The Exotics at Redmond Town Center’s (Exotics@RTC) opening weekend, held April 29, lured thousands of people to view the wide variety of vehicles from across the eras.
“We couldn’t have picked a better day,” said Dan Putnam, an Exotics@RTC organizer. “At last count, we had 470 cars today but we think we have a little more than 500 because Redmond PD opened up an extra street for us.”
In its ninth year of summer car shows, the Exotics@RTC is a themed series that happens as many Saturdays as possible, depending on weather. On opening day, Chevrolet hot rods stared down Ford GTs, Porsche’s lined up as though on parade, late 50s Triumph TR3s peaked out from a corner and two legendary Ferrari LaFerrari met in the center of the square. (Video courtesy of Tim Creason at Poisoned Studios.)
“The cars have become more of a bonus to the people,” Putnam said. “The people are the best part of the show. Everyone is talking to everyone.”
People like Stan Pauley, of Woodinville, who was handing out cookies by his 1955 Chevrolet Belair 2-door hard top sport coupe. His Belair has been built to reflect the car he drove in high school, complete with 8-track tape deck and its own drive-up (fake) food resting on the door.
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“Finally [opening day]!” said Pauley. “We enjoy being among all these exotics, there’s some really nice cars, but also enjoy bringing some old iron into it, too.”
Exotics@RTC is hosted at the Redmond Town Center from around April or May to November or October, when the good weather for the year is done.
“We kind of laugh at the delays. We always hope for April, we never expect it for April,” Putnam said. “It’s not uncommon to be delayed this many times, but it just builds to the hype.”
Those who came to the show, though, didn’t mind waiting for good weather.
“It’s amazing, it’s the first time we’ve come here and we’re enjoying the variety of vehicles here,” said Gabriel Garciano. He brought his sons Jeremiah (15) and Javier (12). “This is enjoyable, nice family time with the kids.”
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Kids that were exploring a King County volunteer Search and Rescue 1972 Pinzgauer 710M owned by local Redmond resident Branden Powell. This mighty vehicle has been upgraded with modern brakes and fuel injectors, updated electrical for reliability and the outfitted subsystems, and more.
“I had a 2007 Jeep 4-door Wrangler that I used for years for search and rescue, but I was looking for something more unique and that had greater capacity,” Powell said. “More unique so that when I come to shows, it allows me to attract people [and] talk to them about back country safety, the 10-essentials and how to be safe in the outdoors.”
Capacity for the Pinzgauer is 10 (9 passengers, plus the driver), it has a bank of lights to illuminate surrounding wilderness, and has a slew of first aid items hanging around the rig. While on its initial test run, Powell successfully rescue of an injured hiker.
“I had just got it back on the road and was testing the systems. While I was passing Franklin Falls, a hiker saw the Swiss Army sign on the front, assumed I was an aide vehicle and flagged us down,” Powell said. “And, right at Franklin Falls, we collected an ice climber that had been hit by falling ice. Not that we intended to be there for it, but it was a really good test.”
He stabilized the climber and hauled him out the two miles to the aide car waiting at the bottom of Franklin Falls.
Stories like this abound at the Exotics@RTC show. And, if one slows down to enjoy the view, they’ll get an earful of good stories and an eyeful of good cars.
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With the vast numbers of people and the huge horsepower numbers, one might think that there would be safety problems such as those that plague other Cars and Coffee events around the nation. However, the Exotics@RTC doesn’t see much of that.
“We have a lot at Redmond Town Center to thank for that and a lot of Redmond PD to thank for that, too.” Putnam said. “We try to keep our relations with them as good as possible, they know how strict we are on people. There’s a few bad eggs in the group, but most of the time people here are just awesome.”