RDS Auto Group Celebrates Brand Heritage in 2019

Once a car leaves the factory production line, its story is just beginning. At the RDS Automotive Group, it is our intention to make that story as interesting as possible.
 
In pursuit of this mission, we join our customers for events at our locations and across the country to celebrate the pride and joy of the cars they’ve bought from us, as well as the heritage of those brands. From the show fields, to the race track, to right in our showrooms and parking lots, these events have grown us closer to the cars we’re passionate about, and those who share that passion.
 
Every year, our calendar unfolds right in our backyard at the Philly Auto Show. The exhibition of everything new in the auto industry is the perfect opportunity to showcase our latest McLarens and Maseratis, and Porsches from Porsche North America. For Maserati and Porsche, that meant a fresh new slate of vehicles, including the brand new 992 911 for 2019. But for McLaren, its hottest new car wasn’t one that was for sale. With permission from a VIP client, McLaren Philadelphia was privileged to unveil a unique specification of the McLaren Senna, nicknamed the “Champion Theme” and finished in white and carbon with contrasting red stripes. The car brought incredible attention to the RDS Automotive Group booth during media day and throughout the week of the show.

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The Senna remained a focal point at our 2019 events, and its presence helped kick off our Supercars on Saturday season opener at McLaren Philadelphia in April. The Ultimate Series validated its name as features for our show, with two customer Sennas and a P1 highlighting our front line, and joined by dozens of other clients in their favorite cars. In October, Supercars on Saturday returned again, and again featured a strong showing from the most exclusive McLaren cars ever built. This time, we were honored to feature the McLaren P1 GTR, as well as a standard P1 and an additional four Sennas.

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But these cars aren’t just for show; they’re built for speed. The best place to exercise them to their fullest abilities is at the track, so we take pride in offering our clients private track days at New Jersey Motorsports Park where they can learn the limits of their cars in a safe and encouraging setting. These events are open to McLaren and Porsche clients in the spring and the fall, and the grid is littered with Longtails, GT cars and everything in between for two days of non-stop driving excitement for clients of any experience level. In the fall, we were also honored to have our own legendary racing driver David Donohue on hand to give hot laps in a customer’s Porsche GT2 RS, which he is very familiar with as he set Road America’s production car lap record in 2019 with the GT2 RS.

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While we encourage our clients to fully experience their cars on the track, we created the RDS Road Rally for those who prefer a scenic Sunday drive on Chester County’s best back roads. This untimed event invites all RDS clients on a 80-mile drive to a secret location every June, with each entered car getting a set of specific turn-by-turn directions to follow closely. Our Porsche, McLaren and Maserati customers all showed up in full force with their daily drivers, their collector cars, their track cars or whatever they enjoyed driving. And while the event is rain or shine, the 2019 edition had bountiful sun for the entire drive, which concluded at La Massaria at Bella Vista in Gilbertsville. There, a succulent lunch was hosted as well as displays of our brand vehicles, including the public debut of Lamborghini Greenwich as a branch of the RDS Automotive Group.

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Though we love to share these events with as much of the RDS family as we can, An Evening With MSO was a more intimate gathering for McLaren Philadelphia’s top clients. This July, representatives from McLaren’s bespoke division came packed with exclusive samples of unique projects they’ve fulfilled, including a one-off 720S Spider featuring incredibly detailed paintwork that represents what MSO can do if given free rein. Outside MSO’s in-store display, McLaren Philadelphia was honored to showcase a few examples of MSO’s past work, which included an F1 fitted with the High Downforce Kit, a one-of-a-kind P1 and Senna, and the MSO HS which was built from the ground up by the division of McLaren. As a whole, the display told the story of MSO’s transformation of the brand’s road cars in significant and meaningful ways, and encouraged clients to explore the possibilities for themselves.

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Exhibiting some of the most prominent collector cars of all eras is something that is also true of a major Concours, and there are a handful around the world with deep significance. Fortunately, one of those resides right outside our dealerships. The Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance has taken place for 23 years and showcased various classes of the elite of the automotive world past and present. The 2019 edition celebrated “Special Interest Porsche” among other classes, and of course we couldn’t miss that opportunity. Featured in the RDS tent was a rare Porsche 959 loaned by a VIP client, alongside the full range of modern production cars from Porsche, McLaren and Maserati.

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Absent from Porsche’s display at Radnor Hunt, however, was the new 992 911, but the reason was that it was being saved for a much more dramatic arrival. The timeless nature of the 992 generation is what inspired the latest project for Porsche of The Main Line—a celebration of a classic 911’s arrival into the modern era. The 911 has been able to transcend the decades and never appear out of place, almost as if it’s been placed in a time machine. So, fittingly, it became one. Arriving in a cloud of smoke and lights to Porsche of The Main Line’s launch event on October 24, 2019, was a brand new 911 that had traversed the decades and picked up each predating generation along its way for the ultimate celebration of the history of the 911. Styled with inspiration from the famous 1985 movie car, our “Back 992 the Future” machine embodied all of the classic traits to travel through time, with replica equipment and effects to mark the 911’s arrival to 2019.

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But 2019 wasn’t just a strong year for the RDS Automotive Group, it was one for the manufacturers themselves. Outside the walls of our dealerships, the brands we represent were active in celebrating their history both past and present, and we were enthused to be able to join in.
 
