Having attended every Rise and Drive Chicago event last year, it is probably no surprise that it was already a favorite of mine. It is with that past experience, that I can say without any doubt that this season opener was the largest turn out for Rise and Drive ever. When I say largest turn out, it was not by a small margin. The normally ample lot outside of Collectors’ Car Garage was nearly filled to capacity at one point, and fairly sizable crowds had gathered around the food truck, perusing the various cars outside, and shuffling in and out of the Collectors’ Car Garage building. Speaking of inside the building, there were some changes to that portion of the venue, as photography was not allowed inside for cars that were not on display. A shame, but understandable, as these are clients of CCG who entrust these wheeled treasures to their care. You certainly wouldn’t want a bunch of strangers poking around and photographing your personal garage at home would you? That said, there were a ton of actual customer cars inside and the typical display area has shrunk considerably, but you can still go in and see for yourself all the automotive wonders under the CCG roof. I do mean wonders too, there are some amazing cars in there!
The lot outside genuinely became the main event this past Sunday. It served as a good reminder that ultimately, this is what Rise and Drive was really about; car people coming together to look at and talk about cool cars! In that regard it did not disappoint, the diversity of cars on hand is always impressive for Rise and Drive with a surprise or two for each event. As I strolled about, enjoying the morning sun and more pleasant weather than we’ve had in some time, I snapped a few of the things that caught my eye.
This BMW 2002tii below was eye catching indeed, and not just for that brilliant pumpkin orange blazing in the morning sun. Such an immaculate example of an iconic classic is not something you see on the street often.
The new Acura NSX was another stand out, being relatively new to the scene, but they are starting to pop up much more frequently. I find the design of this NSX tends to grow on you. First impression can be a bit underwhelming, like you’ve seen it before, but as you take it in, the details impress more and more. The color seems to really change the presence of this car dramatically; here in 130R White it is the picture of grace and elegance. When draped in Valencia Red Pearl however, it shouts with passion and oozes with sex appeal. Hard to think of another car that seems to transform so dramatically with a simple change of paint.
Then we have the Rezvani Beast, which drew many “oohs” and “ahhs” along with some onlookers clearly puzzled by what exactly it was. The Beast, is a model built by boutique car company Rezvani, using the underpinnings of the Ariel Atom and powered by a supercharged Honda in the rear. Before you scoff at anything called Beast being powered by a mere four cylinder, understand that it weighs just over 1600lbs. and that Honda engine is now cranking out 500 horsepower! Rezvani assures us it is enough to propel you from 0-60mph in less than three seconds, Beast material indeed.
I can not recall another time when the “25 year rule” had such an immediate and obvious impact on the automotive enthusiast world, as it has with the advent of the R32 Skyline/GT-R. For those unfamiliar, the 25 year rule allows for any vehicle that was not originally sold in the U.S. to be imported, registered, and driven legally in the U.S. When the R32 Skyline and GT-R turned 25 years old (first produced in 1989), they seemed to pour onto our shores. They arrive in varying condition, as one would expect from any 25 year old car, and frankly they aren’t always in the best shape. The one at Rise and Drive this past Sunday however, was in good shape…very good shape indeed. I have always had a soft spot for the R32 GT-R, but felt a bit let down by the ones I had seen in person. Especially since they are not particularly inexpensive to acquire for such an old car, I had all but moved on from any desire to have one. Seeing this one though, re-kindled that love again, maybe one day…
Any vintage Ferrari is worth a look, and this series II 330GT was one I had not seen before. The gorgeous example here, in Blue Chiaro, sat patiently in the morning sun. The owner eventually returning to start it up, the V12 roaring to life before settling into a cranky burble as it brought it’s fluids up to temperature. What a great sound, and what a great Grand Tourer, you could really understand eating up thousands of miles behind the wheel of this big beautiful coupe.
I really do love these meets, I seem to find something new each time, and the sheer variety opens you up to learn about certain makes/models you may have previously had no knowledge or interest in. It is a good crowd of people as well, friendly and welcoming easily sparking random conversation with strangers. Even with as huge a turn out as this opener had, that friendliness remained and there was zero bad behavior to be found (no foolish burnouts or revving of engines). If you have not made it to Rise and Drive yet, please do yourself a favor and go, just once. You won’t be disappointed. Keep scrolling for some more of my favorite snaps of the morning, and thanks for reading!
-photos and writing: Robert Sixto