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Ride of the Week: Benton values style, design

Pictured is Charles Benton with his 2012 Range Rover HSE. Photo by Fireball Tim Lawrence/22nd Century Media
Fireball Tim Lawrence
6:32 pm PDT May 9, 2014

At first glance, you may be asking yourself, “Why would Fireball do a Range Rover when there’s tons in Malibu already?” Well, that’s a valid question for sure, but let’s do what Malibuites do and look at things in a better way. 

Charles Benton is the chief designer for bebe in Beverly Hills and deals with design trends all day. And he’s good. But as a hardcore Malibuite, he looks forward to driving home and staying there, away from the hustle of the city. Doing a drive like that every day can be totally monotonous unless it’s a comfortable car. A unique car. Charlie’s car.

Range Rovers have been synonymous with comfort since the beginning. This car is about luxury, peace and quiet and high ride height, all of which amount to a relaxed drive. And Charlie’s 2012 HSE is a perfect example of that. 

It’s got a 375-horsepower 5L V8 with direct injection and full-time 4-wheel drive with the standard terrain response system. I guess that means if the oceans become highways, this is the car for you. Plus it’s got all the whoop-dee-doos you can handle, with power everything and the awesome Bi-Xenon Headlights. Primarily for spotting coyotes, I think.

Charlie bought this beast, after trading in a Mercedes G-Wagon up in Marin County while on a road trip. Yes, more comfort was needed, so it was time for a quick swap. Up in a Mercedes, down in a Rover. Ah, the Malibu life. 

“The Range Rover reminds me of growing up in England,” Charlie said. “I love British design! This is a great sport utility vehicle with a long history of quality craftsmanship and legendary ‘go anywhere’ off-road prowess.” 

See, there’s that ocean thing again. 

Used specifically for work drives and road trips up and down the beautiful coast, his love for this car runs deep. But Charlie’s real love is Malibu.

“It’s amazing energy here. The breathtaking ocean and gorgeous nature, the laid back and generous people living here. The overall magical vibe that so special to this place.”

Since I’ve gotten to know Charles, I can say that he epitomizes Malibu’s nature. A very humble, loving and kind outlook on life and the people here. We are all faced with challenges as Malibuites and do our best every day to be our best. Being reminded of what we love and the gratitude that comes with living here is the perfect recipe for this life of magic. Charlie has got his peace going on. 

And his favorite car movie? “Thelma and Louise.” A jump anyone could do, but only once.

I do these Rides of the Week to celebrate those that give love and who know that what they give will always come back to them. And that’s the “secret” of Malibu, isn’t it. 

So congratulations, Charles! You’re this week’s Ride of the Wek!

Visit Fireball on May 17 at The Big Photo Show at the LA Convention Center. Want to be featured as his Ride of the Week? Let him know what you’ve got and he may even bring you chocolate! Don’t forget to watch his TV show “5MINUTE DRIVE” on Youtube. askfireball@fireballtim.com.