By Paul Borden

A perfect sunny, breezy afternoon and a fantastic lunch spread featuring salad, pasta, stone crab claws, shrimp, oysters, and a carving table offering beef tenderloin and tuna – not to mention a selection of decadent desserts – in a rooftop setting overlooking Miami Beach and the ocean made for an unforgettable setting for SAMA’s April luncheon.

But the star of the event sponsored by Mercedes-Benz was 20 stories below sitting in the Shore Club’s driveway: the 2009 SL63 AMG. It is a stunner.


Click on pictures to enlarge

John Shipley, S/CL/SL product management specialist, gave the group the introductory walk-around for the all-new version of this classic SL roadster, which, he noted was first produced in 1954. 


Among points of interest, the AMG version’s front end is wider and the radiator grille heightened, and the hood gets a different treatment from that on the SL550. The redesigned headlamps feature Bi-xenon lights as standard, and the modified gill outlets behind the front wheels are an AMG exclusive.
The engine under the hood is the first developed by AMG from the ground up. It’s a 6.2-liter V8 that through the quad dual exhaust pipes produces a sound that, as noted by SAMA member Giorgio Cerboncini, is reminiscent of a late 1960s, early 1970s American Muscle Car.
It is truly a magnificent roadster.

The SL is due in showrooms on May 1 with the SL550 carrying an MSRP of $95,900 and the SL63 AMG starting at $132,000.


SAMA wants to take this opportunity again to thank Mercedes, specifically our good friends Geoff Day and Gregory O’Shea, for sponsoring the luncheon and bringing this vehicle to Miami Beach for our viewing.

Among business items discussed at the luncheon, SAMA President Ron Beasley announced that the board had approved a $250 donation in support of auto journalist Frank Washington, who was viciously attacked in January while out for an early morning walk in his neighborhood in Detroit.

Frank had to have reconstructive surgery on his face to repair all of the bones that were crushed. In addition to the SAMA check, a collection was taken up at the luncheon and another $380 was forwarded to help out Frank. (You can do a google search for “Frank Washington attacked” and get more information.) Teresa Bravo reported that talks are ongoing with Bridgestone regarding sponsorship of the auto show breakfast in November. Giorgio Cerboncini will be handling the procedures for judging the awards this year. In our first year last fall we gave out two awards, Star of the Show (to the Cadillac CTS) and Concept Car of the Show (the Lincoln MKR). Our plan is to increase the number of awards this year.

Bill Adam reported that things are really beginning to progress rapidly on the Kids’ Ride Day at Homestead-Miami Speedway. To refresh your memory, at this event we will give terminally ill children and some other kids’ groups from Baptist Children’s Hospital rides in “dream cars” around the Speedway road course, including the high banks of turns three and four. The Speedway itself is stepping up by having several other activities throughout the day. It really is shaping up to be a quite significant event for our organization and the community. The date is Saturday, Nov. 1. There will be volunteer opportunities for our members on that day.


Vice President Paul Borden didn’t have any business to discuss, but in answer to a couple of questioners would like to say that “Trust Me I’m a Journalist” shirts are available on the web from, though that particular shirt didn’t show up on a quick search of the site.
President Beasley also reminded members that membership renewals will be due in June. (Hard to believe we are in our second year already!) Checks may be mailed to Treasurer Bill Adam at 3811 SW 67th Court, Palmetto Bay, FL 33158. As a reminder, dues are $50 a year (MORE than reasonable) for individuals and $150 for a media company. Details for associate memberships are on the SAMA website at (Be sure you make it .org.)
Plans for the May luncheon and meeting have changed a bit. Shell Oil (you think anybody will have questions for an oil company rep?) has agreed go shift its sponsorship to June, and Alex Vitale is working to have Bob Lutz from GM as a guest speaker for May. But that has not yet been set in stone. The May luncheon will be devoted to a special business session if the GM plans don’t work out. More details will be forthcoming in an e-mail notice.
Just a reminder, but please be sure to RSVP to the e-mail notice of May’s event when you receive it.


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