“Exotics on Broadway” is a mishmash of modded metal and exuberant enthusiasts
Sharp revving pops a staccato in 4/4 time, marking off the seconds of California’s mild evening. Dense crowds and double-parked cars force our Lyft driver to drop us off city blocks short of the epicenter of Exotics on Broadway.
We (two Hagerty associate editors) briskly walk down the side streets of Seaside, California, looking for signs that we’re closing on the car show we set out to find. Buildings and houses obscure our view, but the loud exhaust of nearby cars lets us know we’re close. Faint trails of hip-hop music and cheering drift in and out of earshot. We follow these sounds.
We don’t know what to expect. This year’s celebration, formerly known as “Exotics on Cannery Row,” has a new home in Seaside, a small town two miles northeast of Monterey. The event was retitled “Exotics on Broadway”—or “EOB,” if you’re hip. Monterey’s tourism website advertised the free car show as an “ideal venue for companies to showcase their products and services to a demographic passionate about high-end modifications.”
A different exhaust tone replaces the first, but it has the same sharp revving—as if someone was river dancing on the unseen car’s accelerator. Turning the corner around a drug store and onto Broadway, we’re met by a neon mishmash of modded metal. Supercars, hypercars, tuners, and SUVs of every ilk line the four-lane road. Ferraris, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Bentleys with expensive rims cram dangerously close to the cragged curbing. The 2020 DeTomaso P72 rolls past, likely right from the Concours greens across town. I chase down the supercar unicorn for photographs, following in the aisle it briefly creates.
Cars are directed into place by high-school-age volunteers, who are likely thrilled to be two feet from cars they’ve only ever seen on Instagram. The now-congealed crowd of 30,000 on Broadway parts only to let the newest arriving supercar into the fray.
The crowd of show-ers and show-goers is disparate. There are tons of teens and early adults. Despite the loud music and raucous revving, whole families are out too, spending their Saturday evening soaking in the sights and sounds of a car show alongside countless other tribes across the globe. There’s also a smattering of buttoned-up country clubbers. They’ve likely wandered over from an adjacent auction in Monterey, or simply share a common obsession with high-dollar exotics like Paganis or Koenigseggs.
Everyone is dressed to the nines with nary a lock out of place, sporting crisp lines, tight weaves, and clean fades. Sneakerheads have their latest kicks shined up. Phones are out. Everyone is streaming, snapchatting, and ’gramming. Live music replaces the deejayed hip-hop of a few minutes ago. Barbeque, marijuana, and Armani cologne hangs thick in the air.
Distant Huayras and Aventadors are still revving. An attendee remarks, “Such expensive cars, with such stupid owners.”
Stupidity is in the eye of the beholder. These rev-happy exotic owners, many just old enough to vote, might be onto something. Contrary to every other show on California’s central coast during Monterey Car Week, there are no awards; subsequently, the atmosphere of unabashed excess is devoid of pressure and judgement. Everyone is there to show or see cars. Let your V-12 freak flag fly.
Booths hawking aftermarket wheels, detailing products, or luxury sweepstakes punctuate the seemingly-endless stream of exotic metal. West Coast Customs of Pimp My Ride lore set up a display near the center of the show. Dennis Rodman is in one of the booths. The crowd doesn’t seem to notice. Maybe it’s the all the noise and brightly wrapped million-dollar rides, or the fact we’re in California and a celebrity sighting is routine.
We stop at the Hennessey Performance display. Coleman Kilpatrick is the company’s point-man tonight, manning the booth and providing detailed debriefings about the roided-out Lotus Exige and its twin-turbo, 1244-hp V-8. In addition to working full time for Hennessey, the clean-cut youngster wrenches on his own vintage BMWs. He rolls his eyes at the incessant revving. Kilpatrick understands the potential damage done to redlining dual-valve aluminum engines. This is a reminder that all this flag-flying comes at a cost.
To the Exotic owners on Broadway, they don’t care. They’re there to put on a show.