.

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Mr. and Mrs. Tony Rubbicco with their 2007 Ferrari F430 Spyder, which he acquired in March. Rubbicco, 68, who plans to purchase a 2012 model when they become available, said he always wanted a Ferrari and bought one after deciding "life can be too short."

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The Portland Motor Club
275 Presumpscot Street
Portland, ME 04103
email: info@portlandmotorclub.com

Dennis Dotolo, General Manager of of Ferrari/Maserati of New England, was trying to put into words what many consider indescribable: The thrill of owning and driving a Ferrari.

He began by attempting to describe handling so intuitive that Enzo's creations seem to anticipate a driver's intentions. He had moved on to trying to convey an engine/exhaust note more tantalizing than a Siren's song.

But suddenly Dotolo stopped. He turned to 10-year-old Brandon, who had been listening intently to this passionate and adoring description of what many would consider little more than a conglomeration metal, plastic and rubber bits.

"Would you like to go for a ride in a Ferrari?" he asked.

Brandon was speechless. Yet his answer – astonished eyes bulging and a 10-year-old head furiously nodding as if trying to match the beat of the Energizer Bunny – said more about the Ferrari mystique than anything Dotolo could have conveyed in a two-hour discourse. 

After about a 20-minute ride that he later described as better than anything at Disney World, Brandon was back at the Portland Motor Club on Presumpscot Street.

But I don't think he returned to earth for at least a day or two.

That is the effect Ferraris – and some other exotic cars – can have on humans of all ages.

Take Tony Rubbicco, a 68-year-old sales manager from Rye, New Hampshire. Rubbicco drove his 2007 Ferrari F430 Spyder to Portland last Saturday for a get-together at the Portland Motor Club organized by Membership Director Kal Rogers.

The Portland Motor Club is a sort of storage, care and maintenance facility that operates something like a marina. Members store their vehicles – some worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, others more treasured for sentiment than dollars and cents – in the pristine, climate-controlled facility.

In addition to storage, maintenance and easy access for weekend drives, this club emulates others in providing a social gathering place for like-minded members. There's a roomy and comfortable lounge where members can discuss their common passion: Four-wheel vehicles of all kind.

Rogers thought it would be cool to bring together a bunch of folks particularly passionate about four-wheel vehicles of the Italian kind. Italian as in "made-in-Maranello" and named after the late, legendary racer and car designer, Enzo Ferrari.

"The event was really just for the fun of it… to get some nice cars together, talk cars, see some other great cars and to go for a drive together." Rogers said.

"This was a joint effort of Ferrari of New England and Portland Motor Club. We have a nice facility that we like to invite car enthusiasts to visit, and they wanted to reach out to their customer base here in Maine and to other Ferrari owners to get together and have a visit.

"Of course, it ended up being quite a variety of fine vehicles beyond the Ferraris."

In addition to the half-dozen Ferraris that showed up, there were other exotics: Two Lamborghinis, two Maseratis, and an Aston Martin DB9. The owners of several other high-performance vehicles also brought their cars, including Portland Police Chief James Craig with his Chevrolet Corvette Z06. Others included a Bentley, a Mercedes-Benz SL55 AMG and a customized BMW M6.

Dotolo, whose Ferrari dealership in Norwood serves its home state of Massachusetts as well as Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island and much of Connecticut, attended the event along with three of his customers. "It's a way of showing my support for this wonderful facility and for reaching out to my customers here in Maine."

(Continued on page 2)

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Additional Photos

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Ferrari produced only 559 2005 Superamericas for the entire world.

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The engine of Michael Ferrante's 2005 Ferrari Superamerica is clean enough to eat off of and potent enough to propel the car to a 205 mph top speed.

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Michael Ferrante lowers the top on his 2005 Ferrari Superamerica. The top opens and closes in under 10 seconds and is comprised of carbon fiber and glass. The transparency of the glass can be adjusted -- like the lenses in photochromic eyeglasses -- by a dial on the center console.

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