Penske Automotive’s Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection Turns 10


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For the last 10 years automobile enthusiasts have traveled to Scottsdale Arizona to visit the Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection. The 41-acre facility is equipped with everything from a Shell Gas Station to some of the most prized artifacts in racing history. The L-shaped facility features 13 dealerships, 3,000 vehicles, and even an off-road torture track with its own water hazard. However, in order to understand how the automobile lover’s heaven came to be, one must start at the beginning - in Northern Ohio in the mid-1950s where a young boy named Roger Penske fell in love with racing.

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Penske Automotive’s Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection Turns 10

  1. 1. Penske Automotive’s Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection Celebrates 10 Years - An Insider’s Tour of An Automotive Theme Park I It seems that for as long as anyone can remember, 13 vehicle brands -- Acura, Aston Martin, Audi, Bentley, BMW, Bugatti, Chauncey Ranch has been all about horsepower. Jaguar, Lamborghini, MINI, Porsche, Land Rover, Range Rover, Rolls For most of the ranch’s history, the horses in power were Royce, and Volkswagen. Most of the dealerships are arrayed around Arabians, acclaimed show horses that helped make Scotts- a paved, quarter-mile racing-style road and test track and the mini-dale, Arizona, a center for equestrian activities. By the way, Scotts- mountain of an off-pavement torture track complete with its owndale is a center of such importance that the nearby WestWorld water hazard.complex was constructed and continues to function as an important The 41-acre facility also has its own body and paint shops, aninternational equestrian facility, though each January it also serves Avis rent-a-car facility, a commercial-quality car wash, a window-tint-as the site of the world famous Barrett-Jackson, collector car event ing garage, a mobile windshield replacement service, parking forand auction. some 3,000 vehicles, and even a Shell gasoline station. A decade ago, the horsepower focus for the grounds that had Shell is a corporate affiliate of the Penske Racing teams, whichbeen home to Chauncey Ranch and its stables and pastures changed has sent cars and drivers to compete in major motorsports seriesfrom steeds with four legs to those with four wheels. As Scottsdale’s around the world and which holds the record for the most victoriesbusiness development grew and needed more land for commercial in the history of the Indianapolis 500.use, horse enthusiasts moved their stables to the north and east of Some of the pioneers of sports car racing in northern Ohio stilltown. On the site of the former Chauncey Ranch, Roger Penske built remember the time when they used to race around the runways atone of the world’s largest automotive dealership complexes, an in- the Akron airport. One year, in the mid-1950s, a church youth groupverted L-shaped series of stores pointing toward the McDowell Moun- was invited to watch.tains and built around the keystone of the Penske Racing Museum. “One of them [a young visitor] would continue his new-found in- Though some of the original franchises have changed, Penske terest in motorsports,” writes author and auto racing historian CarlAutomotive’s Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection remains a showcase for Goodwin.
  2. 2. That youngster was Roger Penske, whose growing interest in mo-torsports and things automotive would lead to success behind thewheel as a driver, perhaps the most successful racing team owner inAmerican history, and as one of the world’s leading automobile dealersand transportation business owners. Roger Penske grew up in Shaker Heights, a Cleveland suburb. Hisinterest in cars included more than watching them race. He’d buy, fixand then sell vehicles, and also started racing them, and racing themvery well, indeed. In 1961, he not only won a Sports Car Club of Amer-ica national championship but also was honored as sports car driverof the year by Sports Illustrated magazine. He won more races and ad-ditional honors the following season. In 1963, he won a NASCAR stockcar race at Riverside, California. Penske’s success as a driver came while he worked for Alcoa.Penske had studied at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania, and joinedthe aluminum company after graduation. His success as a part-timeracer was so impressive that major teams were offering him cars torace. Qualifying for the Indy 500 loomed in his future. But a more important opportunity also presented itself – the op-portunity to buy a Chevrolet dealership in Philadelphia. But there was a catch. To secure the financial backing he’d needto complete that purchase, Penske would have to step out from behindthe wheel and take a position on the other side of the pit wall. He quitdriving to became a new car dealer. Soon, however, and while still inhis twenties, he also launched Penske Racing. As it approaches its 50th anniversary, Penske Racing celebratesa history that includes championships in the U.S. Road Racing Cham-pionship, the Trans-Am, Can-Am, Indy car and American Le Mans Se-ries. It also raced in Formula One and still races in NASCAR’s SprintCup and Nationwide Series. But, its greatest fame has been achievedat Indianapolis’s historic Brickyard, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,where Penske Racing has won the famed 500 a record 15 times. At the same time, Penske has built businesses under the PenskeCorporation umbrella, including Penske Truck Leasing and the PenskeAutomotive Group, which operates more than 300 automotive dealer-ships, primarily in the United States and England.
