• Jan 29, 2007
The annual Naples Winter Wine Festival is, as you may have surmised, a wine-centric event. What we didn't know is that the annual festival auction, which raises money for Collier County children's charities, would produce some final bids that wouldn't seem out of place at a cash tornado like Barrett-Jackson.

Case in point: the first customer Rolls-Royce Drophead Coupe. The new convertibles carry a starting price of $407,000, making them ultra-ultra-exclusive to begin with. They won't start arriving until this summer, but real estate developer Raymond Lutgert can rest easy in the knowledge that no person in North America will get one before he does. That's because he paid $2,000,000 for the privilege of getting the first one to come across the pond.

Coming in second to the new Roller was a Bentley Continental GTC, which pulled in an equally-staggering winning bid of $1.3 million. With that kind of money flying around, the $260,000 that was put up for a 2008 Lexus LS 600h L seems like a mere pittance until you stop and think about it for a moment. Finally, $790,000 was raised through the sale of $5,000-a-pop raffle tickets. The prize? A one-off Maserati Quattroporte Automatic that was built specifically for the festival. Painted Bordeaux red, the car sports matching carpets and stitching, unique wheels, and custom door moldings that announce its exclusive nature.

If the wine festival was able to conjure up cars this good, we can only imagine the quality of the vino that was crossing that auction block...

We've posted a pair of related press releases after the jump.

UPDATE: Rolls-Royce press release added as well.

[Sources: Naples Daily News via Luxist, Naples Wine Festival, Rolls-Royce, Maserati]

PRESS RELEASES:

Charity Auction Puts Bidders in Driver's Seat of Rare, Ultra-Luxury Automobiles

NAPLES, Fla. (November 29, 2006) - The Naples Winter Wine Festival, the world's most successful charity wine event, is poised to out-do itself in 2007. At the January gala - recently named a top 10 arts and entertainment event for wealthy Americans - four automobiles whose exclusivity and prestige are beyond superlatives will be up for auction or raffled off.

Going to the highest bidder will be one-of-a-kind, superstar vehicles.

The very first new Rolls-Royce Convertible to be delivered to a customer in North America. This is an automobile that to date has not been seen, named or priced, yet virtually all of the production slots for the first two years have already been spoken for. The Naples Winter Wine Festival will be the first place the convertible will be displayed after its global unveiling in January. This very special car will carry tread plates documenting its status as the very first of the new convertibles to be delivered in America. While the exact delivery date will not be until the late summer of 2007, the winning bidder will have weeks before any of the other first shipment of cars is released. This is a unique opportunity to jump to the head of the line on a car that is sure to be an automotive treasure in the years ahead.

The new Bentley Continental GTC Grand Touring Convertible - one of only a select few to be produced due to overwhelming demand and a limited build schedule. The highest bidder will be one of the very first to take possession of this luxury 2+2 convertible, with a top speed in excess of 190 mph and recognized for its unique blend of technology and comfort. The vehicle's exterior color will be a head-turning dark sapphire metallic. It will have magnolia main hide, chestnut wood veneers, massage seats and 19-inch chrome wheels.

The all-new 2008 Lexus LS 600h L hybrid luxury sedan - this sedan is the world's first vehicle to feature a full hybrid V8 powertrain and will be Lexus' most prestigious vehicle to date. The vehicle, which will first become available in spring 2007, features the latest Lexus Hybrid Drive system. The LS 600h will deliver seamless power and performance on a par with modern 12-cylinder engines, while still delivering best-in-V8-class fuel efficiency.

Raffling Off a Maserati
Building on festival organizers' mantra that luxury knows no bounds when it's for children in need, Maserati North America has commissioned a very special automobile to be raffled off during the auction event.

Recognized by the world press as a singular and exceptional luxury sport sedan and the recipient of awards and comparison test victories more than 25 times, the Maserati Quattroporte is as technically brilliant as it is beautiful. In 2007, Maserati will offer a new Quattroporte equipped with the latest and most advanced automatic transmission. Among the very first units is one that has been prepared specifically for the Naples Winter Wine Festival. What lucky individual will drive home this Maserati? Festival guests can take their chances at $5,000 per ticket, with no more than 200 raffle tickets issued.

These magnificent automobiles join rare wines and other one-of-a-kind treasures, including art, dining and travel experiences, for an unforgettable 70 lots to be auctioned off at the Jan. 26-28 festival in Naples, Fla. The festival, which was founded in 2001 by trustees of the Naples Children & Education Foundation as a fundraiser for underprivileged and at-risk children in Collier County, Fla., raised a record $12.2 million under the auction tent in January 2006.

