Opening day, finally
At 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, the faint sunshine just cresting over the apartment balcony gave a hope of warmth for the first time in what seemed like forever. For readers out there who are not meteorologists by trade, the past four Saturdays had been absolutely horrendous, weather-wise. This had been a problem for Exotics at RTC.
“Are you ready? Opening Day April 7th, Weather Permitting”. That was the Facebook post on March 24 calling all car fans to descend upon Redmond Town Center for the 10th year in a row to ogle at hundreds of, well, exotic automobiles. That automotive Gjallahorn had to be silenced, however, for four weekends in a row due to inclement weather, until April 5 that is.
Later that day
At 8 a.m., it was time. The car was parked in front of a large restaurant chain and what once was an Orange Julius, I stepped out of my car and started to look for exotics. Looking for exotics, it turned out, was less efficient than simply listening for them. I followed the roars of V8’s and the shrieks of V12’s around the corner until brightly colored carbon fiber panels came into view.
Getting your vehicle into the Exotics at RTC is a “million-dollar question” according to Tom Nault, Exotics Co-Founder. The show has high standards that has kept Seattle-area car perusers to the heart of Redmond for years.
The five weeks of wait did not disappoint. This scrappy group of car guys lured the area’s best looking and sounding cars and it could not have gotten off to a better start. As the cars were still being settled in their parking spots, Astons followed Skylines followed Deloreans down the main driveway. Even before the event had officially started, the setup had turned into a parade of some of the world’s most coveted and hardest to park cars.
“Every year, we have more cars opening day,” said Nault of the 550-car opening day. “We turned away about 50 cars just sitting. Who knows how many drove by and didn’t get in.”
Time for Center Stage
Very few showrooms in the country are capable of hosting several millions of dollars’ worth of cars in a 300 square foot space, let along by 9 a.m. Exotics at RTC managed to do just that in the middle gallery as they have done for a decade now. The arrangement of Ferraris, McLarens, Porsches, and Lamborghinis delighted, but the Crown Jewels of the show were not one, but two Lancia Deltas.
Or at least it would have been, if it wasn’t for the Dust Orange Saleen S7 which rolled in at 10 a.m. Like a long-forgotten outlaw swinging through the saloon doors, its V8 rumble and slung-open driver’s door turned an otherwise rambunctious crowd dead quiet. Only when its engine stopped did the S7 get consumed by amateur photographers and GoPro reps alike.
More below gallery.
“How do we one-up ourselves?” asked Nick Bergeron, a volunteer at Exotics. “Last year we were the first place in the U.S. with two LaFerraris … this year we had our first Saleen S7, after 10 years it showed up.”
The buzz around the Redmond Town Center was positively electric, even as fans disperse and cars peeled out of parking lots in the most legal way possible. With so many great cars to see in the weekends to come, it was easy to see why people were excited for its return.
The Exotics at RTC shows are held Saturday mornings throughout the summer, obviously weather permitting. You can find more information on https://www.exoticsat.com/.