Gold Rush Rally: GRX 2018 in Scottsdale

Pagani Huayra at the Gold Rush Rally in Scottsdale

The origins of the automotive rally date back more than 100 years to 1895 in France, when early motorsports enthusiasts came up with a point-to-point race using public roads, as there were very few race tracks at the time. Today, the tradition of a city to city road rally is as popular as ever.

One of the most elite in the United States is the Gold Rush Rally, now in its 10th year. For 2018 the route covers ten cities in ten days, stretching more than 3,500 miles from Boston to Las Vegas.

The event is open to those who can afford the steep price tag of $22,000 for the full route, or $11,000 for half of the journey. The cost includes VIP parties, lodging in first-class accommodations, and the experience of being part of a rolling party of automotive mayhem. As you might imagine, the entry fee attracts a certain type of individual with a preference for exotic, high-end supercars and luxury cars. These cars are often modified with body kits, aftermarket wheels, and exotic wraps. Think of it like your local car meet, only far more expensive.

Over 20 teams registered for the 2018 event, which has also attracted a number of high-level corporate sponsors including Barrett-Jackson, Michelin Tires, Lexus, and Vorsteiner just to name a few. The rally features support vehicles, police escorts, and private track experiences along the way.

While I am not part of the Gold Rush Rally nor am I a sponsor or a vendor, I do have an appreciation for exotic cars and for the lifestyle, so I decided to head out to Scottsdale to check out the cars and the teams on Day 9 of the ten-day event.

Vorsteiner Ferrari

Sunday, June 1, 2018
The cars rolled into the parking lot at Luxury Auto Collection after spending the night at the 5-star Fairmont Princess Resort. LAC was the host of this event, with breakfast for the teams and a chance to see the GRR teams for the public. I arrived half an hour early and was greeted by a crowd of 30-40 car spotters already in place, lined up along both sides of the road. Telephoto lenses, stabilizers, and DSLR cameras were the order of the day.

Although it was barely 8:00am, the temperature was already close to 90 degrees F and would later reach 103F (39C). I was able to catch some of the cars arriving from the hotel before venturing over to the showroom to view the starting grid.

The cars were parked in the loading dock area between two large commercial warehouse buildings. The place was swarming with people, camera phones, and of course a drone buzzing noisily overhead. I wanted around snapping pictures and then headed inside to the showroom area.

It was a welcome respite from the sun and a chance to get some pictures from inside as well. The harsh daylight made it hard to get good photos of the cars.

At about 9:45am, the cars began lining up to leave as they headed for the next stop in Las Vegas. Each of them left the parking lot in a spirited manner, and it didn’t take long for the whole convoy to clear out. I spent about two hours there on a Sunday morning, and it was well worth it. Here are some of the pictures from the gathering:

“Mobile Banking Unit” G-Wagon by Team Loan Sharks

$1 million cash strapped to the roof of the G-Wagon

#DrivenHearts Ford GT

Alex Choi’s “Unicorn 2.0” Huracan

Gold Rush participants lined up outside of Luxury Auto Collection

A Lamborghini wrapped to look like a Ferrari

Luxury Auto Collection’s Rolls Royce is ready for anything

Green Lamborghini Aventador roadster

Speed Society Nissan GT-R

Team Cantone Capital in a Lamborghini Huracan

Lexus LC500 with a blue and yellow wrap

ZADART wrapped Aventador

The “HellCab” wrapped to look like a NYC taxicab

Monopoly-themed Nissan GT-R

McLaren 675LT in the Luxury Auto Collection showroom

A huge inventory of exotic cars for sale