"The trustees' goal each year is to present unique and priceless luxury items and experiences at auction in order to raise the most funds for children in need," said Naples Children & Education Foundation Trustee and 2007 Festival Chair Linda Malone. "We are absolutely ecstatic about the donation of these four incomparable automobiles and deeply grateful to the donors for their generosity."

Malone added, "Our guests come to the festival with an infectious spirit of giving. With the addition of these four exquisite and very special, very rare automobiles to our 2007 auction and raffle, we look forward to igniting our patrons' generosity to a whole new level of giving."

Auto Details

Rolls-Royce Convertible
At the 2004 Geneva Auto Show, Rolls-Royce unveiled the 100EX, an experimental convertible based on the platform of its new Phantom. According to Rolls-Royce Motor Cars North America, while the new convertible will not be exactly the same as the 100EX, there will be no doubt where its inspiration came from. The automaker likens its appearance to the elegance and sophistication of the golden age of car design, with a graceful hood finished in brushed metal, rear-hinged coach doors and a sumptuous interior - boldly claiming it is like no other car in production today. Underneath, it features a highly advanced chassis and drive train combination.

2007 Bentley Continental GTC Convertible
According to Bentley Motors, the new Bentley Continental GTC Grand Touring Convertible displays all the poise, performance and dynamic handling of the Continental GT and is designed for clients looking to enjoy the phenomenal open-top motoring that simply can't be found anywhere else.

This luxury convertible has a sophisticated all-wheel drive system, state-of-the-art 12-cylinder engine, advanced air suspension and ultra-stiff body structure. It provides an unrivalled standard of craftsmanship, utilizing natural wood veneers and leather hides of the finest quality. It is designed to be both contemporary and elegant, but with a sporting stance of a true performance car. Boasting incredible craftsmanship and attention to detail, the Bentley Continental GTC Convertible is also practical, with a boot that holds two bags of golf clubs along with plenty of luggage.

2008 Lexus LS 600h L
According to Lexus, the new LS 600h L explores the outer reaches of performance, style and safety. The vehicle is powered by an all-new, five-liter V8 gasoline engine with large, high-output electric motors and a newly designed large-capacity battery pack to support the Lexus Hybrid Drive. The LS 600h L also employs a newly developed dual-stage electronically controlled, continuously variable transmission. To distribute this immense power, a new full-time all-wheel-drive system is utilized for superior handling control.

The automobile's cutting edge features include a newly developed Advanced Pre-Collision System, one element of which is designed to help detect when a pedestrian is in the vehicle's path. The vehicle also offers an Advanced Parking Guidance System. The driver simply selects a parking spot, lines up the vehicle and pushes a button, and the system parks the car with just a little brake work by the driver.

2007 Naples Winter Wine Festival Maserati Quattroporte
According to Maserati North America, the Maserati Quattroporte that is being custom-made for the Naples Winter Wine Festival will be finished in deep Bordeaux to honor the rich tradition of Maserati's hometown of Modena, Italy. The one-of-a-kind Quattroporte features a powerful Ferrari engineered 400-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission and a meticulously finished interior in mahogany and rich ivory leather. Unique to this car will be twenty-inch ball-polished wheels, carpets and stitching in Bordeaux and customized door moldings, which read "Naples Winter Wine Festival 1 of 1."

The incredibly successful Naples Winter Wine Festival, which has raised nearly $40 million for children's charities since 2001, is a weekend affair that attracts acclaimed vintners and chefs, celebrities, artists, wine and food connoisseurs and other generous patrons.

The seventh annual festival will feature a Transforming Children's Lives tour and grant luncheon, which includes tasting remarkable wines with acclaimed Napa Valley vintners.

At the intimate evening vintner dinners, acclaimed vintners will share their special wines and the world's greatest chefs will create culinary masterpieces. There also will be a fabulous wine-tasting and culinary showcase at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort, Naples, followed by the world-class auction of spectacular wine lots, travel, exotic cars and other one-of-a-kind treasures. The Wine-down party will feature more unbelievable wines, and a celebration brunch will close the event in fashionable style.

Attendance at the festival is limited to approximately 550 individuals, and tickets have sold out each year well ahead of the event. Tickets are $7,500 per couple; $20,000 for reserved seating at the same vintner dinner for two couples.

For further details and information surrounding the 2007 event, please visit www.napleswinefestival.com.

###

FIRST US PHANTOM DROPHEAD COUPÉ AUCTIONED FOR $2 MILLION
Goodwood, 29 January 2007

The first Rolls-Royce Phantom Drophead Coupé destined for the USA has been bought at a charity auction held during the annual Naples Winter Wine festival in Florida for $2million. More than $1.6 million will go to the Naples Children and Education Foundation, which supports charitable and educational programmes to improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged or at-risk children.

