Winos splurge on Bentley and Maserati coupes at charity auction

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, your conundrum has arrived: cars and wine have met in support of the disadvantaged children of south Florida. Every year for the past eight, the auction at the Naples Winter Wine Festival has drawn the most discerning connoisseurs in the Sunshine State to bid on rare bottles of epic vintage to raise funds for the Naples Children and Education Foundation. Our sister-site Luxist reports that the auction raised $14 million this year.

In addition to the potable lots, every year the auction also features some of the most luxurious automobiles in which the benefactors could haul their cases of vino home. At last year's auction, the first Rolls-Royce Phantom DropHead Coupe raised $2 million, a Bentley Continental GTC sold for $1.3 million, $790k was raised through a raffle for a special Maserati Quattroporte, and $260k bought a Lexus LS 600h L. This year the auction featured two luxury coupes: a Bentley Brooklands and a Maserati GranTurismo. Surprisingly, neither of the two luxury coupes was painted wine red or burgundy, but that didn't stop them from selling for big bucks. The Bentley is the first of the new Brooklands to reach the US market, and sold to Monte and Usha Ahuja for $450,000 – more than a hundred grand over list price. The specially-prepared Maserati GranTurismo, meanwhile, went for more than three times its MSRP for a bid of $350,000.

[Sources: Bentley and Maserati]


First U.S. Bentley Brooklands Coupe Auctioned for $450,000 During Naples Winter Wine Festival

The first Bentley Brooklands coupe destined for the U.S. market has been purchased for $450,000 at a charity auction held during the 2008 Naples Winter Wine Festival. The $14 million from the auction sale will directly benefit the Naples Children and Education Foundation, which supports charitable and educational programs to improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged or at-risk children.

Monte and Usha Ahuja placed the winning bid of the first Brooklands coupe destined for the U.S. market, with delivery estimated to take place in the second quarter this year. The $450,000 auction price ranks as one of the highest ever paid for a lot in the wine festival's eight-year history.

"We are truly heartened by Mr and Mrs Monte Ahuja's generous bid for the first Bentley Brooklands destined for the U.S. market," said Christophe Georges, Chief Operating Officer for Bentley Motors, Inc. "We are delighted to be associated with the Naples Winter Wine Festival recognising its contribution to the Naples Children and Education Foundation which benefits so many deserving children in the south Florida community."

The 2009 Bentley Brooklands is a stunning new model that marks Bentley's return to the luxury coupe market and reaffirms the company's reputation as creator of the world's most exclusive coupes. It is the ultimate Bentley: a stylish, four-seat, grand touring coupe with classic British proportions and muscular performance.

Introduced at the 77th Geneva International Motor Show last year, Bentley Brooklands has rapidly captured the praise of international press and the hearts of luxury aficionados worldwide.

Brooklands is destined to be a collectors' classic due to its limited production run coupled with Bentley's world class attention to detail. Each Brooklands coupe will be hand-assembled, employing traditional coach-building techniques and the craftsmanship skills in wood veneer and leather hide for which Bentley is renowned.

2008 Maserati GranTurismo Bestows Italian Beauty and Charity at Naples Winter Wine Festival

Continuing a tradition which began in 2004 with the introduction of the four-door Quattroporte, Maserati has brought Italian flair and desire to Naples, allowing one lucky individual the chance to return from the annual Naples Winter Wine Festival with an even rarer vintage -- a 2008 specially customized GranTurismo luxury performance coupe.

The deep metallic carbon black beauty has elegant beige interior with contrasting black stitching along with unique door sills reading "2008 Naples Winter Wine Festival 1 of 1." The stunning four seat coupe offered for auction brought in a strong bid of $350,000, more than three times its base price. The 2008 auction benefitted the Naples Children & Education Foundation, a collection of more than 20 individual charitable and educational programs that improve the physical, emotional and educational lives of underprivileged or at risk children in Collier County.

The 2008 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 included more than 70 exclusive lots, including exotic excursions, private dinners, luxury cruises, tickets to the Academy Awards -- as well as an opportunity to be one of the first to take ownership of the 2008 GranTurismo, Maserati's award-winning high-performance sports car.

According to Jim Selwa, President of Maserati North America, Inc., the Maserati GranTurismo has been created and handcrafted for those who appreciate true sophistication and want their car to deliver an emotional driving experience, day-after-day. "We are proud to continue our ongoing partnership with this world-class Festival, as like its participants, we share a deep passion for exclusivity and elegance -- while helping to make a difference to those involved with the Naples Children & Education Foundation."

The Maserati GranTurismo is a perfect blend of elegance and power, and similar to a good wine, it has been crafted with careful attention paid to every detail in its making. Featuring a powerful Ferrari-engineered 405- horsepower engine, 6-speed automatic transmission and a top-speed of 177 mph, the GranTurismo has a 60-year heritage with a legacy stemming from the 1947 A6 1500 GT Pininfarina, the first Maserati GranTurismo ever built. Today's version leads its class with thrilling performance, driving excitement and excellence in technology and hand-crafted quality.

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