It all started on November 30th, 2013, a fallen icon to millions around the world was taken in a sudden automotive accident. Sure, it was covered in the news like many celebrities before, but this time it was different. Within a week there were hundreds of events around the world honoring the late Paul Walker and his charity Reach Out World Wide.
A local group in MN, InCarNation, which would eventually become MNCEC, held the first ever Paul Walker Memorial Cruise in probably the worst weather of any cruise ever. An early Sunday morning saw a few inches of snow and subzero temps when factoring in windchill. Nonetheless the community rallied and saw 207 cars cruise from the Automotorplex in Chanhassen, MN to the Mall of America for a viewing of The Fast and The Furious. Since then the event was moved earlier in the year in hopes of providing better weather for cruising.
Keyword "hope" however, it appears that its impossible to avoid such weather as every year since the start there has been a decent amount of precipitation during the event. It's like Mother Nature herself chooses to remember Paul Walker with us. This year was the 5th iteration of one of the most prominent events in the Minnesota car community, and we decided to return to where it all began, The Automotorplex. The owners had us back to host one of the best yet, except this time they opened their garages to us and even came along for the cruise. With 613 vehicles in the cruise and many more filling the spectator lots, it was a great day to cruise and an even better day to get some dope photos.
Out of all the cars that showed up, all eyes were on two of the most unique cars to ever grace us with their presence: a 1971 Nissan Skyline GT-R or better known as Hakosuka (as seen in 2011's Fast Five) and a 1999 Nissan Skyline R34 (a movie extra from 2009's Fast & Furious). Every year we have showcased Fast and Furious inspired cars, previously being a white Toyota Supra, a green Mitsubishi Eclipse, and, in 2016, a Veilside RX7. Its absolutely stunning to have these cars here in Minnesota and couldn't be a better way to end the 2017 car season in Minnesota.
The cruise route used the Automotorplex for a start and finish and attempted to keep the lights and left turns to a minimum. Naturally, the key was to maximize the photogenic spots over the 50 mile journey. Unfortunately due to the weather, most of the drone shots were unobtainable and some of the photography checkpoints went without a person to capture the shots.
With rain however, comes those epic photos of cars with water beading off them or mist creating a mini cloud behind them as they drive along. So without further delay, here are some photos from the cruise compliments of our various photographers.
CHECKPOINT 1 - Photographer: Nathan Morrison
With the route this year being centered largely in Chanhassen, so it wasn't hard to get out to some country roads quickly. The first checkpoint was just outside Flying Cloud Airport in Eden Prairie as the road drops along the banks of the Minnesota River.
CHECKPOINT 2 - Photographer: Ronald Rin
The next checkpoint was a nice large roundabout that turns the cruise south towards Shakopee and into the next leg of the journey. This was a great vantage point to catch a few cars mid turn and you can really see how wet it was for the cruise.
CHECKPOINT 3 - Photographer: Cote Wallskog
Our last manned checkpoint was crossing a bridge going across the Minnesota River. This was on our way back to Chanhassen from Jordan.
This was the second largest car show of the year for MNCEC. It actually had about half the attendance of the Ignition show from back in May. The difference was that there were no fair-weather fans here. All of these enthusiasts were willing to brave the rain for the cruise and show. Honestly, the venue couldn't have been better and the rain stopped right after the cruise, go figure. There was something for everyone with cars and trucks across the automotive spectrum.
The garages held flawless collector cars, hidden from the rain, while the more modern cars from the cruise filled the isles. Right out in front of the clubhouse was a 1997 Acura NSX and 2017 Honda Civic Type R. Both of these cars represented the peak of the Honda brand but with a 20 year difference. A proper collector car, and a future collector.
Joe DeLeon's extremely well done 350Z is always a welcomed sight at our car shows, he continues to dominate car shows and track days alike. While the club he claims allegience to, MNNI, is mostly known for their Infiniti G-series coupes and sedans, a number of Fairlady Zs and Skylines rounded out their section. This club has one of the most diverse numbers builds of any single crew in Minnesota.
In addition to the 1971 and 1999 Skylines, the Christmas family also brought down one of their 2 fully built, sub 10 second 1/4 mile GTRs. This car might just be the full package, putting down well over 1000HP, while also competing heavily in the visuals department. One of the most unique wraps ever seen created by Auto Trimmers with a great theme inside and outside. At night you might catch this car with under glow and LEDs spread throughout.
A car that basically needs no introduction because of how well the owner/vehicle is known in the Minnesota car community. This Honda S2000, owned by Adam Cha, has gone through many engine and aesthetic changes, becoming an even better vehicle as time goes on. It has taken many awards at car shows and is perhaps one of the best show Hondas in the state. Take a look at it sometime and talk to the owner if you don't already know them, you will learn a lot.
This Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution is the perfect example of the mentality people brought to the show on October 1st, they came prepared. For some that was driving a bit more gingerly than normal on the cruise, for others it was making sure your car was clean after the rain stopped, or in this Evo owner's example, covering your hood dump with a towel to keep the rain from entering. This event always seems to be about the willingness to come out on rainy day to make the most of a great event and remember our roots regarding a person that has inspired a generation of car enthusiasts worldwide. Look forward to our 6th Annual event in 2018 when we go for bigger and better than years past.