My Dream Car

DJ Johnson in his 2007 Lotus Exige S. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

From souped-up supercars to luxury SUVS, these cars are a dream to own — and drive.


DJ Johnson. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

DJ Johnson
2007 Lotus Exige S;
2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage

“In Los Angeles, where my wife Deanna and I moved from, it was not uncommon to see high-end luxury sports cars. Here, it’s not as common, so when people pull up next to you, they roll down the window and start asking questions. The reactions you get here are priceless: I had one guy come up to me on his bicycle while I was pumping gas into the Aston Martin. We chatted for a bit about the car and went our separate ways, and then I think he stalked me on Facebook. I ended up having him over to the house for a barbecue a couple of times! The Aston just has that mystique about it. It’s beautiful and powerful, and the sound of the engine gets me every time. When you hear it reverberating as you pass through a tunnel or between concrete buildings, you can’t help but lean on the gas. The first night we bought it, Deanna and I got all dolled up and went out on the town in it. It turned out to be a strange night; the bar we landed at ended up hosting a Mexican drag karaoke show. But driving that car? We felt like Bond, James Bond.

As for the Lotus, it’s just sexy. It looks like a vintage race car, and with the top off, it’s pretty amazing to see how many heads it turns. It’s also a riot to drive, on or off the race track. It’s light, zippy and low to the ground. Some cars are made with horsepower in mind and hitting high speeds off the line [ed note: the optimal path around a race course], but the Lotus is a cornering car that performs well on heavily curved tracks. I wasn’t a car enthusiast at all until I got the Lotus. I remember being at a friend’s house years ago for a Halloween party, and he asked a few of us if we wanted to come out to the garage to see his new ride. It was a yellow Lotus with two black stripes down the middle, and my jaw hit the floor. It was just stunning. A few more years passed until I bought mine, but that was the moment the seed was planted, and I’d wanted one ever since.”


Richard J. Greco, MD. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

Richard J. Greco, MD
2019 Tailor Made Ferrari 488 Spider

“A Ferrari has been my dream car since I was a child — it’s the car from Miami Vice with Don Johnson, or Magnum P.I. with Tom Selleck. I have been very fortunate to be able to acquire the Spider, and I can give you all the specifics about it having a bi-turbo V8, 661 horsepower engine, or about how it can go from zero to 60 in 2.9 seconds. But the very special part is, it’s a truly one-of-a-kind Ferrari known as a ‘Tailor Made.’

I put in an order and deposit for the car nearly three years before I was allowed to design it. When it was finally time to start, I knew I didn’t want a red Ferrari. I wanted a classic, retro throwback to a 1960s model. I reviewed all the colors and options with my wife and friends, but I wasn’t truly happy with my choices. In a twist of fate, I discussed my thoughts with my sales counselor. He spoke with the owner of the dealership, whose wife, as it turns out, was the niece of Enzo Ferrari. She made a call and helped get me on the list for the Tailor Made program. Typically, someone has to own four or five previous Ferraris before being given the opportunity to design a one-of-a-kind car. Out of about 8,000 Ferraris produced this year, only 50 are Tailor Made.

I flew to the factory in Modena, Italy, with my wife, and the specialists custom-blended shades for us — hundreds of them. I had a Jaguar earlier in my life that was a sandstone color, and it never looked dirty. So I thought, well, that’s the easiest: it’s elegant and subtle and doesn’t show dust. Finally, I found a vintage rose color in the sandstone family but with a soft pink undertone. For the interior, I chose rich, brown leather reminiscent of a club chair and tiger wood accents hand-milled to fit the vehicle. It’s the only Ferrari ever built in this shade with this specific interior. When it’s really bright outside, the car has a rosy hue. Other times it looks gray, or even tan. It’s a chameleon color, and the only one of its kind.”


Melody Funes-Perfecto. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

Melody Funes-Perfecto
2017 Porsche Cayenne E-Hybrid

“I love that this Porsche has a hybrid engine — it’s eco-friendly, yet still very powerful with impressive handling and a beautiful interior. The Cayenne has a sleek design I fell in love with, and Porsche comes with a rich history and proven ability to create a quality luxury vehicle. [ed note: The Stuttgart, Germany-based Porsche AG started in 1931, earlier than Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lotus, and nearly every other luxury European manufacturer besides London-based Aston Martin, which was founded in 1913.] I was researching the Peacock Auto Mall/Porsche of Hilton Head website for a few months, and no matter how many cars I looked at, I just kept coming back to this one. I was surprised — and relieved — they still had it in stock.

In Savannah, I love driving Bay and River streets in the Porsche crossover SUV. It provides a smooth ride even on cobblestone, and you have all sorts of history and hidden gems peppered about, plus a superior view compared with a low-to-the-ground coupe style. Owning a luxury car in Savannah also provides the opportunity of going to all the car shows this fall, like the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival, or the Savannah Speed Classic and Cars and Caffeine the preceding weekend on Hutchinson Island.

I wouldn’t call myself an outright car enthusiast, but I can appreciate a well-made automobile. I also always liked the 1966 drop-top Chevy Impala, in part because my uncle had a collection of them. I think everyone wants to drive something they feel is worth driving. For me, that’s the Cayenne.”


Carla C. Dooley. Photo by Geoff L. Johnson

Carla C. Dooley
Mercedes G 550

“I currently have a 2019 Mercedes G 550. It’s my third one, and I will never drive anything else. I have always liked the retro vibe — a boxy, wagon style that’s also a luxury SUV. Given how much I like the G-Class body style, it probably won’t surprise you that I used to own a classic Range Rover. It was beautiful, but really no comparison to the Mercedes.

“My husband is an avid car collector, so I try to drive interesting vehicles. What’s great about this one is, it’s built to go anywhere, no matter the terrain. Largely, though, I just drive it around town. I have two children, and my youngest isn’t driving yet. The G 550 is a great way to get him back and forth to where he needs to be. It also makes a statement: I get asked about it a few times a week!”

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