Seattle Takes on the Weekend Car Meet & It Rivals So Cal’s
For the past eight years, every Saturday, weather permitting, a bunch of Seattle enthusiasts amass in what amounts to the largest weekend-morning car gathering north of Los Angeles. But this gathering has something that possibly no other similar event can boast: the greatest number of exotics. According to its promoters, the show draws, on average, more truly exceptional cars than the lamentably cancelled Cars and Coffee Irvine did. And it’s not like Seattleites to boast.
Exotics at Redmond Town Center exists largely as a means to coax some of the more noteworthy vehicles from the comfort of their climate-controlled garages. It began in 2008 when a few friends started an exotic gathering in Bellevue. Wouldn’t it be nice, they proposed, if they could talk their way into a more formal meeting point at an upscale mall a few blocks north?
The first gathering at the mall began in February 2009 with 30 cars. This year’s season-opening event drew 400.
As you can see, this isn’t your garden-variety coffee klatch. Some of the biggest corporate titans operate within a few-mile radius of the event: AT&T, Eddie Bauer, Expedia, Honeywell, Nintendo, T-Mobile, UPS, and, of course, Microsoft. Anyone who works for places like that can afford to live pretty much anywhere. The prospect of no commute means a bunch live in the area, making a morning expedition manageable. As it is, some of these cars aren’t exactly “low-drama,” so anything to make the trip easier improves the car count. So we really owe Redmond Town Center a debt of gratitude for letting a bunch of cars clutter the lanes and parking lots.
The event draws cars that most people will never see anywhere outside of magazines. At events past, an SSC Ultimate Aero—once the fastest production car in the world—showed up. Soon after came a Bugatti Veyron, the car that bumped the SSC from the top of that list. A modern Lamborghini doesn’t do much for me, but a few dozen in one spot certainly got my attention. And the Ferraris. Oh the Ferraris. Yeah, a LaFerrari showed up (shrug). That’s the kind of jaded indifference one gets after seeing the Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder slumming it in a satellite lot. Bear in mind this is a lot populated with cars like a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG and the Pantera that once belonged to Tom Tjaarda, the guy who designed the car’s iconic body. Take that to mean there’s not a bad seat in the house. Also take it to mean that the least assuming cars are often the biggest deal at the show.
By sheer numbers Southern California may have more exotics than Seattle has, but they’re spread far and wide among a population and space far greater than Seattle. And Seattleites are just fine with letting California have the quantity; by in large, they’d much rather have the quality instead.