Lamborghinis, the thoroughbreds of the automotive world, are relatively rare and hardly common along the Emerald Coast. Should you find yourself in Destin and notice a gleaming snow white 2016 Lamborghini Huracán LP 610-4 (AWD) cruising by, it’s likely you’ve just crossed paths with Jackson, MS, native, Doug Wilson, a new member of our coastal community. Doug and Melanie, his wife of 30 years, are elated to now call Destin their full-time home. As owners of the Wilson Auto Group, with four thriving dealerships in Mississippi and Tennessee, they bring along an abundance of vehicular eye candy. Says Doug, “We love Destin! It’s such a cool place, with beautiful beaches, great restaurants, and friendly people.”
At the age of 27, Doug opened his first automobile dealership. “I’ve always been a car fanatic,” he says. “My first car was a 1966 Buick Riviera with a 425 V-8 single four-barrel carburetor (labeled Wildcat 465). Back in those days, you could flip the air breather on the carburetor and make a much bigger racket.” Where luxury and lifestyle meet, we find Doug’s passion for high-end performance vehicles. “I think it would be hypocritical to tell people to spend their hard-earned money on a nice set of wheels if I didn’t do the same thing,” he says.
The Lamborghini Huracán, replacing the ten-year running Gallardo, made its first debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show. Spanish for the word ‘hurricane,’ the Huracán’s name was influenced by an 1879 Spanish fighting bull, Huracán, well-known for its unrelenting courage and strong sense of attack. Traditionally, all Lamborghini models are named after Spanish fighting bulls.
In 2016, Lamborghini launched five new models. The limited series Centenario Coupé and the Centenario Roadster were released in remembrance of the anniversary of founder Ferruccio Lamborghini. The Huracán Avio and the Aventador Miura Homage, both special series models, were released in celebration of the Miura’s 50th anniversary, and the Lamborghini Huracán Spyder – the convertible variant of the Huracán LP 610-4 – was released to the market.
The Lamborghini boasts a powerful 610hp 5.2-liter V-10 engine and includes cylinder deactivation, which shuts down one of the vehicle’s cylinder banks in the name of fuel savings. With a 7-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission, it’s acceleration speed – reaching 0-60 mph in 2.8 seconds – and top-end speed of 201 mph are not for the timid. Each press of the throttle treats the driver to a sexy growl that cannot be heard too many times.
From its exotic, ultra-sleek shape to its large intakes above and below the rear fender, driving the Huracán is an unparalleled experience.
One would expect the owners of a precision machine with so much power, speed, and luxury to be somewhat complicated; however, Doug and Melanie practice humility in all facets of life. Doug began his career washing cars at his father’s dealership. Through the years, he earned his stripes working in every position at the company, giving him keen insight as to what it takes to establish and grow a successful business. Says Doug, “We had the number one Dodge dealership in Mississippi for ten straight years and were a nationwide Top 20 KIA dealer between 2001 and 2003.” Their dominance in KIA sales paved the way for launching their Hyundai franchise, and they’re planning to open an Emerald Coast-based Jeep and truck accessories store in April.
The Wilsons acknowledge the use of cutting-edge technology to bolster their success. Doug states, “I had an automobile website in 1996 – two years before Google was even a company. The automotive industry is light-years ahead of everybody else in terms of digital marketing. It has to be.”
Always thirsting for adventure, Doug is a licensed pilot and flies his own Beechcraft 58 Baron. He enjoys digital marketing, a tool in which he is self-taught, and restoring late model Dodge vehicles. “I restored a 1969 Dodge Charger RT SE, which was Petty Blue with a white bumblebee stripe,” he says, “and a 1971 Dodge Challenger 383.” Doug is also an avid reader, citing works by Max Lucado and John Maxwell, among his favorites. He also enjoys reading The Bible, biblical commentaries, and leadership books.
Doug credits his strong faith for his overall success. “I memorized Deuteronomy 8, which states that it is God who gives the ability to create wealth and bring success. I really believe that. The Bible is the inspired word of God. I feel like my relationship with Jesus has blessed me.” He continues, “We’ve been in business for a long time, and now I’m trying to help other people live their dream. My general managers have equity in the company. While I take care of the business side, they do everything else – hire, train, handle service, and sales. I’ve had a wonderful life, and I want to give back.”