With the close of a full season of Rise and Drive Chicago, a thing occurred to me, this event is the Justin Timberlake of automotive events. You may have thought JT was just another pretty faced drone churned out by a highly manufactured and disposable boy band, but then he shocks everyone by striking out on a solo career. He proceeds to kick ass and take names on said solo career by writing, performing and producing extremely successful albums. This is much the way Rise and Drive takes you by surprise, as you may be expecting just another cars and coffee style event where you see some neat 911’s or a new Huracan or two, but arrive to be surprised by a barn find Mclaren roaring to life in front of a crowd.
One might have assumed the Prince of Pop would be content with a highly successful music career, singing and dancing his way to endless Grammy awards, but then he reveals more talent. With an impressive knack for comedy, he outshines the cast of SNL on their own turf, and breaks into acting landing several dramatic movie and TV roles. He hosts events, hosts award shows and starts his own production company, proving a wide range of talents and abilities beyond just music. Rise and Drive includes this kind of range as well, bringing cars from various countries of origin, from antique to modern, street cars, race cars, and even completely custom cars. Examples like the vintage Lamborghini Miura SV, smoldering with sexy, displayed inside the Collectors Car Garage surgically clean facility. The very first front wheel drive car produced by Ruxton, a true antique that gave a glimpse of “the future” at a time when cars still shared roads with horses and the automotive industry was just starting to blossom. A pair of gorgeous old Ferrari’s that marked the dawn of the exotic car, showed with the grace of a glamorous movie star, but still possess legitimate sports car capabilities. Think Helen Mirren in the movie Red. A 1 of 3 in existence Pontiac Bonneville convertible that looked like it rolled off the assembly line the day before, proving even a modest name plate can become something of great value. Even race cars show up like the aforementioned Mclaren M8A, or a Ferrari 575 in GT race trim, a Porsche 911 GT car, and even an E30 M3 with full Warsteiner livery. The “regular” cars in the lot are a fun bunch too; a Charger Hellcat, a V8 swapped MG, the typical gaggle of scrappy nip-at-your-heels Miata’s, a Maserati Ghibli from the late 60’s/early 70’s, the Dream Squads collection of high end toys with eye catching vinyl wraps, BMW Z3 clown shoe, the list goes on.
Then there is the likability of so called President of Pop, I mean even if you aren’t a fan of J Timb’s (did I just make that nickname up?), you probably don’t hate the guy right? That is something not to be underestimated; look at another pop star that shares Timberlake’s first name, there is lots of hatred there. J.T. comes off as an approachable, relate-able guy that you wouldn’t mind hanging with, even though he is multi talented and fabulously wealthy. This applies to Rise and Drive as well, it is an incredibly likable event. With a helpful and amicable bunch working the meet, the staff makes you feel welcome and secure. There are incredibly valuable cars on display, but some more accessible stuff as well, so it’s not intimidating. You are among a large group of true enthusiasts, like minded folks that love all manner of cars and may even strike up a good chat or two on the subject. There is always some hot Starbucks coffee ready for you when you arrive, and sometimes they’ll even feed you bagels, who doesn’t love that!?
It has been a great season of Rise and Drive, and as we reluctantly prepare for the winter months ahead, storing our precious cars from modest projects to priceless antiques, we look forward to the end of winter when we can do it all again. A big thanks to all the folks that support this event: Mancuso Motorsports, Chicago Vintage Motor Carriage, Team Stradale, Continental Autosports, and of course Collector’s Car Garage for hosting. Thanks for a great year Rise and Drive, here’s to 2017 and bringing sexy back!
-photos and writing: Robert Sixto