The car was bought by a resident of Naples, who will take delivery of the car later this year. The winning bid of $2 million is the single highest price paid for any lot in the event's seven-year history and, it is believed, makes this Phantom Drophead Coupé the most expensive new car ever sold in the USA.

The auction, which took place on 27 January, was staged at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort in Naples. It was attended by many of the world's finest vintners, chefs, television and film personalities, as well as wine lovers and culinary enthusiasts from all over the USA. Naples' families who share a passion for great wine, excellent food, and supporting their community established the Festival in 2000.

Rolls-Royce launched the new Phantom Drophead Coupé at the Detroit Motor Show earlier in January 2007. The two-door, four-seat convertible is hand made at the company's headquarters in Goodwood, England. It combines the latest in lightweight aluminium technology, elegant design and the very best hand-crafted materials. The result is a car that many have already hailed as the ultimate in open top motoring. An extensive order bank already exists, with all of the 2007 cars allocated. Full production starts in the summer.

Speaking at the event, Graeme Grieve, Sales and Marketing Director, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, said, "This was a unique opportunity for someone to secure the first US car ahead of the current waiting list for the Drophead Coupé, and make a very generous donation to an important charity in the process. Everybody at Rolls-Royce is delighted with the result."

This is the third year that Rolls-Royce Motor Cars has worked with the Naples Winter Wine Festival, raising many hundreds of thousands of dollars for good causes

One-of-a-Kind Maserati Quattroporte Automatic - the First US Model in Private Hands - the Toast of Naples Winter Wine Festival

Custom-made Bordeaux Maserati Quattroporte Automatic Brings $790,000 Supporting Naples Children & Education Foundation

###

NAPLES, Fla., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- It isn't often that while one is in search of the perfect Bordeaux, they can take home a Maserati -- but one lucky winner has done just that during the Seventh Annual Naples Winter Wine Festival. A one-of-a-kind, custom-made Bordeaux-colored, 2007 Maserati Quattroporte Automatic netted $790,000 with profits going to the Naples Children & Education Foundation as part of the fund raising efforts of the event.

The 2007 Naples Winter Wine Festival was dominated by collections of truly rare vintages of wine donated by renowned U.S. and international wineries, as well as private donors. Auction packages and raffles included more than 70 exclusive lots, including exotic excursions, private dinners with celebrities -- prepared by Michelin-rated chefs -- as well as the opportunity to be the first U.S. customer to take ownership of the 2007 Quattroporte Automatic, Maserati's elegant, high performance luxury sedan.

According to Jim Selwa, President of Maserati North America, Inc., each hand-built Maserati is designed to provide its owner a sense of occasion every time they drive the vehicle. "Being a part of this world-class festival allows the Maserati brand to continue showcasing its true elegance amidst an exclusive world of individuals that demand only the best," said Selwa. "We are proud to share our passion, while making a difference in the lives of those involved with the Naples Children & Education Foundation."

As technically brilliant as it is beautiful, the custom-made 2007 Maserati Quattroporte features a powerful Ferrari-engineered 400-horsepower engine, six-speed automatic transmission and a meticulously finished interior in mahogany and rich ivory leather. Unique to this raffled vehicle will be twenty-inch ball-polished wheels, carpets and stitching in Bordeaux and customized door moldings, which read "Naples winter wine Festival 1 of 1."

Maserati North America, Inc., headquartered in Englewood Cliffs, N.J., is the exclusive distributor for Maserati-branded vehicles in the United States, including the Quattroporte high performance luxury sedan. For more information, please view http://www.maseratiusa.com .


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 6 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ah the wonders of our increasingly two-tiered economy.
      • 8 Years Ago
      the RR convertible is beautifull but does not live up to the sedans level am sure maybach drop head will be better
      • 8 Years Ago
      $260,000 for a lexus!!!!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA. huge ripoff. what retard bought that?
      • 8 Years Ago
      Wow, I thought people paying $400 for a Nintendo Wii during xmas was bad..

      http://www.rolesor.com
      • 8 Years Ago
      With regards John P.'s comments, that's what most people say when they can't afford one.

      In the "flesh," it is a beautiful car.

      Several wealthy individuals wanted the first one in N. America. They bidded, and Mr. Lutgert won. Rolls-Royce donates the vehicle each year at cost. All funds over that are the property of the charity, and tax deductible.

      The Naples Wine Festival is a huge fund raiser attracting many celebrities and philanthropists from far & wide. I say, "Well done!"
      • 8 Years Ago
      It's called charity, people. That's why they're being auctioned off for such high prices.