You never know what to expect when you go to a car meet, especially when you’re a small town South Carolinian on your third metro line transfer to Bethesda. The event was a benefit for WOWW, a volunteer relief organization founded by the late Paul Walker of the Fast & Furious series. As a bonus it was a great excuse for a gathering of beautiful cars, their even more interesting owners, and an exclusive premier of Furious 7. I arrived and immediately went to work directing cars for Chase Donnelly and the rest of the Timeless crew (you might recollect a tall, suited guy with a yellow notepad…tis I).
At first things were slow, obviously not the Aston Martin whose signature drone cannot be mistaken in a four story parking garage, but this was short lived. The Germans appeared. As a BMW guy myself, I was happy to see so many (and I mean many) BMWs represented: e30 m3’s, the usual suspects in the 3 and 5 series, a beautiful sharknose M6, an Austin Yellow M4, and the outrageous I8. There were so many BMW’s 3rd level was worth the walk through. Porsches, one owner asking me where to park while on conference call (dedication and priorities), Nissan GTRs including a LibertyWalk which sounded incredible, A Dodge Viper, cammed out Corvettes, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lotus’ and classics including a Charger also sang the songs of their people with their distinctive lopes, moans, and roars. Racecars and modified, imports and domestics made up the swath of vehicles in attendance. Parking cars may not be the most glamorous job, but it is certainly the best sounding. With the last cars parked, the lost soccer mom carefully turned around, cones and security in place it was time to move the party inside.
The premier was packed. We would later learn we packed two theaters and had roughly 600 out of nearly 2000 remain. My first task was to hydrate the ticket guy, so it was off to the (open) bar for a vodkacran (considered girly by one well heeled enthusiast). Honestly, I cannot give the bartender at enough credit for hadling the chaos of an open bar with thirsty patrons bombarding him with orders. Chase on the other hand had plenty of credit, thus the open bar.
It was very emotional watching Paul Walker in his last movie role. There was an electric feeling you couldn’t explain. In one scene, there is a brief, obscure, three quarter view of a Porsche 550, the same car made famous by the death of James Dean. Ironically, Paul Walker would also perish in a Porsche leaving a generation of fans and cast members in mourning. Some of us were obsessed with cars before the Fast & Furious, but afterwards we could quote it verbatum. It would become the foundation for a generation of enthusiasts that would drive many of us to go broke on paint, turbos, lighting, and some ridiculous meme worthy wings and aero kits in the billion dollar aftermarket we see today. Regardless of our political opinions, gender, religion or any of the media pushed issues that divide us, our love of cars, whether Alpine white or Marlboro red, NA or FD, sleepers, mods, stock, or custom our love of cars brings the family together.