  3. 3. But it was in Scottsdale that Penske chose to assemble a show-case automotive collection, a collection that includes the museum thathouses his historic racing cars and motorsports memories. Since itsopening, the Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection has been more than acomposite of new car dealerships; it has served as a tourist attraction,a sort of automotive theme park. By the way, that theme park has recently added yet another newattraction, one we’ll visit as we make our way from one end of the fa-cility to the other. We start our visit at the south end of the property, where we aregreeted by the shining, silverly cylindrical facade of Porsche NorthScottsdale. Step inside the semi-circular, silver and black showroom,and our eyes are drawn to walls covered with huge photographs of his-toric Porsche racing cars and, above the receptionist’s desk, the words:“In 1948, I felt confident we had created a milestone automobile.” The quote is from Dr. Ferry Porsche, who that year finally put thefamily name on a car inspired by the pioneering automotive engineer-ing his father, Ferdinand Porsche, had been doing for so many yearsfor other automakers. Indeed, arrayed around the showroom are the latest examples ofPorsche’s ongoing evolution of milestone automobiles, soon to includethe newest, the next-generation 911. While touring the Porsche showroom, you may be surprised tosee a couple of Ferraris on display. They are trade-ins and availablefor sale. As you visit the various Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection dealer-ships, you’ll see other pre-owned Ferraris in various showrooms. They,
  4. 4. too, are for sale, a convenience for those who may not want to visit ei-ther of the two Ferrari/Maserati dealerships the Penske AutomotiveGroup operates in the Southwest – one a few miles to the south, in itstraditional location on the McDowell Road auto row, and one quite afew miles to the north, at the Wynn resort on the Las Vegas Strip. From Porsche North Scottsdale, we move across the driveway tothe BMW dealership, where we are greeted by dark brown walls, a sil-ver ceiling, slate-colored flooring and the lineup of BMW’s newest au-tomobiles and sport utility vehicles. The BMW dealership also has asecond floor. Originally the home of MINI North Scottsdale, the secondfloor now showcases pre-owned and especially new BMW M cars, thefactory hot rods produced by the automaker’s M (as in Motorsports)division. Another showcase area, not only of the BMW dealership but alsoof all the Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection dealerships, is the automotiveservice center. Like the BMW “garage,” several of the service areashave special clinker tile flooring. Each of the service bays – and thereare more than 250 throughout the facility – has its own Shure TC3bench, Lista tool boxes, computer, fluid delivery and recovery systemsand encapsulated, hydraulic Rotary SL29i lift. Any parts a technicianneeds are delivered by a state-of-the-art Remstar International auto-mated storage and retrieval system. By the way, cars kept overnight are elevated onto those lifts so garagefloors can be thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis. Penske Racing’s garagesare known for their eat-off-the-floor spotlessness, and the dealership serv-ice areas maintain the same spic-and-span cleaningprinciples. Our tour takes us from the BMW center to
  5. 5. Audi, where the decor features beige wood – just like some Audi ve- Entering from the Jaguar dealership, the first vehicle we en-hicle interiors – light-colored tile flooring and an industrial-style ceil- counter is the Nichels Engineering-prepared 1963 Pontiac Catalinaing with exposed air vents. In addition to Audi vehicles, you find the stock car that Roger Penske drove to victory at Riverside Interna-quattro café, a waiting area for those bringing their vehicles for serv- tional Raceway. Parked next to the Catalina is a 2005 Dodge Chargerice. NASCAR stock car formerly driven by Rusty Wallace. The next stop on our tour looks less like an automobile dealer- Keep going and we see the 1973 Porsche RSR that Mark Dono-ship than a hunting or fishing lodge. The staff at Land Rover North hue drove to the inaugural International Race of Champions seriesScottsdale even wears fleece jackets. There’s an Adventure Centre. championship, the 1972 McLaren 16B-Offenhauser that DonohueA huge four-oared shell hangs from the ceiling. Canoes, sleds and drove to first of Penske Racing’s 15 Indy 500 victories, the 1974 PC-polo equipment are part of the decor. 