Starting in the chilly days of March, we snuck away to enjoy the beautiful sun of Florida for the Amelia Island Concours. The phrase “East Coast Pebble Beach” is thrown around liberally these days, but it’s never more appropriate than when describing Amelia Island. The manicured fairways host a stunning array of vintage automobilia, and collector car auctions help transition these cars from one caretaker to the next—it’s exactly the formula that works for Pebble Beach, just on a smaller scale. But the comparison doesn’t hold up without the right cars, and fortunately Amelia Island delivers. The 24th annual Concours celebrated the dynasty of the Porsche 962, which spanned nearly a decade in endurance racing, and included several significant examples including the 1994 Le Mans winner. Additionally, other historic classes featured the exotic coachwork of vintage Bugattis and Maseratis, hailing back to a time that’s practically unrecognizable from their modern lineups, but nonetheless vitally important to their stories.

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Those classics were new at some point though, and for decades the main exhibition of new cars in the United States has been the New York International Auto Show. To this day, it remains the premier showcase for mainstream and exclusive brands alike, including Porsche and Maserati. Using the stage at the 2019 event, both brands held unveilings of production cars and concepts. For Porsche, that meant not only presenting a fully production-ready version of the renewed 911 Speedster, but giving it a Heritage package reminiscent of original 356 racers that inspired it. For Maserati, the personalization ran much deeper than the surface. The Italian brand’s “One-of-One” program pairs the customer with the design team to create inspired specifications that are unique as each individual, combining exterior and interior colors and materials to truly bring to life something one of a kind.

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Once auto show season wound down and the East Coast weather warmed up, racing season hit full swing. For McLaren Philadelphia, that meant seeing our own 570S GT4s battling for points in GT4 America under the stewardship of Jarett Andretti and Andretti Autosport. After a class win at Circuit of The Americas, Andretti and the GT4s returned to the East Coast for a weekend at Virginia International Raceway where the 26-year-old impressed in the Am class, even competing for an overall win. While the final results didn’t paint a pretty picture, it was clear the McLaren would be competitive over the course of the season. Jarett’s pace showed great potential through the summer, but it wasn’t until September when he broke through and earned his first win in GT4 at Watkins Glen.

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Bolstering the lineup of McLaren Customer Racing in North America for 2019 was the 720S GT3, which made its competitive debut in the US at Mid-Ohio in May. Compass Racing campaigned the car in IMSA’s Sprint Cup, with Paul Holton and Matt Plumb piloting it through the GTD field. While the 720S showed potential and definitely looked the part, it failed to reach the finish of the 2-hour-40-minute sprint. But in GTLM, Porsche took first and third with the 911 RSR, and previewed a long stretch of dominance in the class.

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The Porsche North America team took that momentum and carried it through the summer, winning an unprecedented five straight races with the 911 RSR. With only a handful of races left on the schedule as the GT Challenge at VIR loomed, it was an opportunity to virtually clinch the title for the season. And from the outset of the weekend, it was clear they were determined to do so. The 911 RSR set the fastest pace in every practice session and qualifying, and then led the race wire to wire to claim a 1-2 finish and secure the season title for Porsche.

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But the ultimate celebration of motorsports and brand heritage comes during Monterey Car Week, and presents itself on the track, the show field and simply the streets of Monterey. Beginning the week is the Monterey Pre-Reunion, a weekend of historic racing at Laguna Seca that invites about a dozen classes of collector car to compete wheel to wheel, like they did in period. With IMSA’s 50th anniversary being the feature, the GT prototype class fielded several Porsche 962s in various specs, and a selection of significant 935s joined as well, many of which carry major IMSA history.
 
For the rest of the week, the Monterey Peninsula came alive and the RDS brands were well represented. Celebrating the rich history of motoring is a hallmark of Monterey Car Week as a whole, but the events aren’t shy to usher in the latest luxury and performance cars as well, and The Quail had some of the most notable debuts of the week. Celebrating its 110th anniversary in 2019, Bugatti unveiled the limited-run Centodieci, stylized with inspiration from the classic EB110 supercar, of which four were also on display nearby. Additionally, Lamborghini seized the show field’s attention with the debut of a pair of limited-edition specialties in the form of the Aventador SVJ 63 Roadster and the Huracán Evo GT Celebration, utilizing its Ad Personam program to create desirable collector cars with distinct aesthetic enhancements. Koenigsegg populated its stand with almost a dozen customer commissions, while Porsche and Maserati opted to showcase their new model lineups with exclusive option packages.

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While The Quail is rising in notoriety, the Pebble Beach Concours remains the crown jewel of Car Week’s slate of events. For the 69th annual outing, the famed 18th Fairway hosted a range of classes but most notably, the Lamborghini Miura. While an immaculate Miura SV took home “Best in Class” honors, the one-off Miura SVR wowed visitors with its bespoke bodywork indicative of the wildest Miura in existence. The 19-month restoration of the one-of-a-kind Miura SVR was on full display, exhibiting classic Lamborghini style yet pulling off the flair that the Italian brand is so well known for today.
 
Appreciating the heritage of our brands enhances the modern experience, as it provides context and inspiration for what we are witness to today. Sharing that with our family across our dealerships and across the country makes it that much more special, and we hope 2020 has more of the same.
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