It could be argued that Mark Del Rosso has motor oil running through his veins. After all, the native New Yorker has been in the automotive business his entire life via extended family and his father. “My dad is now in his 80s, and he still goes to work every day,” says Del Rosso, who’s the CEO of Bentley North and South America. “Dad would drive a different car almost every day [when I was a kid], and the dealership was my playground. It was like Christmas morning whenever new cars arrived at the dealerships.”
After a stint with Toyota and, later, as CEO of Audi (where he grew sales to more than 200,000 units a year), Del Rosso recently landed with Bentley—a company he giddily compares to Oz. “[From] seeing people handsew leather onto a steering wheel to a room that’s like a giant humidor filled with sheets of veneer to craftsmen handpolishing wood, it’s like nothing I’ve ever seen,” he says. Last year, the luxury automaker introduced the Bentayga, which Del Rosso says drives like a grand tourer. This year, the CEO notes the company will launch the world’s first luxury hybrid SUV. “And that’s an important first step in Bentley’s path to electrification,” he says.
Of course, any auto aficionado is going to have crushes. “I chased the most beautiful car ever produced, the Ferrari 246 GT—also known as Dino,” he says. “It was the most intense, romantic pursuit to acquire that car.” He also owns a Ferrari 360 and pines for a Lamborghini Huracán and Bentley Continental Supersports. On weekends, he cruises roads along Skyline Drive and on the gorgeous, curvy stretches of Loudoun County’s wine-country two-laner Snickersville Pike.
“When I see [car] collections and they’re only garaged, I’m heartbroken. I love to drive—cars are meant to be driven,” Del Rosso says. “If there’s a backup on the highway, that’s simply an invitation to explore new back roads.”