ML - Michigan Avenue

2014 - Issue 1 - Winter

Michigan Avenue - Niche Media - Michigan Avenue magazine is a luxury lifestyle magazine centered around Chicago’s finest people, events, fashion, health & beauty, fine dining & more!

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DRIVING DUOS AS CAR CONNOISSEURS GATHER FOR THE 106TH ANNUAL CHICAGO AUTO SHOW, FIVE WINDY CITY POWER COUPLES SHARE THEIR LOVE FOR THE DRIVEN LIFE—AND EACH OTHER. BY ELLE EICHINGER AND MEG MATHIS PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAVERIO TRUGLIA RETOUCHING BY STICK DIGITAL Autobahn Society Mark and Penny Basso celebrate more than 25 years of marriage and 10 years as the partners behind Chicago's chicest car club. Mark Basso has always been a car guy—he's owned 10 automobiles since his first 1974 Firebird and has also dabbled in amateur racing—so when he met Camaro-driving Penny Morgan at Galway's (a dive bar in Elmhurst) in 1984, he knew she was the one. "Her smile lit up the whole room," Mark recalls. The two bonded over a shared sense of adventure and were married in 1987. In the late 1990s, it was that same adventurous spirit that Mark depended on when he proposed to his wife that he leave his career as an insurance salesman and follow his dream of opening a club for car enthusiasts, The Autobahn Country Club. Despite her shared love of cars and supportive personality, Penny couldn't help but be apprehensive. "It was a lot of work," she says about making the move with Mark and their four kids from West Chicago to Shorewood to build the Autobahn, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. "We had to start our life over again—[but it] was fun in the end, and now [this] is our life." Penny has since gone back to school to finish her business degree (she graduates this year) and moved on to work as the sales and marketing director of the Patrick C. Haley Mansion, but make no mistake that the Autobahn has always been a partnership. "When you start a new company, it's a family affair," Mark says. Adds Penny, "I wanted to make sure that Mark lived his dream. If you feel that passionately about something, you've got to do it." And though Penny is no longer involved in day-to-day operations, she's still as much a car lover as her husband. "I'm partial to the BMWs," she says with a connoisseur's familiarity, "but I wouldn't turn away any of them." MICHIGANAVEMAG.COM 098-103_MA_FEAT_Portrait_Winter14.indd 99 99 1/10/14 2:28 PM

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