Continental Autosports is anticipating the renovation of their showroom in 2020. We were able to get a sneak preview of what to expect from their design intent manual. The updated facility will be one of the early adopters of the new state of the art design. The goal was to design a showroom where these incredible creations from Maranello, Italy will be displayed and sold. Just as important is to create a meeting point between the Ferrari brand and their clients- both current and future. 

The showroom will focus on the heritage of the brand which officially began in 1947 when the first car bearing the Ferrari badge was built. The car was the 125 S and while it was the first official Ferrari, Enzo Ferrari had been working with cars his entire adult life. He started out as a works driver with Alfa Romeo in 1924. In 1939 he started his own company and built his first sports car. It was a spider powered by a 1500cc 8-cylinder engine and he called it the 815. Only two 815s were ever built because World War II erupted on the scene and all motor racing came to an end.

Ferrari emphasizes a unique customer experience and the showroom in Hinsdale will be unique as well. Flexible areas that can be utilized for more than one purpose are part of the plan. The physical space has to be innovative, authentic, and welcoming so that current clients will feel at home and prospective clients will be able to embrace the brand. The Ferrari mission statement is: “We build cars, symbols of Italian excellence the world over, and we do so to win on both road and track. Unique creations that fuel the Prancing Horse legend and generate a World of Dreams and Emotions”. 

We had the opportunity to ask Joel Weinberger, owner/dealer principal at Continental AutoSports, some questions regarding his experience with Ferrari.

Q – Ferrari appears to emphasize a unique customer experience with this latest showroom design, what are your favorite features of the new design?
A – I love that the new showroom design celebrates the tremendous history of the brand both on and off the track, but also offers a unique space that recognizes the role that new technology plays in the latest generation of products as well as the client personalization process. Ferrari vehicles are truly custom built especially for each owner.

Q- Continental AutoSports has always had a personal connection with its clientele.  How do you see the showroom changes affecting how you interface with your customer base?
A- We have many clients that stop by regularly to visit, enjoy coffee and conversation, and see what’s new. These newest changes will make it an even more comfortable and inviting gathering place for all of our Ferrari enthusiasts. We’ll also have all the elements in place to educate new clients about all the things that make Ferrari special.

Q – You compete in the Ferrari Challenge North American Series, driving the latest 488 Challenge car.  Tell us more about that experience.
A- I have raced competitively on the racetrack in a variety of cars for over 30 years. However, the Ferrari Challenge series has, without a doubt, been the highlight of my experiences. The 488 challenge series cars are the most capable machines I have piloted, achieving speeds over 190mph at speedway tracks like Daytona. Since all the vehicles are the same, the differences come down to driver skill and vehicle preparation. The series has enabled me to race at some of the most iconic tracks in the world, including Indy, Laguna Seca, Watkins Glen, Montreal, and evening Monza (Italy).

Q – What makes the Ferrari brand unique, is it the design of the cars, the technology or the Ferrari heritage?
A – it’s the blend of all three that create a certain passion, or “passione”. You may be able to find a car that has certain “better” statistics on paper, but none can compare to the feeling of driving a Ferrari. It enlivens all the senses; from the smell of the handcrafted leather to the sound of the engines to the beauty of the design. Ferrari is recognized as the the most powerful brand in the world, including all of the other non-automotive luxury brands.

Q – Tell us about your family’s history with Continental AutoSports at this location.  I understand your father and uncle started the business in the ’50s.
A – My father John and his brother Herman started an import repair business in Lyons, IL back in 1961. That led to eventually becoming a new car dealer for Triumph, MG, and Jaguar in the early days. Continental has represented many enthusiast and sports car brands over the years, but we are the second oldest Ferrari dealer in the nation having started with the brand in 1975. In 1982, the brand was moved from Countryside to its current location in Hinsdale, and we’ve grown quite a bit over the years. We have many employees that have been with us for decades, so our experience is unparalleled. We love what we do, and we love to share our knowledge and passion with our Ferrari clients!

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