In terms of exotic car visibility, Northern Virginia is in no way comparable to Hollywood. I've never been to LA, or Hollywood, or anywhere in California south of San Jose but I'm still sure of this. That said, northern Virginia has it's share of wealthy upper class. We have Ferrari of Washington – a dealership with all glass walls showcasing Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati models of all years. It's located ten feet from CARMAX and without a doubt attracts more tourists than potential buyers.
Northern Virginia has several major highways and ass loads of traffic. I saw half a dozen exotic cars just this morning. I sat behind a silver Aston Martin Vantage, and passed two Corvette Stingrays and a blue R34 Skyline GT-R on Route 28 alone. While on Interstate 66 a black Diablo zoomed by in the HOV lane, an orange Lamborghini Aventador passed the other direction, and shortly after, a yellow Ferrari 458. I didn't oogle once. The Aston Martin's V8 did sound damn good, though.
There is no shortage of weekly meets (Burger King Manassas, Cars&Coffee Fairlakes, Cars&Coffee Great Falls, ChicFilA Sterling) where exotic cars can be seen and enthusiasts corral to shoot the shit and sip their favorite brew. These meets have a lot of the same exotic cars and same faces, if I'm honest. I didn't even get to mention the smaller niches that gather on the weekday evenings across various shopping center and commuter parking lots.
Photo by Nigel Harniman
The very term 'exotic car' is relative based on your location. To me, the prancing horse and raging bull barely qualify as exotic cars since they seem to be everywhere in this area. The density of Ferrari's and Lamborghini's in northern Virginia should be enough to get any car enthusiast excited. Sadly, short of a Pagani Zonda, there isn't much that gets me revved up.
Built. Not Bought.
Yeah, I had a Lamborghini Countach poster on my bedroom wall. The first time I saw a real one I nearly pissed my pants. It was that awesome. In those days, you were about as likely to see a Lamborghini or Ferrari was you were to get hit by space debris. Ah, the 90′s.
I think I know why supercars do nothing for me these days and it's not because I see them often. It's because as long as I could remember I've always been tinkering, taking apart and rebuilding anything I could get my hands on. It started with Legos then moved on to K'NEX, model cars and building custom BMX bicycles. I studied art for years through grade school and discovered my higher appreciation for craftsmanship and personalization than something produced for the masses.
My dad had a 69 Chevelle through a good portion of the 80′s and still has a 65 Impalahanded down by his father. My dad spent a lot of time in the garage tweaking and restoring those cars. When his brothers or friends came by they could always be found in the garage or driveway. That must have rubbed off on me. All of my cars have been modified in some way that makes them personal. I think the selection of parts I chose carried a certain flavor and while each car was different I think my personal taste showed through on each model I owned. Even after deciding I didn't like the car any longer (read:had become bored with it), I would find myself gazing upon it from all angles admiring the body lines, the stance. I was searching for beauty I hadn't previously found.
Aren't Italian cars all about craftsmanship and exclusivity? Sure. And repair shops but I digress. There is nothing personal about a Ferrari. I guess you could order one with unique colored exterior paint and interior materials. If that qualifies as personal to you, then sure. BMW Individual, anyone?
Now, a Ferrari with truly individual touches? That's something I can dig. The choice of aftermarket wheels, exhaust and other components tell a story. The Ferrari now becomes a unique piece of art and the Ferrari is simply the canvas. The Liberty Walk Ferrari 458 qualifies. Granted, I'm not a huge fan of the Liberty Walk Ferrari 458, but it does tickle me in ways a showroom Ferrari 458 simply can not.