1 Formula One car Penske Racing developed, and a 40-percent-scale Land Rover and Range Rover vehicles aren’t merely on display. wind tunnel model of the 1991 PC 20 Indy racer.Just out the dealership’s back doors is an off-road test track where Between those vehicles and the front entrance, we encounterthose vehicles can show their capability at crossing a stream, climb- a couple of Indy 500 pace cars, another IROC racer, and nearly aing over rocks or taking on a slope that leans the car seemingly al- dozen more historic Indy racers, most of which won the famed 500-most to the tipping point. mile Memorial Day weekend classic. On a monthly basis, Land Rover and Range Rover owners can Depending on the date of a visit, however, the cars in the mu-participate in off-road driving classes on the mini-mountain, and sev- seum could be different. They are rotated in and out at various times,eral times a year, the dealership sponsors driving adventure trips and also are used for displays at vintage and other racing events,for its customers and their vehicles. car shows, at other museums, and even at other Penske Automotive From Land Rover, we make our way through an internal hallway Group Jaguar North Scottsdale, where you encounter a circular show- The Penske Racing museum also has an upstairs, where therecase at the front of the dealership showroom. The decor features are many scale model cars, sometimes a full-size racer as well, tro-light gray-green wall covering and dark marble desk tops, and, of phies won by Penske Racing teams, and the Turn 4 Café, where foodcourse, an array of, as the British say, Jag-u-ars. and beverages are available until 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. From Jaguar North Scottsdale, a hallway delivers us to the in- Note, however, that the grill is shut down an hour before closing.side of the Penske Racing Museum, which also can be entered The museum is open weekdays and Saturdays from 8 a.m. until 4through the front door near the intersection of North Scottsdale p.m., and Sunday from noon until 5 p.m.Road and East Chauncey Lane. From the museum’s upper level, we can step outside to a large,
  6. 6. sweeping balcony that overlooks the paved and off-road test tracks, a successor to the NSX sports car, this showroom will be a happen-as well as providing a vista that includes a large automotive service ing place in coming, the body and paint shops, the administration office, new car For now, however, the happening place is next door at Volkswa-parking lots, gas station and car wash facility. gen North Scottsdale, where the next-generation Beetle and the Next door to the Penkse Racing Museum is the combined show- American-made Passat share the two-story showroom rotunda withroom of Bentley Scottsdale and Lamborghini North Scottsdale. The VW Vintage.decor is much like the Jaguar dealership, except for the maple-wood What’s VW Vintage? It’s the newest automotive attraction atdropped ceiling and the dark flooring beneath the Lamborghini dis- the Scottsdale 101 Auto area. It all started when the dealership took a 1961 VW Transport, a That same back hallway that led us from Jaguar to the motor- 1981 Thing and a 1966 VW microbus in trade for various new vehi-sports museum and on to Bentley and Lamborghini now delivers us cles. They’ve since been joined by a 1956 oval-window Beetle, ato Rolls Royce Motor Cars Scottsdale and Scottsdale Aston Martin, 1989 Cabriolet and a 1967 Herbie the Love Bug. The historic VWswhere not only Bond, James Bond would feel right at home, but so were kept in the main showroom and immediately attracted the at-would some of his Ferrari-driving adversaries. For customer conven- tention and affection of seemingly every customer who walkedience, several pre-owned Ferraris share showroom floor space with through the door. Dealership employees also loved the air-cooledthe Rolls and 007’s favorite cars. contingent, and thus VW Vintage was launched. We’ve been heading to the west since we left the motorsports VW Vintage is Penske’s own classic car dealership-within-a-museum. Now we walk across a couple of driveways to MINI North dealership. VW Vintage will focus on classic Volkswagen sales andScottsdale, where the building is basic black inside and out, with service and even do some restoration work as offering vintage partsbright green and yellow exterior trim and green, yellow, orange and and vintage-style apparel, perhaps someday adding car club-styleblue accents inside. The internal walls are adorned with MINI roofs activities.painted with Union Jack, American Stars and Stripes and checkered From Range Rovers roving the range to vintage Volkswagens onflag motifs. While inside, be sure to check out the Bulldog lounge display… from exotic sports cars to luxury sedans and sport utilities…and the MINI history timeline chart. and from MINIs to cars that won the biggest race on the planet, the Just to the east, we enter Acura North Scottsdale with its light- Scottsdale 101 Auto Collection truly is more than a group of new carcolored tile flooring, beige-wood trim, and tall light-colored walls – dealerships. It’s a modern – and historic – automotive theme park.and, of course, the lineup of Acura cars and sport utility vehicles.With Acura recently announcing a lost list of new vehicles, including