Shortly before the shelter in place restrictions came into effect, we took a stroll along Lake Washington Boulevard in Seattle. It is a popular place for people to walk but also for people out on their bikes and also to drive along. As we wander up the shore, a couple of Minis came the other way. These aren’t modern Minis as built by BMW. These were the originals like the one I learned to drive in. One was a regular mini and the other was configured with a flatbed. I only got a quick shot as they went by. I loved driving the Mini when I was young. It was such a fun car. Of course, if anything went badly wrong, you weren’t exactly well protected so I’m not sure I would be so keen now I am an old git!
There have been plenty of posts about sports cars from our time in California and Washington. However, when we lived in Chicago, there were always a ton of exotic cars around the city. These would be in regular use rather than part of organized gatherings. However, one weekend, there was a gathering of Ferraris on North State Street. I had completely forgotten about this until recently working through some old shots.
There was a combination of new cars with some older but no less exotics examples. An F40 was there along with Testarossas. Having this on a busy street in the center of the city seems pretty odd now but it was definitely cool at the time. Here are some of the nice motors that were on show that day.
The cable cars are a staple of the San Francisco tourist scene. I still grab the occasional shot of them, even having seen them more times than I can recall. As we were walking back one evening after a fun night out with friends, we crossed the street at Union Square as one was heading up Powell. I figured an evening shot was worth the effort.
If you want to get from street level to the Salesforce Park, there is a more unusual method. A gondola runs from the ground up to the park level. We first came across it as we walked through the park and passed the top station. For some reason they only want you to use it in one direction so we watched the car come up and then moved on.
After we had come back downstairs, we checked out the base station. It was not a busy day so there wasn’t any form of line but there were customers taking the ride to the top. It was a simple device and slightly odd. The car was a box with no effort made to style it in an interesting way. However, it did provide a point of interest.
The movement of cars around the world requires a specialist type of ship and, while they may be functionally effective, they are not good looking ships. They have the appearance of a box on the water. The large rear loading ramp allows the cars to be loaded and then they get driven around the multitude of decks for storage. This example was coming up the Solent and heading in to Southampton. A similar example had a shift of load in this area and was put aground on the Brambles Bank to avoid sinking. No issues in this case, of course.
During the Italian car day at Exotics@RTC, all of the focus was on the selection of cars inside the mall area. I did take some time to wander out in to the parking lot to see what other cars had shown up that day and hadn’t been “worthy” of a spot inside. As I was strolling around, something unusual showed up. I had no idea what it was but it was clearly pretty old. As it pulled to a halt, we got a chance to take a look around.
It was an Alfa Romeo C6. I asked the guy driving it why he was outside when this would clearly have been something that would have got a prime spot. He wasn’t bothered about all of that sort of thing and was happy to roll up when he wanted and to have those outside check the car out. The restoration had been undertaken in the UK and I imagine it hadn’t been cheap judging by the condition of the vehicle. It had that swoops look that cars of its era sometimes had and was a fantastic looking machine. If I had gone out earlier in my visit, I would have missed it completely!
The Exotics@RTC team have a number of special days throughout the season and I figured the Italian Car Special was probably one worth taking a look at. I wasn’t mistaken. Unlike the normal meets that take place out in the parking lot, this one was centered in the shopping mall itself. The atrium was filled with Italian cars of many marques. This even included Lamborghini tractors!
It will come as little surprise to know that the prancing horse was on display in large numbers. The centerpiece of the display was a a pair of La Ferraris – one with a roof and one open topped – with an Enzo and an F40. This was quite a valuable selection to have in the middle and it seemed rather funny how so many expensive cars were barely getting any attention as a result of the focus on this foursome. Alfas were also on show and there were some older Fiats that were clearly trimmed for rally activities.
As a young kid growing up in the 70s watching Bond movies, the Lotus Esprit that became a SAM launching submarine made a big impact on me. The next movie also had an Esprit, this time in turbo form, but it got blown up very quickly and a 2CV was the “star” of that movie which did not please me at all. My love for the Esprit was born and it continued through the Turbo SE and to the V8. It had another movie appearance in Pretty Woman although I suspect only a few of us watching were impressed.
A V8 example showed up at Redmond. I got chatting to the owner, a Brit as it turned out. He had owned a Turbo in the UK and then bought the V8 after he moved to the US. Apparently, only about 70 were sold in the US and maybe half of them are still in use. I loved checking it out and talking with him about the car. It also reminded me of one that used to live in South Kensington when I lived there so I dug out the old negative scan and that one is included here too. What a great looking car. A shame the gearbox was never able to accommodate the power the engine had potentially on offer.
Exotics@RTC brings plenty of jazzy cars including lots of McLarens as I posted here. The one car I was hoping to see at some point was a Senna. I figured with all of the IT cash floating around the area, one was bound to appear at some point. I rode my bike down to Redmond to have a look one Saturday. My jersey only had small pockets so I left all cameras behind except my phone. Guess what car showed up as soon as I had no proper camera?
I didn’t see it initially. All I saw was a large crowd of people around one car. This is always a sign of something special and there, within the crowds, was a black car with a huge rear wing. The Senna had arrived. Getting clean shots of it was almost impossible given the number of people milling around but the wide angle lens on the phone was a benefit for once as it meant you could get closer and grab some shots. Quite a mean looking machine and one I might have to save up a bit in order to buy.